European Tour straight back into the swing at the Nelson Mandela Championship

Just two weeks after the season ends, Branden Grace tees up at the 2013 campaign-opening tournament

Tue, 4 Dec 2012

European Tour straight back into the swing at the Nelson Mandela Championship

Just two weeks removed from crowning Rory McIlroy the 2012 Race to Dubai champion at the season-ending Dubai World Championship, the European Tour kickstarts its 2013 campaign in South Africa this week at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship.

Although the country’s very own Branden Grace couldn’t halt the World No.1 in his tracks, he did match him for tournament victories with four on the European Tour and one on the Sunshine Tour.

And Grace is determined to show his country’s iconic role model exactly what he’s all about.

“It’s the first time that Mandela has done something like this, putting his name to a golf tournament,” said Grace, who moved from 265th in the world at the start of 2012 to a current 36th.

“What he’s done for South Africa is amazing. He’s turned things around and everyone looks up to him.

“I am an ambassador for this event and that gives you an extra thrill. I’m going to go out there and try to do the job.”

After securing his card at the 2011 Q-School, Grace won back-to-back events on home soil in early January at the Joburg Open and Volvo Golf Champions, before adding the China Open and his biggest victory-to-date at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, ending the campaign in sixth on the Race to Dubai.

Other players likely to give Grace most to worry about this week include George Coetzee, Tim Clark, Pablo Larrazabal, Thomas Aiken and the European Tour’s 2012 Q-School champion John Parry.

Launched with this new event, the 2013 Race to Dubai features a minimum of 45 tournaments around the world, with the 12 month golfing odyssey culminating in the new four-tournament swing known as ‘The Final Series’, which ends with the World Tour Championship.

Nelson Mandela Championship

Where?
Royal Durban Golf Club, Durban, South Africa

When?
Thursday December 6 to Sunday December 9

The Course
Par-70; 6,773 yards

Betting
Grace has already won four times on the European Tour this calendar and has form in the book following a tie for sixth in the Dubai World Championship. Look no further than the generous 8/1 in a relatively weak field. Visit 888sport.com for more prices.

Live Coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports 2 from 8.30am
Friday: Sky Sports 2 from 8.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports 3 from 1pm
Sunday: Sky Sports 3 from 11am

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