Grace secures first PGA Tour title at RBC Hertitage

South Africa’s Branden Grace has collected his first PGA Tour title with a closing 5-under-66 to overtake Luke Donald at the RBC Heritage tournament at Hilton Head.

Grace, who thrust himself into the limelight last year with top-four finishes at the US Open and PGA Championship, closed with a superb five-under-par 66 at the Harbour Town course on Hilton Head Island. He finished at 9-under, two shots ahead of Donald and Russell Knox. Donald shot a 71, and Knox had a 67.

The victory earned Grace US$1,062,000 and a PGA Tour exemption through the 2017-18 season.

The 27-year-old South African had won 10 times overseas, finished in the top five last year in the US Open and PGA Championship, but never until Sunday on the PGA Tour.

“This really puts the cherry on top of the cake,” Grace said. “And I’m excited for things to start.”

“Last year this was really the turning point, I got my first top ten, and I just rode the wave from there on in and hopefully I can do the same now getting this first victory.”

Grace began the final round three strokes off the pace and moved into a tie for the lead with Donald and Knox when he nailed in a four-footer to birdie the par-four sixth. Out in four-under 32, birdies at the 12th and 13th forged Grace three ahead and he was able to hold on from there for victory.

A week after earning low-amateur honours at the Masters, one of the game’s top young stars, Bryson DeChambeau, finished inside the top-5 to take home some serious cash.

DeChambeau gained an exemption into the historic event at Hilton Head, and the reigning US Amateur and NCAA champ finished tied for fourth, which was good for a US$259,600 payout on Sunday evening.

Following the event DeChambeau wasted no time in enjoying the perks of success on the PGA Tour, chartering a private jet home on the back of signing an new deal with Cobra-Puma Golf. DeChambeau will also get a start at next week’s Texas Open as a result of securing a top-10 finish in his first appearance as a pro.

The leading Australian was a former winner of this event, Aaron Baddeley, who tied for 9th and earned US$147,000.

John Senden and Jason Day tied for 23rd, Day recovering from a third round 79 to record a final round of 68. Marc Leishman also made the weekend to finish in a tie for 30th along with Geoff Ogilvy in a tie for 54th position.

Ryan Ruffels missed the cut after rounds of 75-70 as did Matt Jones, Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby.