Grace's 62 sets new major standard
Branden Grace created a major slice of history when he carded an eight-under-par 62 during the third round of The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
The 29-year-old South African fired eight birdies on his way to shaving one shot off The Open record set by Mark Hayes at Turnberry in 1977 and later equalled by nine other golfers including Jodie Mudd at Royal Birkdale in 1991.
Grace’s 62 also set a new standard for the 18-hole record at all four male Majors which was set by Johnny Miller on his way to winning the 1973 US Open at Oakmont.
The South African’s record-breaking round started with a birdie on the opening hole and he went on to make further advances on the fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth to go out in 29 before coming home in 33 with further birdies at the 14th, 16th and 17th. He also lipped out from seven feet for another birdie on the 15th.
“Let's get this out of the way,” he said as he sat down to speak to the media. “I didn't know what was going on at 18. I promise you. I didn’t know it was for a record.
“I honestly didn't. You know, I was just so in the zone of playing, hole after hole. I knew I was obviously playing really well, and making the turn in 5-under was pretty special. And I thought if I could make a couple more on the back nine, then it's going to be a great score. I had no idea that 62 was obviously the lowest ever.
“Obviously, now it makes it even more special than what it was. My whole thing on the 18th was trying just not to make bogey. I hit a great wedge in there, just caught a flier, a little bit of a jumper and made it tough for myself. But, obviously, I knocked in the two-footer or three-footer. And Zack (caddie Zack Rasego) came up and said, "You're in the history books." And I was like, "What are you talking about?"
“So, obviously, now it makes the day even sweeter.
“It was a special day,” he added. “It was nice to start the day off with a birdie on the first, made a nice putt. It always gives you some momentum and some confidence heading into the round. And then I just played flawless golf. I think I missed two fairways or two greens the whole day. The putter was hot. I missed a couple of shortish ones, but made a couple of bombs, which was nice. I was really concentrating getting myself back into this tournament, and giving myself a chance tomorrow.
“I feel I'm playing well. And I just want to get out there again tomorrow and try to do something similar, just play some good golf. And obviously it makes me feel a lot better after the score I shot today.”
America’s Mark Hayes was the first man to card the previous Open record of 63 in the second round of the 1977 championship at Turnberry. Subsequently Isao Aoki (3rd round, Muirfield, 1980), Greg Norman (2nd round, Muirfield, 1980), Paul Broadhurst (3rd round, St Andrews, 1990), Jodie Mudd (4th round, Royal Birkdale, 1991), Nick Faldo (2nd round, Royal St George’s, 1993), Payne Stewart (4th round, Royal St George’s, 1993), Rory McIlroy (1st round, St Andrews, 2010), and Phil Mickelson (1st round, Royal Troon, 1st round, 2016) before Henrik Stenson also did in the final round of his march to victory 12 months ago.
A total of 28 other players have shot 30 rounds of 63 in all four majors since Miller set that standard in 1973.