Grace, Schwartzel off the pace at The Open

With three South Africans hot on the heels of leader Kevin Kisner, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel failed to make it four after a slow day at Carnoustie, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

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Many expected Grace to feature prominently, not only as the South African to watch but also as a potential winner due to the firm, fast conditions which he usually thrives on.

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Instead, Thursday’s opening round proved to be a struggle with just one birdie to show for his efforts and in truth, it could’ve been worse but for a superb pitch and putt on the last to save par.

Grace’s first drop came on the 6th after five straight pars to open and would serve as an indication of things to come. A bogey four at the 8th saw him turn in +2 before another run of a handful of holes played at level par.

A birdie at the par-five 14th was offset by a bogey at the next before another drop at the penultimate hole sent him back to T99, two shots off the cut mark as it stands.

Grace’s 74 matched that of Schwartzel’s opening round, although the tally is where the similarities ended. Schwartzel, who hasn’t played since missing the cut at the US Open last month, carded an eight on the par-four 8th to undo the birdies on either side of that disastrous hole as an early bogey already saw him playing catch-up.

Birdies at the 14th and 15th were bookended with bogeys at the 12th and 18th to leave Schwartzel with plenty to do on Friday.

DID YOU READ: Oosthuizen can’t match early Saffa form

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

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