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Grace wins in playoff against Els, Goosen

Jan. 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM   |   Comments

GEORGE, South Africa, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Branden Grace had a birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday, edging South African golf legends Ernie Els and Retief Goosen for the Volvo Golf Champions title.

It was the European Tour second win in as many weeks for Grace, whose victory at the Joburg Open made him eligible for the exclusive Volvo Golf event.

Grace, Els and Goosen tied at 12-under-par 280 after 72 holes and headed to a sudden-death playoff beginning at the par-5, 549-yard 18th hole. Els had birdied the hole each of his four rounds and Goosen's birdie there Sunday pulled him into a tie for the lead.

Grace, however, missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the hole in the fourth round, causing the playoff.

In the playoff he reached the green in two. Goosen two-putted for par while Els missed a mid-range birdie putt. That left Grace with a tap-in for birdie and the win.

Grace opened the fourth round tied with Nicolas Colsaerts for the lead and sagged to 3-over after four holes Sunday. But he had five birdies the rest of the way for a 2-under 71.

Els had four birdies and two bogeys on the front side and charged in with an eagle on No. 13 and birdies at 11 and 18 for a 6-under 67. Goosen's 3-under 70 Sunday included a double-bogey at the par-5 ninth hole, three bogeys, six birdies and a 13th-hole eagle.

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