Nedbank Golf Challenge
Anger has helped Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel (Gallo Images)
Sun City - Masters champion Charl Schwartzel boldly attacked the back nine at the Gary Player Country Club to seize a share of the first-round lead in the Sun City Challenge with a dazzling 68 on Thursday.
The South African led the 12-man invitation event with British world No 3 Lee Westwood, whose four-under-par round was a relatively untroubled affair with just two bogeys and capped by a birdie on the last hole.
Schwartzel made a double-bogey seven on the ninth after finding water in front of the green, and vented his frustration on the back nine with five birdies in an inward loop of just 31 shots.
"I got cross, I probably became fearless," Schwartzel told a news conference. "Turning on one-over, I was not too happy with myself, I felt that I was playing better than that and sometimes that's what you need to spur you on. I started releasing the club properly and was just firing at the flags."
Westwood, who celebrated his No 1 ranking with an eight-shot victory in last year's tournament, was delighted with his round.
"I played lovely, other than two three-putts and bogeys on one and 12, I played pretty spotless stuff. Tee to green was brilliant," Westwood said.
Fellow Englishman Luke Donald seldom led on four under par standing on the 17th tee, but pulled his drive into the water and had to reload, leading to a double-bogey and a round of 70 that left him two strokes off the pace in a tie for fourth.
Compatriot Simon Dyson, American Jason Dufner, Germany's Martin Kaymer, South Korean Kyung-Tae Kim and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell matched the world No 1's two-under-par round.
Sweden's Robert Karlsson was alone in third place on three-under in the $5 million event.
Although the weather was cool and the greens are soft, Westwood warned that the Sun City course was still its usual challenge.
"None of the golf course is playing easy. If you're not establishing fairways and greens, bogey chances can crop up on you quite quickly. If you get too cute and go for flags that you should not go for, you can come unstuck. So you've got to play patient, constructive golf," Westwood said.
68 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Lee Westwood (ENG)
69 - Robert Karlsson(SWE)
70 - Simon Dyson (ENG), Luke Donald (ENG), Martin Kaymer (GER), Kim Kyung-Tae (KOR), Graeme McDowell (NIR), Jason Dufner (USA)
72 - Anders Hansen (DEN), Francesco Molinari (ITA)
74 - Darren Clarke (NIR)