Grace on the verge of top ten
Branden Grace's top five finish at the weekend has seen him rise to 11th in the latest world golf rankings.
The South African has been playing remarkably consistent golf, finishing in the top ten of his last five events.
2015 proved a breakthrough year for Grace, as he recorded no less than eight top ten finishes, including wins at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and the Dimension Data Pro-Am.
The Pretoria-born golfer also fared well in the majors, finishing tied for fourth at the US Open and on his own in third at the PGA Championship.
As a result, Grace rose from world number 82 at the start of 2015 to 14th in December.
"I'm so close now so hopefully I can put in another good week and get over the line," the 27-year-old told europeantour.com about cracking the top ten.
"It's something you dream about as a young player, being in the world's top ten, so it would be huge for me to achieve that.
"The rest of the year was my best year in terms of the standard of golf I played. It's going to be hard to follow up those finishes in the Majors, but it's given me a taste for it and now I know what to expect from being in that position. It'll help me prepare better."
Grace arrives in Qatar this week as the defending champion. He looks back on his win with great fondness.
"Last year was a big step in the right direction for me," he added.
"It didn't just lift me up the World Ranking, it got me into a lot of tournaments and my career has excelled ever since that. It really put me back on the map again and it's a week I'll never forget.
"It's great to be back here. I got goose-bumps arriving this morning and remembering some of the moments from last year. Winning in your home country is special but I've always wanted to win in the Middle East and it was great to tick that box.
"Obviously, I'm going to try to defend the title as well as I can. The form feels good and I've had five top tens coming into this week. I'm in a really good frame of mind and I'm pushing for a win. I'm maybe pushing a little too hard at times…I need to be patient.
"But coming back to a place like this and getting those positive vibes and fond memories, hopefully, that can be the difference between a top five and getting the win."
Joining Grace in the Qatar Masters field is Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn and Louis Oosthuizen.
Bryson DeChambeau powers his way to opening round lead in Las Vegas
The American shot a nine-under 62 on Thursday.
Tyrrell Hatton shares three-way tie for lead at BMW PGA Championship
Hatton’s 66 was matched late in the day by South Africa’s Justin Harding and Spain’s Adri Arnaus.
Tyrrell Hatton takes route 66 to set clubhouse target at BMW PGA Championship
Hatton carded an eagle, five birdies and a solitary bogey at Wentworth to finish six under par.
Justin Rose says he is working towards ‘bigger plan’ amid poor run of form
Rose has missed the cut in five of his last seven events.
Golf365 Review: The Manor House – An “Exclusive” Golf Club
Part of the family-owned Exclusive Hotels and Venues, The Manor House is absolutely an “exclusive” golf club.
Emotional Garcia reveals Covid-19 toll on family as he celebrates comeback win
Sergio Garcia struggled to keep his emotions in check after his victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship on Sunday.
Sergio Garcia holds his nerve to sink tournament winning putt in Mississippi
The victory gave the veteran his first PGA Tour title since 2017.
Tommy Fleetwood vows to ‘sulk’ after Scottish Open play-off loss to Aaron Rai
Fleetwood missed from three feet for par on the first extra hole.
Aaron Rai wins play-off with Tommy Fleetwood to seal Scottish Open success
Rai shot a closing-round 64 before winning the play-off on the first extra hole.
Tommy Fleetwood in touch with Robert Rock after challenging day at Scottish Open
Ian Poulter, Marcus Kinhult and Wade Ormsby also in contention but Lucas Herbert falls back.