Major record-breaker Grace: I honestly didn't know I'd made history


Branden Grace insisted he was unaware he had made history as he sensationally completed the first round of 62 in a men's major championship in The Open at Royal Birkdale. 

Prior to Saturday's third round in Southport, there had been 31 instances of players scoring 63 in a major.

Yet Grace broke new ground by taking full advantage of helpful conditions, most notably a lack of wind, while greens were softened by the previous day's downpours.

With a wide grin on his face, the South African began his post-round news conference by saying: "Let's get this out of the way: I didn't know what was going on on 18. I promise you."

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Asked how it was possible not to know the significance of his round, Grace replied: "I honestly didn't. You know, I was just so in the zone of playing, hole after hole.

"I had no idea that 62 was obviously the lowest ever. Obviously, now it makes it even more special than what it was."

Five front-nine birdies put the South African in a position to make history, before he holed lengthy putts at 14 and 16 to reach seven under for the day.

Another gain followed on the penultimate hole, as Grace hit the par-five 17th in two, and he held his nerve to save par on the 18th after his approach had slipped over the back of the green.

"My whole thing on the 18th was trying just not to make bogey," he added. "I hit a great wedge in there, just caught a flier, a little bit of a jumper, and made it tough for myself. But obviously I knocked in the two-footer or three-footer [for par].

"Zack [Rasego, Grace's caddie] came up and said, 'you're in the history books'. And I was like, 'what are you talking about?'"

Describing what the achievement meant to him, Grace said: "It's special. It really is. Like I said, it's always nice shooting a low number, whether it's any day of the week, whether it's in a tournament or with friends. And then finishing the round and then finding out what you've done makes it even better, it really does.

"And to do it at the Open Championship is pretty special. It's something I really enjoyed and something I'll remember forever, definitely."