Golf

Schwartzel lurking ominously

2012-01-22 12:54
Charl Schwartzel (File)

George - While he did not hole as many putts as he would have liked, Charl Schwartzel was lurking ominously, one shot off the lead, going into the final round of the Volvo Golf Champions at the Links at Fancourt on Sunday.

Tee to green Schwartzel was impressive in the first three rounds, but his putter posed a problem for the Masters champion.

"I wouldn't call them putting problems. The ball just won't go into the hole," Schwartzel said.

"I'm actually hitting what feels like pretty good putts.

"I'm just not starting the ball online, and when I do start it online I read it wrong, so it just adds to the frustration.

"But, you know, it shows you how good I'm hitting the ball, and that's a positive."

On a day when most battled, including overnight leader Branden Grace who signed for a two-over 75 in the wind and rain, Schwartzel shot the round of the day, firing five-under-par 68 on Saturday.

"The wind combined with a bit of misty rain, which made things difficult," he said.

"For example, I was hitting a four-iron where I normally hit a seven-iron when it was into the wind. That's how short the ball was playing.

"It starts getting difficult when you're hitting those long clubs into some of those greens.

"It's a combination of the ball going short and fairways getting softer.

"It's real tricky, on whichever shot you decided to hit, to commit to it properly. So margins were not much out there."

Schwartzel admitted that the seven SA players in the field held a distinct advantage at Fancourt.

"It's a golf course where you can't come and play one practice round and think that you're going to conquer it," he said.

"It's a golf course that you need to know really well.

"There's a lot of slopes on these greens that you can use to your benefit, but then there's also some that's going to bite you if you don't know what you're doing."

After the first two days presented a course ripe for scoring in benign conditions, with bad weather moving in over the weekend, the Links began to play as it was intended.

"It showed the first two days, it was pretty easy," Schwartzel said.

"You were not hitting very long clubs into these greens, but just change the weather around a little bit and it becomes a completely different golf course.

"That's where I think someone that knows the course gets a little bit of an advantage."

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