Branden Grace declared Player of the Month on European Tour
European Tour has announced the winner of the Player of the Month (POM) accolade in a ceremony held a few hours ago on February 8. South African Branden Grace has been declared POM on the European Tour for his back-to-back victories on his native turf in South Africa.
Grace broke headlines across the world for his stellar victory at the season-opener Joburg Open, landing his maiden European Tour title and his second professional victory of his career.
Overwhelmed with the newly gained confidence, Grace went over to land another title on the European Tour, The Volvo Golf Champions, an event only offered to strictly selected players on the tour.
Grace has made it into the 36-member field, owing to his victory the previous week.
Played over The Links in Fancourt, a course few miles from his home, Grace new the layout like the back of his hand, taking down the grizzled veterans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in the final round.
His consecutive victories took him from a low of 258th on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) to a high of 93rd and also saw him summit the Race to Dubai points table for the new season.
The 23-year-old was, however, not without a contender for the coveted POM title.
Englishman Robert Rock, winner of the star-studded Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship was one of the strong contenders who took over the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods to win the title.
The judge’s panel comprised of Peter Dixon, Golf Correspondent of Times, who shared his views about the decision and said,
“It was a fantastic start to The European Tour season, and a very close run contest for the first Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month for 2012. Robert Rock’s performance in holding off Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will live long in the memory. It was a truly marvellous performance".
He continued, "But Branden Grace’s back-to-back victories were very impressive, particularly considering he had come through the Qualifying School only a few weeks earlier".
Grace turned professional in the year 2007 and has played mostly on the indigenous Sunshine Tour in his home country and won his first professional title in 2010, the Coca-Cola Charity Championship.
He also appeared in 2009 Open Championship, finishing for a joint 43rd.