PGA Tour

Schwartzel hoping to defend Valspar title

2017-03-08 16:59
Charl Schwartzel (Getty Images)

Cape Town - South African golfer Charl Schwartzel will be looking to regain form and defend his Valspar Championship title this week.

Schwartzel, 32, captured the PGA Tour tournament last year after defeating American Bill Haas in a playoff hole.

This became the South African's second PGA Tour title after securing the Masters in August at Augusta National Golf Club in 2011.

Despite those two wins, Schwartzel hasn't impressed on the PGA Tour, as he has done on the European Tour - being an 11-time winner.

He recovered from a knee injury, which kept him out of the game for more than a month.

He started his season with a shaky start after finishing tied 95th in the Maybank Championship in Malaysia, but a tied-38 finish at the World Golf Championship in Mexico could see the major champion closer to his peak.

Schwartzel is determined to defend his title at Innisbrook Golf Resort and looks to build on that confidence towards the upcoming Masters in April.

"Winning (at Augusta National) back in 2011, the biggest tournament in our sport, you know, your expectations go up," said Schwartzel, as quoted by the Albany Herald website.

"I figured that I would win a few (more) times the way I played.

"It just never came, and then I went through a bad thing where my swing was a bit off, and I lost a lot of confidence and, you know, you start thinking, 'Am I actually going to win out here again.'

"I had a few wins outside of America on the European Tour, so I knew it was good enough. I feed a lot off my wins. Doesn’t matter where I win in the world.

"It always comes down to those last few holes and the special putts and special shots, and if you can deal with it, you can deal with anything. It's what you make of it."

Nine of the top 30 players in the FedExCup standings are in Tampa this week, including the current leader American Justin Thomas.

Schwartzel tees up along with Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson on Thursday (14:56 SA time).


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