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January 24, 2015

Branden Grace


NICK TOTTEN:テつ Well, Branden, congratulations.テつ Tell us how it was from your perspective.
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, it was good.テつ Obviously any day you win is a great day.テつ It was nice.テつ You know, 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.テつ You know, it was a nice way to wake up.
And it was nice to start the day with a birdie, as well.テつ I think that really helped settle the nerves a little bit and then I kind of fell asleep there for a little while.テつ Bernd just came out strongly and fired away, and just lucky for a strong finish the way that I did finish was good enough at the end.
NICK TOTTEN:テつ And obviously crucial moment was 16.テつ Just tell us about that; how did that happen?テつ How did it go down?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, obviously that stage, we weren't really familiar with what was going on behind us.テつ I thought when Bernd made the birdie on 10 and 11 to go to 16, I thought, you know‑‑ or on 12, made birdie to go to 16, I thought well he's definitely the one to catch.
So it was kind of like a little match‑play situation between the two of us, and you know, then towards the end, Marc just fired up the birdies, went at some of the flags.テつ When we got to, I think it was 13, that par 3 was playing tough.テつ Especially that pin tucked back right, I saw the two guys going straight at the flags and I thought, geez, that's some golf shots.
Then I got to 16.テつ Obviously I made a birdie on 12 and 14 that got me tied.テつ Yeah, I've actually been feeling good over the driver the whole day.テつ Again, it was one of those where it was not a big, big drive, just a smooth, solid swing and I just managed to hit it left of the pin.テつ One thing led to another, hit it to a good distance and managed to trickle it up there.テつ

Q.テつ You were hitting into the green on 18, how aware were you of Marc Warren behind you and his getting birdie?テつ Did that put pressure on you?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ I actually had no idea.テつ I saw he hit it pretty close on 17 before we walked off to the tee.テつ And you know, I got there‑‑ I knew there was no chance I would go for it today.テつ Yesterday was a little bit different.テつ We had a little bit more of a downbreeze and today was more off the left.テつ We got to the ball and actually it wasn't lying too bad.テつ I just tried to get it to a good sand wedge distance, and then I still wasn't aware that he made birdie.
I thought we were going to hear a little bit of a roar from behind, and we didn't hear anything.テつ I thought he missed and then I hit the shot on 18, and as I walked up, I saw, geez, he made birdie.
So I told Zack, "We need this one."
As calm as he is, he said, "Listen, what happens, happens.テつ You played well, so just make a good stroke and see what happens."テつ And I managed to make a good stroke and get in the hole.

Q.テつ We all know you won two tournaments early in the season a couple years ago.テつ How do those two wins compare with these two victories, and what have you learned from these two wins going forward into a new year?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ I think in 2012, it was difficult to get the going, the first victory, just to break the barrier and yet one under the belt, we all know, then went on to win the following week which was great.
After the two‑year drought, it's tough to get back into the winner's circle.テつ You start thinking, when am I going to win again?テつ How long is it going to take?
I think Dunhill was a good one.テつ I really played well up to the Dunhill and then I just played phenomenal golf that week.テつ And the field was good, as well.テつ So it was nice to know you could do it with those guys playing, same as this week.テつ You had major champions in the field and things like that, and it was nice to be able to do it at these times where you need to do it.
The Middle East is one of the places I've always wanted to win.テつ I've thought my game suits these type of golf courses, and I play well when I come here.
The last couple years, I've not finished great, but I had Top 15s, I had the one 9 that just killed me out there.テつ But these are big now, so this is one of the wins that's really putting me back on the map now.テつ I think I'll be in the Top‑50 or just outside who, knows.
So these are the things that we need as golfers to push us to the next level.テつ Just nice that I could do it at a place like this and in a special way like this.

Q.テつ The Scots have done well here in the past, as have the South Africans.テつ What is it about playing golf in the Middle East that has made you play so well?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, obviously the Scotts are doing great here, as well.テつ I think just for us coming here after the break with the weather being the way it is in South Africa.テつ We take time off, but we still want to be prepared when we come out here.
Always when we come to these courses, we get this grainy grass here.テつ So I think if you look at all of the South Africans, we don't always have the best strokes and stuff but we manage to get it in the hole somehow.テつ It's just one of those where we feel comfortable out here.テつ
テつテつテつテつテつテつ It's a little bit linksy, so I think a lot of South Africans love the links‑style golf course, especially this golf course where it gets bouncy and firm and quick.テつ I think that's something that we all probably like and I think the Scottish guys can relate to that as well.

