‘Patience’ the key word for defending champion
30 Jan 2016 - 1:15
DOHA: Defending champion Branden Grace (pictured) yesterday carded an impressive 68 to finish the third round tied for second spot at the $2.5m Qatar Masters.
The South African fired four birdies on what was a challenging day for the golfers at Doha Golf Club where two-time champion Paul Lawrie of Scotland is leading the pack.
After three rounds, Grace is 11 under par 205, a couple of shots behind Lawrie’s 13 under par 203.
Here’s a quick Question and Answer session with Grace:
Q. What was the key to that round?
A: Branden Grace: Patience. It was a brutal day out there. The wind was blowing and the greens were tricky. In conditions like that, it’s tough to give yourself those chances. I think patience was the name of the game. I pretty much got the most out of my round today. I didn’t really think I left any out there, so 4-under was a great score.
Q. What would it mean to successfully defend the title?
Grace: Oh, yeah, that would be great. Obviously I’ve not done it, not a lot of people that have done it, as well. It would be great. I’m just glad with the type of golf that I’m playing and I’m giving myself a shot at retaining the trophy. It’s good, I’m playing some good golf and I’m looking forward to tomorrow (today).
Q. The weather might change a little bit, might get fairer for us tomorrow. What’s the strategy? Will that change?
Grace: Not really. I think if there’s a little bit of breeze, depending on how they put the pin positions -- from the dust we saw today, it’s going to look pretty similar to last year. A couple of tricky ones. Patience is the name of the game tomorrow, trying to hit your spots and take the opportunities when they come your way and make the most out of it. I think the putting is going to be the key tomorrow. The guy who is going to make the most putts is going to come out on top.
Q. Do you think the idea of being able to have a chance to win a European Tour event, they wouldn’t sleep a wink at night. Do you still get nervous?
Grace: You know, obviously. I try not to think about it too much the night before. I’ll probably be on the couch and watch a couple of highlights from last year to get into the mode and things like that. Sure, when you get on the first tee, you always get a bit of nerves going. For me, it’s normally my first putt. If the putt goes, then I’m fine. But if you’re nervous, then you’re doing something right.