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Grace cruises to Dunhill title

Malelane, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Branden Grace closed with a 4- under 68 on Sunday and he cruised to a 7-stroke win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Grace, who led by one entering the final round, ended at 20-under-par 268. This was his fifth European Tour title. His first four victories all came in the 2012 season.

"It's been a long year, a hard year, but now it's a fairytale ending just before Christmas," said Grace. "One of the main things this week has been the driving. I just put a new driver in the bag in Dubai and that's been the key this week."

Former Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen carded a 3-under 69 and he took second place at minus-13 at Leopard Creek Country Club. Andrew Johnston tripped to a 1-over 73 in the final round. He ended alone in third place at 11-under 277.

Trevor Fisher, Jr. (69) and last week's winner Danny Willett (76) shared fourth at minus-10. David Drysdale posted a 3-under 69 to improve into a tie for sixth place. He was joined there by Francesco Molinari, who struggled to a 4-over 76.

Grace rolled in a short birdie putt on the second to quickly extend his lead to three strokes. Another birdie at No. 4 moved Grace to minus-18.

After a pair of pars, Grace missed the green at the par-3 seventh with his tee shot and he failed to get up and down for par. Despite the bogey, he still led by four.

Grace chipped his second at the short par-4 11th to kick-in range. He made that birdie, but was just three clear of Willett, who birdied nine and 10.

Willett dropped a shot at 12, but came right back with birdies at 13 and 14 to inch within two, but Grace answered with a birdie on 13 to move three clear.

Grace traded a birdie for a bogey from the 15th, but he was comfortably ahead as Willett collapsed down the stretch. Grace 2-putted for birdie at the last to seal the win.

"It's a little extra special being the first to win both Dunhills. That's something for the record books," said Grace, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2012. "It is a great finish to an amazing week."

Willett found water at the par-3 16th and that led to a double-bogey. He followed with a bogey on 17 and a triple-bogey at the last.

Oosthuizen, the 2006 runner-up, birdied the first, but followed with bogeys on the second and third. He got back to even-par for his round with a birdie on the seventh.

Around the turn, he carded birdies at 10 and 11 to get to 12-under. Oosthuizen picked up two more strokes as he birdied the 15th and 17th, but he closed with a bogey at the last.

NOTES: Grace earned 237,750 euros for the win ... Grace was the first player in tournament history to win this title in wire-to-wire fashion ... Despite good playing conditions, only 23 of the 75 players in the field broke par in the final round, while 44 players shot over-par rounds, including four rounds in the 80s ... Lucas Bjerregaard, who played in the final group, struggled to a 17-over 89, which included seven bogeys, two double-bogeys, a triple-bogey and a quadruple-bogey ... The European Tour returns to action on January 8th with the South African Open Championship, where Morten Orum Madsen is the reigning champion.

12/14 12:30:16 ET

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