Schwartzel slumps in Malaysia

2011-04-14 11:28

Kuala Lumpur - Rory McIlroy stormed back from his US Masters heartache with "probably" his longest ever drive Thursday as Sweden's Alexander Noren lit up the Malaysian Open with a dazzling eight-under-par 64.

Live scoring: Malaysian Open

McIlroy said he was completely recovered from Sunday's agonising collapse at Augusta after hitting 69 to be five shots off Noren, whose astonishing nine birdies against one bogey gave him early control in sweltering Kuala Lumpur.

But jet-lagged US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel stumbled to one-over 73 as he came down to earth with a bump after Sunday's heroics, when he birdied the last four holes to claim a memorable victory.

Italian hotshot Matteo Manassero, 17, lay two shots back from Noren with 66 at par-72 Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, with India's Jeev Milkha Singh among three players sharing third spot on five-under 67.

British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen carded a solid 69 to be in contention and world number one Martin Kaymer closed the day on 70, as leader Noren admitted even he was taken by surprise by his birdie blitz.

"I was really nervous going into this round, I don't know why," said the Swede.

"I starting off holing a nice putt on 10, 11 and 12 and thought, 'what's going on?' My putter was great today. After that my driver was steady then it was all about getting it close enough."

McIlroy said his tee-shot on the par-five fifth went "at least" 400 yards after a kind bounce off a cart-path. It was just the boost the Northern Irishman needed after throwing away a four-shot lead on the Masters' final day.

"You don't say this too often, but I was actually too close to the green on a par five," he said of the monster drive. "It must have went at least 400 yards.

"I was lucky, it hit off the cart-path and it could have went out of bounds, but it stayed in bounds for me and it set up an easy birdie."

The 21-year-old was playing the course for the first time after his clubs went missing en route from Augusta, meaning he was unable to practise on Wednesday. But he said Sunday's meltdown was already a distant memory.

"What happened last week is completely behind me now," McIlroy said. "I think there were more people upset about that round than I was. I'm fine.

"It's one bad round. I'll live and I'm getting on with it and happy to be here and happy to shoot a decent first round."

Earlier, a sleepy Schwartzel looked a shadow of the man who dramatically claimed the fabled green jacket just four days earlier as he bogeyed the second and third en route to one-over-par 73.

"Yeah -- the fact that I didn't fall asleep," said Schwartzel, 26, when asked if he could take any positives from his round.

"I hit good putts but I didn't find the pace on these greens. The only good thing is I didn't put myself right out of it. I made two-under-par on the back nine, which is moving in the right direction."

He said there were "no excuses" despite extreme jet-lag and also losing his clubs in transit before they finally arrived late on Wednesday.

"I didn't sleep much. It's difficult, 12 hours of change. I'm just feeling like I don't know what out there," he said. "I'm really struggling to focus, my golf swing is tight. My body's not responding right now.

"It would have been nice to be here a day earlier to prepare a little bit better. But I didn't put myself completely out of it today."

Italy's Manassero revelled in the tropical conditions as he reeled off six birdies in his first nine holes -- including four in a row.

Manassero, who became the European Tour's youngest winner last year, is aiming to wrest the trophy from South Korea's Noh Seung-Yul, 19, who shot a disappointing 73.

"I holed a few nice 20-footers and was unlucky with my putts on six and seven which lipped out," said Manassero, who turns 18 next week.

Play was suspended due to lightning at around 19:00 in the $2.5-million tournament, with four groups of players still on the course.

Scores from round one of the $2.5 million Malaysian Open at par-72 Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Thursday:

Play was suspended due to lightning with six players yet to complete their rounds and later called off for the day.

