His 36-hole total of four under leaves the six-time European Tour winner one stroke off the lead held by American Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. Also on four under with Grace is another American Dustin Johnson.
“I feel very comfortable on the links. I’ve had a couple of wins back in Europe on the links, and it’s trying to stay patient and take the chances when they come your way,” said Grace after his round.
“If you’re going to start forcing some things, it’s going to bite you. If you get in trouble, try and take your medicine and try and make the bogey and keep the double and the triples off the scorecard.”
The 27-year-old former Ernie Els foundation member said he had the belief to win a Major.
“We all want to do one thing, we all want to win tournaments.
“Every golfer that teed it up this week, all our dreams are to win majors and to compete in the Majors. So this is something I’ve dreamed of. This is something I’ve prepared for. This is something I’ve practiced for. So the opportunity is nice, it depends if you take it or not.”
Grace rose to prominence in 2012 with an outstanding tally of four wins on the European Tour beginning with his debut victory at the Joburg Open – a co-sanctioned event with the Sunshine Tour. The next week Grace beat childhood heroes Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a playoff at the Links at Fancourt to win the Volvo Golf Champions.
Grace was level par for his round before an eagle on the par five eighth where he holed a putt from off the green and down in a valley for eagle. A birdie at the par three ninth followed to send the 40th ranked player in the world out in three under.
“Eight was a bonus. Hit a great drive, great second,” said Grace.
“Actually, I thought I kept it on the green, and it didn’t, which was a pity. With the severe backdrop, I actually thought of chipping and I thought, I can hit a putter, I can get it close. I was really giving myself a better chance. I think it was 35-odd yards and managed to do it perfectly. That’s a big bonus, it kept the round going.”
On his back nine, two birdies were offset by two bogies to maintain his place in the top three.
While a commentator did not think Grace would still be in contention on Sunday, American audiences may well be in for a surprise this weekend.
Els was the next best placed South African on two over going into the weekend in a share of 28th. Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen were one stroke behind in a tie for 35th. George Coetzee and Thomas Aiken both finished right on the cut mark on five over to share 60th place.
Garth Mulroy and two-time US Open Champion Retief Goosen both missed the cut by one. Tjaart van der Walt could not make the weekend as he finished on 10 over. - ANA
Original source: Grace lurks at US Open