Branden Grace has come close to winning the SA Open on a few occasions. Photo: Michael Sherman/African News Agency/ANA

JOHANNESBURG – Branden Grace has a very definite reason for wanting to retain his place in the top 50 rankings by the end of this year.

It’s a big reason, involving a little guy.

Grace tees it up in Thursday’s first round of the SA Open ranked 50th in the world. And he’s determined to keep his place in the top 50 by the end of the year for one reason alone.

“The main thing for me, having a young son now, is that you dream of your son caddying for you in the Par-3 contest ahead of The Masters.

“I told my wife I want him to caddie for me there. So, just making it to Augusta National to play in The Masters is great.

“But making it there and having him caddie for me in the Par-3 contest sounds even better. So, that’s my goal,” Grace said.

And it doesn’t matter to Grace that his son, Roger, will be just around one year old at the time.

“You know, he’s a big boy, and I think he’s probably going to walk before he crawls. But he’ll be part of that Par-3 contest, for sure. Seriously though, I’d be quite disappointed to fall out of the top 50. I think I’ve been there for three or four years now.”

A big part of that goal includes this week’s South African Open at Randpark.

“My game feels in good enough shape to win this week. I know if I have a good week this week, I’ll be in the top 50 at the end of the year.

“It’s great to be back in South Africa and playing in front of the home fans. I’ve been close in this tournament with a fourth and a second.

“I definitely want to get over the line with this one. The SA Open means a lot to me, because I feel that’s the one that’s missing. I’ve ticked the box of winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

“This is the next one that I have to tick. When I can tick this box, then I know I’ve won the big four in my eyes in South Africa, namely the Alfred Dunhill Championship, the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the Joburg Open and then the SA Open. This is the win I need.”

African News Agency (ANA)