Qatar Masters: Grace not to rush things at Doha Golf Club

 26 Jan 2016 - 2:32

Qatar Masters: Grace not to rush things at Doha Golf Club
Hassan Al Nuaimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), is seen with Branden Grace, the defending champion at Qatar Masters, Colin Macdonald, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Bank, Fahad Al Nuaimi, Secretary General, QGA, and David Probyn, Tournament Director, The European Tour, during a pre-event press conference at Doha Golf Club (DGC) yesterday. PIC Q Rahmatullah/The Peninsula


By Rizwan Rehmat
DOHA: South Africa’s Branden Grace will not rush things at this week’s Qatar Masters, a title he won by one shot at the Doha Golf Club (DGC) last year. 

The 27-year-old Pretoria-born golfer produced two of his best performances at the majors last year but the 2015 Qatar Masters champion feels four rounds at DGC this week could prove to be a tricky proposition.
“You just have to stick to your guns and be patient. As soon as you start pushing on a golf course like this, where there are a lot of dangerous spots, it can cost you,” Grace said at a pre-event media session at DGC.
“You just need to stick to your game-plan. To be able to defend the title, at times there’s a lot of luck involved. When you have luck going your way then hopefully at the end of the week it could work for you. You try to make the most of it,” he said.
Grace has arrived in Doha well acclimatised after competing in Abu Dhabi where he tied for fifth on Sunday for his fifth straight top-10 on The European Tour.
“I will try to lift the title. I know what it takes to do it. If I stick to my guns and try not to make stupid mistakes, I can win. That’s the thing  (mistakes) costing me a lot. I feel better though. 
“I am better for the challenges for this week,” he said. 
“A little bit of pressure is there as the defending champion. Coming back to tournaments where you have done well is not easy. I think I have learned a lot in the last year. I am definitely a better player than last year but you learn as tournaments go by.” 
Last year Grace finished the US Open tied for fourth spot and then impressed with his game at the PGA Championship where he ended in third spot. 
Grace said 2015 was a highly enjoyable time for him but admitted it could be difficult to replicate the successes of the previous season. 
“Obviously 2015 was my best year. That was the best standard of golf I played throughout my whole career. I think it will be hard to follow up on those finishes in the majors (in 2016),” Grace said when asked about his chances this year. 
“I know how it feels like. I know what it takes to be in that position,” Grace said. 
Grace said memories from last year’s win will motivate him this week at DGC, a venue where he lifted his maiden Qatar Masters title.
“I think I will be in a better position compared to last year. The form feels good,” Grace said when asked about his prospects this week. 
“I have five top-10s coming into this week. I am in good frame of mind,” he said. 
“Sometimes I am pushing a little too much. But obviously (I am) coming back to a place like this where I have lifted the trophy before. When you stand on these tees you get a lot of positive vibes. 
“I have fond memories and I hope that can be the difference from finishing in top-5. I think I can get the win. That’s what I am looking at,” he said. 
Grace said a number of South African players are eyeing a berth at the golf competition at the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro this August.
“There are many (South African) golfers who are trying to be there. Nobody is out of it. I am the type of golfer who doesn’t like to get excited in advance,” Grace said. 
“I know the cut-off is at least six months away. You know a lot can happen in six months. Everybody is in the mix of things. I would like to be picked for South Africa. It could be one of the best moments of my life. Until I get over that hurdle, I am not going to think about it. I need to play a lot of tournaments before the Olympics - a lot of big events. I think my golf should do the talking,” he said. 

The Peninsula