Sun City - Charl
Schwartzel still isn't sure how he did it. He only knows that the rib
muscle he somehow tore at the US Open left him struggling with his
swing for much of the rest of his season in 2012.
that he's playing pain-free again, there are signs that he's nearly
back to his best and maybe ready to challenge two-time defending
champion Lee Westwood at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City this
Schwartzel said after Wednesday's pro-am that his game was "definitely on the way up."
tie for third at the World Tour Championship in Dubai last weekend and a
fifth-place finish at the South African Open the week before fed his
growing confidence. They were his first top-10 finishes since hurting
himself at the US Open in June.
don't even know how I did it," the former US Masters champion said of
the injury. "I just basically sat down and I could hardly breathe.
Until today, I don't know actually how it happened."
back to his best will still take a little time, Schwartzel said, but
he's now completely recovered from the chest injury, which had made him
compensate in his swing.
don't expect anything from this week," he added, tempering expectations
from home fans in South Africa waiting for a first home winner at the $5m Nedbank since Trevor Immelman in 2007. "But it's definitely
turning. My swing is starting to repeat itself more and more. That is
good signs for me."
obvious caution probably resulted in part from the fact that Westwood
has been untouchable recently at Sun City's Gary Player Country Club,
winning a second straight Nedbank title last year with the help of a
course-record 62 in the third round.
Englishman is the favourite to to win again at Sun City on Sunday and
become the first player with three straight Nedbank titles.
Justin Rose, fresh off his own course-record 62 in the final round in
Dubai on Sunday, arrives in north west South Africa as Westwood's
South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen backed his close friend Schwartzel to
"be very strong this week," the English pair are the leading contenders.
game was perfectly suited to Sun City, Oosthuizen said, while Rose
finished second to the all-conquering Rory McIlroy on the European
Tour's Race to Dubai money list after an outstanding season from the
South African-born Englishman.
record is amazing around this golf course," Oosthuizen said, "so you've
got to think he's going to be up there. He hits his driver so straight.
With narrow fairways, you'll see him take driver on a hole where most
guys will probably take a three wood.
especially after last week, will definitely be one of the guys to look
out for. Coming off a 62... his confidence is going to be way up there.
He's a great player. He had a great Ryder Cup."
playing at the Sun City invitational are Westwood and Rose's fellow
Ryder Cup winners Paul Lawrie, Nicolas Colsaerts, Peter Hanson, Martin
Kaymer and Francesco Molinari, giving the tournament seven members of
Europe's victorious team at Medinah.
Carl Petterson also made the trip alongside American Bill Haas. Garth
Mulroy makes it three South Africans in the field, which is chasing a
first prize of $1.25m.