Branden Grace of South Africa picked up his second win on the 2015 Race to Dubai with a one-stroke victory over Scotland’s Marc Warren in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club.
Grace and Warren shared the lead with Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo and Bernd Wiesberger of Austria through 54-holes, and it was Warren who was first to strike on the final day.
The Scot birdied his first two holes to take the lead, but was pegged back by a double-bogey at the short 8th. Grace played a super-steady front nine before making his move with a birdie at the 12th. The pair traded blows over the next few holes then Grace made the decisive play at the 16th.
A driveable par-4, Grace hit a superb tee shot to within five-feet of the cup, setting up an eagle two. Warren wasn’t done though and he drew level once again with a birdie at the 17th. But Grace had one final trick up his sleeve; he pitched to within a few feet of the hole on the last for a closing birdie that Warren couldn’t match. Grace’s victory was his sixth on the European Tour.
“This morning, I woke up, I went through a little bit of the previous videos of when I won just to try to get me in the right frame of mind and it worked,” he said. “The Middle East is one of the places I've always wanted to win. I've thought my game suits these type of golf courses, and I play well when I come here.”
Four things we learned at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters:
1 – Branden Grace (below) has climbed to third on the European Tour’s 2015 Race to Dubai and he is also up to 44th on the Official World Golf Ranking.
He is the first multiple winner of the 2015 season, having tasted victory already in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in his native South Africa. Last time he went on a streak was in 2012 when he won four tournaments on the European Tour plus another on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour. So watch out for him to win again in the not too distant future.
2 – Marc Warren and Bernd Wiesberger (below) are also closing in on the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking, and possible invitations to The Masters.
The Scot is now 56th after his second place finish in Doha and Wiesberger is 59th after finishing third. Neither player has previously teed it up at Augusta.
3 – Alex Noren of Sweden closed with a 65 in Doha to finish in ninth place.
It was the lowest round the talented Swede (above) has posted on the European Tour for almost two years. He’s had a torrid time of it over the last year of so, hardly playing on the circuit because of injury. Hopefully this finish signifies a return to form. At his best, he’s one of the most exciting players on the European Tour and has previously been touted as a potential Ryder Cup player.
4 – Steady play – There was some extremely steady play this week by some of those who finished in the top-10.
Emiliano Grillo (above) of Argentina didn’t make a bogey for his last 57 holes. Spain’s Alejandro Canizares didn’t make a bogey until the third hole of his final round. Including the previous week, he had gone 70 holes without dropping a shot!