Emotional Branden Grace Closes Eagle-Birdie to Win Puerto Rico Open

Branden Grace Wins Puerto Rico Open
Branden Grace celebrates his birdie on the 18th green to win during the final round of the Puerto Rico Open at the Grand Reserve Country Club on February 28, 2021 in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

On Sunday at the Grand Reserve Golf Club, Branden Grace closed eagle-birdie to post 6-under 66 and claim an emotional one-shot victory at the Puerto Rico Open.

The South African, who recently lost his father to Covid, was two shots back of clubhouse leader Jhonattan Vegas when he teed off on the 17th hole. But Grace erased that deficit with one swing when he holed out for eagle from the bunker. The 32-year old then sealed his second career PGA Tour victory with a birdie on the picturesque final hole at the oceanside course.

Grace, who had fallen to No. 147 in the world rankings, finished his final round in Puerto Rico with 13 pars, four birdies and one eagle to reach 19 under.

Afterwards, Grace credited his wife’s pep talk and late father’s guidance for inspiring him to play aggressive down the stretch.

“My old man passed away not too long ago, and he always said I’m an aggressive player and I knew he was watching over me,” said Grace, a former world top-10 player, who now owns 13 worldwide career wins.

“It was good. I was just able to hit the shots that I needed. I just stayed in the moment, in the zone. I played the right shot at the right time. I got aggressive.

“I spoke to my my wife today and she said that my dad’s watching over me and he’ll give me the guidance I needed, and he did.”

Vegas, who shot 7-under 65 – which included eight birdies and one bogey, finished solo second on 18-under par.

Material used from PGA Tour and wire reports to compile post.

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