Q.テつ I think that's the sixth time of all your six wins on The European Tour you've been either leading or sharing the lead going into the final round.テつ Do you feel comfortable in that sort of frontrunner position?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, it was different this time.テつ There's four guys, you're thinking, just want to get out to a good start.テつ I managed to make the birdie on 1 and then things just didn't go my way.テつ Didn't hit it close enough.テつ When I hit good shots, it actually flew a little bit, four or five feet too far and managed to be on the edges and things like that to take the opportunities away.テつ I don't know, that's just the way it's worked so far.
I just find that you need to stick to your routines and I think that's one of the things that I've been doing well every time that I've led so far.テつ I've stuck to my guns, stick to the routines and arrive hit the same shots almost every day that I've hit the whole tournament in all of them.テつ Obviously with Zack on the bag, just keeping me calm and telling me to stick to my guns, and that's exactly what I've done.
I tell you, it was very hard.テつ Obviously this morning, a little bit‑‑ obviously with the two previous tournaments, Charl and Kaymer, it's not easy to get those thoughts out of your head.
So I think one thing led to another‑‑ it was good that I wasn't in front the whole day, so I kind of needed to end that push that kept those thoughts out of my head.テつ As soon as I made those couple of good birdies and eagles, then those thoughts were gone.

Q.テつ You're probably now back in the world's Top‑50.テつ Do you let yourself start thinking of being in contention in Majors or do you need to win a few more big European tournaments?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ I think the top of golf that I play now, I think I can give it a push.テつ Over the last couple years, I struggled with putting a little bit and things like that.テつ I feel that the work that I've done with Sherylle has been phenomenal.テつ The stroke is feeling good.
It's actually so weird, I just told Zack before we got to, I think when we got to 16 green, I told him, it's so weird how it goes.テつ You get the weeks where you really flush the ball, but you just don't score well.テつ And it was one of those where I actually hit it good, but I didn't feel the best on the greens, but I managed to get it in.
Told myself doesn't matter what it looks like this week, stand over it, trust your line and just hit it without thinking about it.テつ So that was great.テつ If I can just keep that frame of mind going into the big events like the WGCs and the major, you ever know.テつ Some of those courses you play, they just suit you.テつ They just suit your eye and you never know when it's going to be your week.

Q.テつ Could you talk about the emotion on that final put you hit, you obviously realised it was important, and then the following ten minutes when you're in watching Marc finish his round and stuff, what was going through your mind?
BRANDEN GRACE:テつ Yeah, then it was pretty much life or death.テつ You make it, you think you're going to win, and if you miss, you know that pretty much you're not going to win it.テつ I had a nice putt.
It was one of those where I literally had to touch the ball.テつ Obviously you start it on the right line.テつ It was an inside, right edge putt, a little bit downhill.テつ I told Zack:テつ I'm just going to trickle it down there and hopefully it just runs in.
I'd made a couple of good strokes before that hole and I made that eagle putt on 16 was key, and that par putt on 17 was key, as well.テつ That was actually similar distance and similar break.テつ I told myself:テつ You just made one on 17, you can do it again.テつ Managed to sneak it in.
But then the wait starts.テつ Obviously I knew‑‑ Marc never hit it the closest the last couple of holes, but he managed to make a couple of putts.テつ So on 17 it must have been a good putt he made.テつ Obviously 16 and 15, we couldn't see at all what was going on but he's a good putter.テつ He rolled the ball great and he likes‑‑ like you were saying before, the Scots love these type of greens and things.
It was a little bit unlucky with his second, pitched forward and then came backwards.テつ And it's a big ask to make a long putt like that to force a playoff, and in the end it was my week.テつ I'm sure he's going to have plenty more to come.
NICK TOTTEN:テつ Congratulations.

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