European Tour Rookie Sensation Branden Grace Makes Memorial Debut

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIMay 29, 2012

Branden Grace won the Volvo China Open in April
Branden Grace won the Volvo China Open in AprilRoss Kinnaird/Getty Images

European Tour rookie Branden Grace will make his Memorial Tournament debut this week at Muirfield Village.

Following in the footsteps of Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, South African Branden Grace is one of the hottest players on the European Tour.

Grace earned his European Tour card via their Q-School last fall and has shot out of the gate with three wins in just 13 starts in 2012.

When asked what has changed this year to allow him to perform at such a high level, he replied that he went back to some old putting habits and is just making more putts.

The 24-year-old is currently No. 55 in the OWGR and is looking to get into his first major, the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, in two weeks.

He has made one other start on the PGA Tour earlier this year in the WGC-Cadillac at Doral where he finished in 35th place.

Grace is currently No. 4 on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and his immediate goals are to qualify for the majors as well as the WGC events and to finish as high as possible on the European Tour’s money list.

He is another distinguished alumnus of the Ernie Els Foundation for talented young golfers in South Africa and gives a lot of credit to both Schwartzel and Oosthuizen for helping him adjust to life on the PGA Tour.

He wants to eventually earn PGA Tour membership and mix it up with the big boys for the big bucks and major trophies.

With the success of golfers from South Africa over the past 20 years I wouldn’t bet against him picking up some major hardware in the future.