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Grace leads SA charge as legend Player named captain for Rio 2016
- Updated: August 16, 2015
On the same day golfing legend Gary Player was named South Africa’s golf captain for next year’s Rio Olympics, Branden Grace had the lowest third round of the day at the final major of the year, the PGA Championships in Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.
Grace returned a bogey-free eight-under par 64 for a share of third on 204 with England’s Justin Rose, who shot a 68.
The South African is now just three shots off the pace as Australian Jason Day had a round of 66 for a total of 201. The in form Jordan Spieth is second, two shots back.
Next best South African is George Coetzee, whose third round 70 was five shots more than his second round effort of 65. His three-round title is 209.
Other South African scores are Charl Schwartzel (210), Ernie Els (211) and US Opener runner-up Louis Oosthuizen (215).
Meanwhile, the announcement of Player as golf team captain in Rio was made at the Soweto Country Club on Saturday where he was being honoured at a golf day in his honour by the Sunshine Tour and the City of Johannesburg
Player has captained the International Team for the Presidents Cup on three occasions, and also made several appearances for South Africa in the World Cup of Golf.
He said he was honoured to be selected as captain for South Africa on such a momentous occasion for golf.
‘I am delighted to accept the captaincy and look forward to leading our top professionals on the fairways of the Rio Olympics next year. This is such a big moment for our country and for the game of golf as a whole, and I am proud to be a part of this.
‘Golf and the Olympic movement share the same core values, so this is a very big opportunity to grow the game around the world. Our goal is to earn South Africa its first Olympic gold medal in a sport that has always done this country proud.’
“Gary is our greatest golfer and one of this country’s greatest ambassadors,” said Gerhard Conradie, President of the South African Golf Association. “His career on the golf course and his philanthropic efforts off it embody everything of the Olympic spirit, and we are proud that he has accepted to lead South Africa’s first Olympic golf team to Rio.”
Golf will be officially represented by the world’s top nations for the first time next year after limited representation early last century.