SCOTLAND’S Marc Warren was denied in Doha yesterday as South Africa’s Branden Grace won his sixth European Tour title by finishing one shot clear of the Rutherglen man at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Grace shot a decisive eagle on the par four 16th after a drive to five feet as he carded 66 on his final round to finish on 19 under par overall.
Warren returned to the clubhouse with a second successive round of 67 which included eight birdies, a bogey and a double bogey on the eighth hole.
“It was a great day, a great week, and it’s another trophy to put in the cupboard,” Grace said. “I’m going to thank Callaway again – that driver again on 16 [in the third round] to four feet; without that it wouldn’t be possible.”
That shot on Friday at the 16th followed a snap-hook wedge from the trees on the fifth hole, with the birdie earned paving the way to a third round score of 68 for the South African.
Speaking about that shot, Grace said: “That wedge on the fifth hole, that was a shot that you want to hit but you don’t always manage it.
“The form has been there, I played great and I managed to get in on top.”
The win in Doha is Grace’s second of the 2015 Race to Dubai after he won the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger finished third on 17-under-par while England’s Eddie Pepperell came home fourth a further shot back.
World No.2 Henrik Stenson finished down the field in a six-way tie for 13th on 10-under-par with England’s Justin Rose and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts.
In the United States, Matt Kuchar carded an 8-under-par 64 to lead the Humana Challenge at the halfway stage in California. Kuchar bettered his first-round effort of 65 by a shot to take a one-stroke lead on 15-under.
The tournament features three courses: La Quinta Country Club, PGA West Palmer and PGA West Nicklaus.
Starting at the tenth hole on the Nicklaus course, Kuchar got off to a great start when he birdied at the first attempt before picking up shots at four of the next six to reach the turn in 31, then birdied hole one. The world No.11 then eagled the par-five fourth to take the lead. Kuchar also picked up a shot on the eighth and parred the ninth to complete his fine round.
He moved a single shot ahead of first-round leader Michael Putnam, who followed up a 9-under 63 with a solid 67 on the Palmer course which included five birdies, tying for second on 14 under with the tournament’s 2010 winner Bill Haas, who made seven consecutive birdies from the second at La Quinta to remain firmly in the mix.
Nick Watney, Justin Thomas and Scott Pinckney were snapping at their heels on 13-under, while Ryan Palmer, Erik Compton, Alex Cejka and Steve Wheatcroft stood a further shot back.