Slick Schwartzel shares lead
Charl Schwartzel (Gallo Images)
Malelane - With the simplicity of the natural world that surrounds him here at Leopard Creek and which he so dearly loves, Charl Schwartzel outlined his career philosophy after a 64 earned him a share of the lead in the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Friday.
The young South African shares the lead with Frenchman Gregory Bourdy on 13 under par, with Darren Fichardt four strokes back going into the weekend.
Teeing off early on Friday morning, Schwartzel took advantage of a fresh golf course and produced his best in a run of three birdies and an eagle over the turn.VIDEO: Alfred Dunhill Championship - highlights
Bourdy was also out early and produced a sublime 65 including a chip in for an eagle on the par-four sixth hole that keeps him very much a factor in this tournament.
But it was Schwartzel’s illuminating description of how he intends to approach 2013 that was his most impressive performance on Friday. “I don’t want to expect anything. Expectation is not a good thing. I just play,” he said.
“For me, there have been too many people asking, ‘What do you want to achieve?’ and you say, ‘Well, this, this and this’. Sure, you want to do things, but the more you force the issue the less you do it. I don’t want to think about anything. I just want to tee it up, hit the ball down the fairway, hit it on the green, make the putt and see where it leads me.
“We all want to win tournaments, but thinking about winning golf tournaments is not going to win tournaments for me. I have to stay right here where I am, plod along, and if I play the best I’ll win. By playing well and winning, the world ranking and money list all takes care of itself. You can’t take the step ahead and say I want to do what Rory McIlroy did and win both money lists and become world number one.”
His words revealed everything about the next phase in a career that is now looking to move on from his 2011 Masters triumph.
Schwartzel’s victory in the Thailand Golf Championship before this event was his first since he slipped on that green jacket.
Schwartzel knows because he was reminded about it often enough.
“Last week was a nice win to break the ice after winning the Masters. Everyone was saying things like, ‘Oh, you haven’t won for so long’, but winning isn’t as easy as everybody thinks it is. You can play well and still not win. Now we’ve got a win again and can put the whole Masters thing behind and carry on. Everyone keeps talking about it, but the Masters is gone. It’s been almost two years now, so let’s see if we can get some new ones. Let’s make some new memories now and talk about something new.”
His swing is not yet where he’d like it to be, but by his own admission, it’s getting there.
“Over the last few holes there were signs of better striking. Hopefully I can continue with that on the weekend. It doesn’t mean I’ll shoot better scores, but when you’re hitting the ball well you feel more in control.”
Bourdy is looking forward to matching himself against the best Schwartzel has to offer. “It’s going to be an exciting weekend,” he said.
“Charl is a great player, one of the best in the world, and it’s nice to play against the top players on the weekend.”Leaderboard:
131 - Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 66 65, Charl Schwartzel 67 64
135 - Darren Fichardt 67 68
136 - Louis de Jager 67 69, Steve Webster (ENG) 67 69
137 - Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 68 69, Robert Rock (ENG) 69 68
138 - Tyrone van Aswegen 70 68, Richard Finch (ENG) 70 68, Scott Jamieson (SCO) 70 68, Ockie Strydom 69 69, Richard Sterne 70 68,Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 69 69, Tyrone Mordt 71 67
139 - Anton Haig 73 66, Branden Grace 68 71, Richard McEvoy (ENG) 69 70, Kristoffer Broberg (SWE) 70 69, Garth Mulroy 71 68, Oscar Floren (SWE) 69 70,Keith Horne 70 69
140 - Jaco Van Zyl 69 71, Magnus A Carlsson (SWE) 71 69, Matteo Delpodio (ITA) 72 68, JB Hansen (DEN) 70 70, Espen Kofstad (NOR) 69 71,Louis Oosthuizen 73 67, Richard Bland (ENG) 67 73, Tjaart van der Walt 72 68
141 - Sam Little (ENG) 72 69, Eduardo de la Riva (ESP) 72 69, Bjorn Akesson (SWE) 71 70, David Drysdale (SCO) 69 72, George Coetzee 71 70,Simon Wakefield (ENG) 74 67, Matthew Baldwin (ENG) 69 72, Michael Jonzon (SWE) 74 67, Peter Lawrie (IRL) 70 71
142 - George Murray (SCO) 73 69, Doug McGuigan 71 71, Alessandro Tadini (ITA) 72 70, Danie van Tonder 72 70, James Kamte 70 72,Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 70 72, Hennie Otto 71 71, Lorenzo Gagli (ITA) 71 71, Vaughn Groenewald 72 70, Jean Hugo 71 71,Christiaan Basson 70 72, John Parry (ENG) 72 70, Graeme Storm (ENG) 68 74
143 - Peter Whiteford(SCO) 75 68, Mikael Lundberg(SWE) 71 72, Allan Versfeld 71 72, Danny Willett (ENG) 70 73, Gary Lockerbie (ENG) 73 70,Thomas Aiken 70 73, David Howell (ENG) 70 73, Peter Uihlein (USA) 70 73
144 - Divan van den Heever 73 71, Marc Warren (SCO) 73 71, Matthew Southgate (ENG) 70 74, Andy Sullivan (ENG) 73 71, Oliver Bekker 67 77,Eddie Pepperell (ENG) 74 70, Justin Walters 73 71, Estanislao Goya (ARG) 70 74, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 73 71, Matthew Nixon (ENG) 75 69, Neil Cheetham (ENG) 73 71,Desvonde Botes 75 69