By Paul Myers
There are some players you assume would have won a PGA Tour title already, and Branden Grace is one of them. Grace is truly a world-class player, as is demonstrated by is current ranking of 11th in the world golf rankings. He is also within the top-20 in the FedEx Cup points race, which is just another sign of the quality and consistency of his game. While it was Jordan Spieth who walked away with the 2015 U.S. Open title, Branden Grace also made a name for himself at Chambers Bay with a strong showing.
Despite his high-quality play, Grace had not yet claimed a Tour title – until this past weekend at Harbour Town GL in Hilton Head, SC. With a brilliant final round 66, to match the score he shot in the first round, Grace was able to claim a two shot victory over Russell Knox and Luke Donald. The week after a major championship can easily get overshadowed in the golf world, but the RBC Heritage event at Harbour Town regularly draws a great field, thanks to the unique layout of the course and the lovely setting in Hilton Head. For Branden Grace, this week will obviously be one to remember, and it could very easily be the first of many titles on the PGA Tour.
An Amateur No More
One of the big stories at The Masters was the play of then-amateur Bryson DeChambeau. He was able to take home low-amateur honors from Augusta, an honor that will no doubt be cherished for a lifetime. However, once The Masters had concluded, DeChambeau gave up his amateur status and entered the world of professional golf. Not wasting any time, he made his pro debut at the RBC Heritage – and promptly finished in a tie for fourth. As he does not yet have status on the PGA Tour, DeChambeau is hoping to make enough money through sponsors exemptions in order to secure a spot for 2017. If his play in this first pro event is any indication, he is well on his way to achieving that goal.
While some of the big names on the PGA Tour took last week off to recover from The Masters, there were still plenty of notables on the leaderboard in Hilton Head. Ernie Els bounced back from his tough putting experience at Augusta to finish tied for 14th, which should do great things for his confidence. Jason Day did compete at Harbour Town, and played well with the exception of a third round 79 which knocked him out of contention.
From Hilton Head, the Tour moves back west to Texas for the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. Jimmy Walker is the defending champion of this event, which is often marked by windy conditions. After the Valero Texas Open is complete, the Tour will remain in the south for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and then the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, before making its way to THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.