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Grace Wins Dunhill by Two at St. Andrews


Branden Grace closed with a 2-under 70 to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews' Old Course. The South African finished at 22-under 266, two shots ahead of Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen.

After opening with a course record-setting 60 at Kingsbarns - one of three courses (the other is Carnoustie) used in the event, Grace followed with rounds of 67, 69 and 70 on Sunday for the wire-to-wire victory, his fourth of the year - and career - on the European Tour.

The 24-year-old was especially thrilled to win on such a historic course. "I think whether you win as a junior or amateur or pro, just winning at St. Andrews, the 'Home of Golf' is special. This morning I was just going on the Internet and I looked at a couple of pictures of Louis Oosthuizen winning the Open here and what he looked like holding the trophy and I thought that would just make the day. I actually stayed with Louis this week. He invited me to stay with him and his family, so that's been pretty awesome."

Grace started the final round with a four-stroke lead and, despite a blip halfway through, cruised home. "I felt really calm the whole day and actually played really well. There were a couple of slip-ups here and there, but otherwise everything went to plan.

"I never dreamed I could win four European Tour titles in one year, and one of them the Dunhill - there are some great names on the trophy," he added. "The last couple of years, I felt I've been playing good golf, but never really got where I wanted to. But obviously now this has been a dream year so far."

Olesen tipped his cap to the winner, who after a couple of bogeys midway through the round saw his lead dip to one over Olesen. But Grace rebounded with three straight birdies on Nos. 12-14 to pull it off.

"Branden played great," said the 22-year-old Olesen. "He missed a few putts on the front nine but he holed some really good ones on the back nine. He played great and had three amazing rounds the first three days. I didn't hit the ball really good, so I was a little bit surprised all of a sudden to be tied with him. Frankly I didn't hit it good enough to win this week and that's it."

Alexander Noren (69) took solo third at 270, while another stroke back was fellow Swede Joel Sjoholm (70).

The winners of the Team Championship were professional Alexander Noren and Ernesto Bertarelli, the man behind the America's Cup winning team Alinghi. The two tied Thongchai Jaidee and American businessman Hugh Connerty Jr. at 36-under, but won on a count-back because Noren had the lower pro's score. His 18-under score beat Jaidee's 12-under total.

For all the scores, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2012/tournamentid=2012074/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.