Branden Grace defends bunker ruling at BMW PGA Championship
By Ali Stafford at Wentworth
Last Updated: 25/05/17 7:10pm
Branden Grace has defended his decision to ask for a controversial drop during the opening round of the BMW PGA Championship.
Grace posted a four-under 68 at Wentworth to stay within two strokes of early pacesetter Johan Carlsson, with the South African benefiting for a fortunate break during his back nine.
Four birdies in his first nine holes were followed by an eagle-three at the 12th to move Grace tied for the lead, before finding the bunker with his approach into the par-four next.
The ball was embedded deep in the sand and Grace's feet were brushing the netting at the bottom of the hazard, leading to him consulting the official and being given a favourable drop.
"I got a plugged lie," Grace explained on Sky Sports. "Fortunately for me, I had a ruling like this in China last year where when I took my stance, my feet were touching the material beneath the sand.
"I couldn't really get the grip and kept on slipping, so knowing what happened in the past I asked the official. Fortunately for me, it worked out this time."
Grace couldn't take advantage as he pitched out of the sand to 12 feet but missed the putt to save par, before dropping another shot along the closing stretch to slip into a share of fifth.
Chief referee Andy McFee said: "The netting is an artificial substance. If you're stood on any kind of obstruction, then it's exactly the same status as that.
"Providing the stroke is reasonable and as long as the ball is not playable due to someone else, then relief will be given."
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