64 - Alexander Noren (SWE)

66 - Matteo Manassero (ITA)

67 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Darren Beck (AUS), Stephen Gallacher (SCO)

68 - Jamie Donaldson (WAL), Siddikur (BAN), Felipe Aguilar (CHI)

69 - Marcus Fraser (AUS), Chris Rodgers (ENG), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Chawalit Plaphol (THA), Scott Barr (AUS), Daniel Gaunt (AUS), Kwanchai Tannin (THA), Rory McIlroy (NIR), James Morrison (ENG), David Drysdale (SCO), Alejandro Canizares (ESP), Brett Rumford (AUS)

70 - Liang Wenchong (CHN), Lin Wen-tang (TPE), Ben Leong (MAS), Baek Seuk-Hyun (KOR), Jason Knutzon (USA), Robert Rock (ENG), Martin Kaymer (GER), Soren Hansen (DEN), Simon Dyson (ENG), Chan Yih-shin (TPE), Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Peter Lawrie (IRL), Pablo Larrazabal (ESP), Chan Soon Tuck (MAS)


73 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Noh Seung-Yul (KOR), Thongchai Jaidee (THA)

74 - Nick Dougherty (ENG)


  • MactheKnife - 2011-04-14 12:05

    What is it with these South African sportsmen success is a once of thing. Once they reach the crest of success then downhill all the way.

      Shistirrer - 2011-04-14 12:16

      MactheKnife, please change your name, because your comment was not particularly sharp. It's painfully obvious you have never experienced jet lag before. It's like having a very bad head cold, without the sniffles. Give the man a break!

      DeonL - 2011-04-14 12:26

      I disagree, 1 over par is excellant. It would be from hero to zero if he shot the worst round.

      Adams - 2011-04-14 12:26

      Yeah 100%. Like Gary Player, only a handfull of Majors. Ernie in the top echelon for about a decade, Retief 2 US Opens , and many tour titles. Then Kallis top allrounder for a decade, top 10 batters just as long, Dale Steyn , top bowler for a couple of years. Greg Albertyn and Grant Langston multiple world motocross champions. Roeland Schoeman, Penny Heyn, Oscar Pistorius, Ryk Neethling. The list is endless , they all at the top for a long time. No one is the best forever, ask Tiger. Get your facts straight, otherwise you will look like a knob!

      christoph - 2011-04-14 12:26

      It has only been one round, bit unfair to say all the way downhill... Dumb headline, dumb intro and dumb comment

      1nawty0 - 2011-04-14 12:30

      Surely you have never reached such achievement heights, and are not aware of what this particular player has just gone through in the last 5 days. In Golf, where your state of Mind is the biggest contributing factor in shooting a low score, a simple thing like not playing with your favourite clubs, can influence your game so Drastically. To win the Masters and or a Major is the Pinnacle of ones career, therefore one should give this man a break let it all sink in, let him enjoy and plan on how to spend all the money he is going to make over the next few years,( just from appearance fees, sponsorships and endorsements) and instead of criticising him, rather buy him a Bells.

      Enigma - 2011-04-14 12:36

      Practically all major winners follow up their win with a dismal round. Even Tiger admitted that coming down from the euphoria of a major win made concentrating on the next tournament almost impossible. Don't be so hard on the guy. He has just won one of the two most saught after crowns.

      1nawty0 - 2011-04-14 12:40

      .....what would you do if you had just won R 50,000,000.00 from the Lotto (+- 10 bar actual prize money plus sponsorships, appearance fees, endorsements etc)? would you resign...? go on holiday...? well this champion is at work!

      jorg.steinhage - 2011-04-14 12:43

      Terrible comment and article. Just because Schwartzel played one average and definately not a bad round of golf by any means, does not put him anywhere near a slump. Anyone who actually watches golf other than the masters highlights package would know this. Some people just love critising. Or maybe just need to produce an article on a topic they're not too clued up on...

      Kevin - 2011-04-14 13:24

      You are about as sharp as a bowling ball "Mac the blunt knife", Charl has just won the US Masters, who cares about the Malaysian open, still Charl will get more money from this tournament than most of us earn in a year. Winning the US Masters is huge, not many people have held that title, Charl is a champ in my eyes, regardless of how he performs in 2nd rate comps. Have you ever travelled from Georgia US to Malaysia and played a round of golf soon after arriving?

