Double bonus for Schwartzel

2012-03-29 09:05
Charl Schwartzel (AP)

Houston - South African Charl Schwartzel has two good reasons to be happy competing at this week's Houston Open in Humble, Texas, as he prepares for his Masters title defence the following week.

Not only does the 27-year-old love the par-72 layout at the Redstone Golf Club but he enjoys the added benefit of a course that is set up to provide similar conditions to Augusta National for the season's first major.

"It's always one of my favourite events, and not because it's the week before the Masters," Schwartzel, who stormed to his first major title with a four-birdie finish at Augusta National last year, told reporters at Redstone on Wednesday.

"The way they set up the golf course, it's known to be very good practice for Augusta but I just like the golf course as it is. It's just a bonus that they do set it up very similar (to the Masters)."

Schwartzel tied for third at the 2010 Houston Open and has produced good form this season with two top-five finishes in his first four starts on the PGA Tour.

"I know when I play at my best that I can compete with the best," said the South African, who made a brief preparatory trip to Augusta National last week. "That's what I work towards.

"For next week, I'm very excited. It's going to be a big week, and I'm going to try and keep it as normal as possible."

Ever since the Houston Open became the final tune-up event for the Masters in 2007, the Redstone layout has mimicked Augusta National with light rough and fast greens surrounded by shaved run-off areas.

"They really go the extra mile with the details, combing the fairways back against the tee boxes, inch and a quarter rough, the firmness and speed of the greens," said 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell.

"It's a nice test without being too difficult. This looks like it's going to be a great week's preparation (for the Masters)."

British world No 3 Lee Westwood also plans to make the most of the Augusta National-like conditions at Redstone.

"It's nice to have the benefit around the greens, playing similar kinds of shots, and they have got them really quick here as they do next week," said the Englishman, who tied for 11th at the 2009 Houston Open and finished joint eighth the next year.

"The greens (in England) are in poor condition this time of the year and you can't get them faster. It will be hard for me to go from being at home to straight into competitive play at Augusta."

Also competing in a strong field this week is three-times Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who defends the title he won by three shots last year when he closed with a sizzling seven-under-par 65.

Read more on:    houston open  |  charl schwartzel  |  golf

Clark pulls out of Masters

2015-04-01 20:34


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.