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Grace grabs lead at Volvo Golf Champions

  |   Jan. 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM
GEORGE, South Africa, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Branden Grace, who won the European Tour's Joburg Open last week, jumped into the lead Friday after two rounds of the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa.

The win last week in Johannesburg allowed Grace to qualify for this week's event. He shot a 7-under-par 66 Friday for a 36-hole total of 12-under 134.

Grace is four strokes ahead of Thomas Aiken, who shot 3-under 70 Friday, and Lee Slattery, who had five birdies in his first seven holes of an 8-under 65 in the second round.

Jose Maria Olazabal had a second-round 68 and is alone in fourth at 7-under 139.

Seven players are tied at 6-under. The group includes Nicolas Colsaerts, who led by four strokes after the first round. But he was 5-over at one point Friday and finished the second round with a 3-over 76.

Grace had a birdie at the second hole and then three consecutive birdies over Nos. 4-6 to get to 4-under on the day. He had a bogey at the seventh hole and a birdie at the 10th. He pulled ahead with another string of three birdies over holes 14-16.

The Volvo Golf Champions is an exclusive event that includes winners from the European Tour last year, players who won the first two tournaments on the 2012 schedule -- Grace and Louis Oosthuizen -- and current tour members under the age of 50 who have won more than 10 tournaments. The 2012 field includes 35 players.

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