sport

Grace ready for Volvo defence

Brendan Grace admits defending a title for the first time this week is something of a culture shock.

The South African kicked off an incredible 2012 season with victory in the Volvo Golf Champions and he faces strong competition from Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen among others at the Durban Country Club.

He ended last year with four victories to his name and finished third in the Race to Dubai standings, as well as winning the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

"Winning last year was absolutely awesome," Grace said. "I always thought I'd be a tough man to beat on the Fancourt links where I grew up playing the game.

"Everything went my way, a little bit of local knowledge kicked in and the way it finished made the week even better. I never would have dreamed of beating Ernie and Retief (Goosen) in a playoff so managing to do that was the cherry on the top.

"I had literally only just finished my round and they pushed me straight back on to the tee. The only difference was that there was now two of my biggest idols and two of the greatest players in South African golf standing next to me.

"I've never defended a title before so this is another first for me. I know there's going to be a lot of hype around the event but that's just one of the things I will have to deal with."