The Open | Branden Grace blissfully unaware as he sets new major mark

Grace's record score came one year after Phil Mickelson nearly became the first to shoot 62 until his birdie putt on the 18th at Royal Troon in the first round swirled around the edge of the cup. While Grace found the middle of the fairway with his tee shot, his second went over the back of the green.

A total of 10 players had previously shot 63 in The Open, and a further 21 had recorded the same score at The Masters, US Open and US PGA Championship.

Grace, 29, is still trying to take in the enormity of his achievement in becoming the first man to break 63 in the 442 majors since 1860. They include multiple major winners such as Raymond Floyd (four), Nick Price (three), Greg Norman (two), Payne Stewart (three), Vijay Singh (three), Jose Maria Olazabal (two), Mark O'Meara (two), Rory McIlroy (four) and Mickelson (five).

Grace would eventually secure his place on the European Tour by gaining his card for the 2009 season through the Qualifying School.

He played the third round with Jason Dufner, who shot a 63 at Oak Hill in the second round of the PGA Championship four years ago. The first 61 is coming sooner rather than later.

The 29-year-old made the ideal start with a birdie on the first in benign conditions which were in stark contrast to the wind and torrential rain which forced a brief suspension of play on Friday afternoon.

By the time Grace was holding a share of the lead after the first three rounds of the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay, the South African was already a six-time victor on the European Tour which included a victory at the Qatar Masters in January 2015.

Jordan Spieth led at six under through two rounds. By the time Grace got near the end, people all around the course talked about it, not just Rasego.

But in another late change, the pair both found a greenside bunker on the par-five 17 - Kuchar got up and down for birdie, Spieth could only make par.

Grace leads a contingent of golfers from the country hoping to add his name to that illustrious company.

Grace became the first player ever to shoot a 62 in a major as he rocketed up the leaderboard from nowhere at Royal Birkdale to give himself an outside chance of winning one of the sport's biggest prizes for the first time. Then a two-foot par putt was the 62nd and final stroke of his magical 8-under round.

Now the question is what the two-time Presidents Cup selection will do for an encore Sunday.

  • Stacy Allen