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Branden Grace’s 62 at British Open sets major championship record

Branden Grace of South Africa hits an approach

Branden Grace of South Africa hits an approach shot during the third round of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on July 22, 2017 in Southport, England. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Redington

SOUTHPORT, England — Branden Grace said he wasn’t aware of what had been accomplished, but his caddy knew quite well

“You’re in the history books,” Zack Rasego told Grace after Grace shot a 62 Saturday in the third round of the British Open, the lowest round ever in a major golf championship. And that’s 422 majors over 157 years.

A slightly dumbfounded Grace, the 29-year-old South African, could only look at Rasego and ask, “What are you talking about?”

He was talking about something unprecedented in a sport which began centuries earlier in Scotland, maybe a couple hundred miles north of Royal Birkdale Golf Club, where this 146th Open is being held.

He was talking about a score players have chased since 1973 when Johnny Miller shot 63 in the final round of the U.S. Open at Oakmont, a score that in the subsequent 43 years has been equaled 30 times but never bettered. Until the third round at Birkdale. Miller is at Birkdale working the telecast for NBC

“I honestly didn’t know,” said Grace, whose score was eight under par on the par 70 course. “I was so in the zone of playing, hole after hole. I knew I was playing well. I had no idea 62 was the lowest ever. Obviously now it makes it more special than it was.”

Grace had eight birdies and no bogeys in a round that early on, in contrast to Friday’s storm, was played under blue skies and with minimal wind.

There were 65s by two golfers who played before him, an indication Birkdale could be conquered, and after Grace, Dustin Johnson had a 64, which he thought could have been a 62.

Grace hardly is a surprise. He held a share of the 54-hole lead of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, and still was tied for the lead at 16 when he blocked his tee shot out of bounds. He finished fourth. The winner was Jordan Spieth, who’s leading here, and Grace is seven shots behind him.

“This is the one I’ve always liked,” Grace said about the British. “So what a special place to get myself into the history books. I played flawless golf.”

Branden Grace, hole by hole

No. 1, 445 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. Gap wedge from 127 yards to 16 feet. One putt. Birdie.

No. 2, 427 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. Gap wedge from 130 yards. Two putts. Par.

No. 3, 460 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. 9-iron from 158 yards to 9 feet. Two putts. Par.

No. 4, 182 yards, par 3: 8-iron to 35 feet. One putt. Birdie.

No. 5, 310 yards, par 4: Driver to 25 feet away on the green. Two putts. Birdie.

No. 6, 489 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. 3-iron from 218 yards onto the green. Two putts. Par.

No. 7, 156 yards, par 3: 9-iron to 14 feet. Two putts. Par.

No. 8, 451 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. 9-iron from 188 yards to 25 feet. One putt. Birdie.

No. 9, 420 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. Gap wedge from 129 yards to 12 feet. One putt. Birdie.

No. 10, 391 yards, par 4: 5-iron off the tee. 9-iron from 161 yards to just short of the green. Two putts. Par.

No. 11, 434 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. 7-iron from 173 yards to the green. Two putts. Par.

No. 12, 185 yards, par 3: 6-iron to 15 feet. Two putts. Par.

No. 13, 507 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. 8-iron from 180 yards to 11 feet. Two putts. Par.

No. 14, 168 yards, par 3: 9-iron to 36 feet. One putt. Birdie.

No. 15, 536 yards, par 5: Driver off the tee. 2-iron from 240 yards missed the green to the left. Chip to 7 feet. Two putts. Par.

No. 16, 433 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. 9-iron from 142 yards to 28 feet. One putt. Birdie.

No. 17, 563 yards, par 5: Driver off the tee. 3-iron from 239 yards to 26 feet. Two putts. Birdie.

No. 18, 470 yards, par 4: Driver off the tee. Pitching wedge just over the green. Two putts from 60 feet. Par.

New York Sports