      Bob - 2011-04-14 14:07

      Kevin "earn in a year" I'll be happy if I earn that in my lifetime, most comments on here spot on, the poor guy wouldn't be human if he could perform after the mental draining he has just been through, the guy is a class act.

      jake somber - 2011-04-14 15:29

      Well, there is only one way to go after that ... down. The only thing they really have control of is how fast it will happen :)

  • Bob - 2011-04-14 12:13

    Always happens after a big win, just don't do an Ian Baker Finch, poor guy couldn't hold a club again after his victory in The Open, I think Charl is made of stronger stuff, and McIroy will defo bounce back from his final round shocker.

  • Greg - 2011-04-14 12:19

    The Masters vs. the Malaysian Open, hero to zero????????????????????????????????????? I do't get it, how can the Masters champ be refered to as zero?

  • Nebkad - 2011-04-14 12:21

    Is the Malaysian Open a one round event??

      RobinHood - 2011-04-14 16:51

      Brilliant comment

  • Dr. No - 2011-04-14 12:28

    Sensationalistic cr@p from News 24. Schwartzel you are the man!!!!

  • evereadydude - 2011-04-14 12:52

    Hierdie D//s wat die artikel geskryf het , moet gaan kyk wat beteken slump, dis seker waar hy bly!!!!! geen wonder die ANC wil die media ban nie, met sulke (sogenaamde) joernaliste...................

  • Kevin - 2011-04-14 13:31

    By the way "Once they reach the crest of success then downhill all the way" duhhhh, by definition, the crest is the top and one can't go up from there. What is your biggest achievment MTBK?

      Bob - 2011-04-14 14:02

      I think it was learning to write, now he just has to learn what to say.

  • Mikea - 2011-04-14 13:57

    Give the man a Break. He has just one the most Prestigious for any Golfer. Not out of the Tournament yet anyway. Dumb Headline!!!

  • shanks - 2011-04-14 14:53

    Being the best never lasts forever, but the Masters week Charl was the Best.

  • Pete OJ - 2011-04-14 15:04

    Jet lag, 12 hours time change, no clubs, no practice - shoots 1 over and he is a zero???? The journalist has shown his ineptitute and Macthebluntknife; jeeez old clueless one!!!! Enough said! Charl is pure class; was when he turned pro at 18years old. Watch this space!

  • Hein - 2011-04-14 15:34

    This is a pathetic article. 1 over par, tied 68th in a field of 154 does not justify such an article. I think it is courageous of Charl to be there in the 1st place. I am sure that many golfers would have preferred to have taken time out after a victory such as his on Sunday. To then travel half way around the world and shoot a 73 is brilliant.

      H&P - 2011-04-14 16:12

      Cant agree more Hein, really poor reporting

      H&P - 2011-04-14 16:17

      Agree 100% Hein,

  • StBad - 2011-04-14 15:49

    I'de rather shoot 4 birdies in the last 4 holes to win the Masters than shoot under par in the opening round of the Malaysian Open!

  • StBad - 2011-04-14 15:49

    I'de rather shoot 4 birdies in the last 4 holes to win the Masters than shoot under par in the opening round of the Malaysian Open!

  • StBad - 2011-04-14 16:10

    I'de rather shoot 4 birdies in the last 4 holes to win the Masters than shoot under par in the opening round of the Malaysian Open!

  • RobinHood - 2011-04-14 16:52

    Pathetic article - but it succeeded in getting all of us upset and spitting like cobras!!!

  • RobinHood - 2011-04-14 17:02

    Definition: "a slump is a period of time when player or team is not performing well or up to expectations" One over par four days after winning a MAJOR is hardly a slump. GO Charl GO

  • Kyle Forder - 2011-04-14 23:05

    Shocking article heading! How can the masters be compared to Malaysian Open? And with all the attention he has received lately is it not fair to assume that he will have massive fatigue? Another exaggeration to get the publics attention!

  • Jorg Steinhage - 2011-04-20 12:08

    Charl finished 7 under, T11. And won 30 000 odd euro's. One shot short of world number 1 Kaymer. Here's the final leaderboard. Still a Slump in Malaysia?

  • pages:
  • 1