Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: History-maker Branden Grace aims to make it third time lucky when he tees up at next week’s US$7 million CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
The 29-year-old South African is among 10 Presidents Cup team members headlining the only official PGA Tour FedEx Cup tournament in Southeast Asia.
He finished tied 17th and tied 33rd in his first two appearances at TPC Kuala Lumpur, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
And he is determined to make it all the way to the top this time, even if it means dethroning two-time defending champion Justin Thomas, crowned the new FedEx Cup number one and named Player of the Year.
Grace, ranked 42nd in the world, said: “I have enjoyed competing in the CIMB Classic previously and I look forward to returning to TPC Kuala Lumpur, which is a wonderful golf course.
“As professional golfers, we have the opportunity to play in many great places and with the CIMB Classic celebrating its eighth edition, its longevity shows the game is flourishing in Malaysia and Asia which is terrific news for the players. I’ll be going over with the intention to try and win the golf tournament.”
Grace has a knack of playing his way into golf’s history books. In July, he became the first man to shoot a 62 in a Major. It happened during the third round of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale which helped him to a joint sixth finish. It underlined his pedigree as it was his fifth top-10 at the Majors over the past three seasons.
A graduate of the Ernie Els Foundation, which recognises and helps nurture young golfers, Grace grew up idolising Tiger Woods and early into his professional career, he burst onto the scene in Tiger-esque style by becoming the first player in European Tour history to win his first four titles in the same season.
Then two years ago, Grace became only the fifth player to achieve a perfect 5-0-0 record at the Presidents Cup, where he represented the International Team. He was unable to repeat that feat last week when the Internationals were soundly beaten by their American counterparts.
The other Presidents Cup members who will feature in the CIMB Classic include American stars Thomas and Patrick Reed, Indian Anirban Lahiri, Argentinean Emiliano Grillo, Adam Hadwin of Canada, Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela, Korean Kim Si-woo and Grace’s countrymen Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.
The CIMB Classic is also sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM). The premier Malaysian tournament is the first of three PGA Tour events in Asia during the month of October.