Sunshine Tour

Schwartzel eyes maiden SA Open title

2018-01-10 22:56
Charl Schwartzel (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Charl Schwartzel believes he can lead a strong South African contingent to finally secure his first South African Open.

READ: SA Open receives world ranking flagship status

The field includes South African Major winners in Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman, as well as Branden Grace, Brandon Stone, Dylan Frittelli, Dean Burmester, Haydn Porteous, George Coetzee, Thomas Aiken and Erik van Rooyen.

Stone is the only South African to have won the event in the last five years and Schwartzel feels the barren run will come to an end at the weekend due to the strength of the local challengers.

"If you take the history and the prestige of this tournament - being the second-oldest open championship in the world - it deserves the work that Ernie has put in as host to attract this field," Schwartzel told the European Tour website.

"For a South African, this is a big event. It's one of the tournaments you want to win.

"I think it's going to be a really good tournament. There's a nice bunch of good South Africans playing and I'm really looking forward to playing the South African Open again," said the 11-time European Tour winner.

In 2015, the South African was five shots clear going into the final round before an error-strewn 74 led to a play-off hole with England's Andy Sullivan - who birdied the first extra hole to win.

Schwartzel had not returned to the course since then but overcame the memories which haunted him during practice this week as the 33-year-old prepares for another tilt at a tournament he is desperate to win.

He tees off on Thursday at Glendower Golf Club alongside fellow compatriot Branden Grace and England's Chris Wood at 12:10.


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