Schwartzel lays down his marker with a 65

Re­it­er­ates de­sire to win SA Open ti­tle that eludes him

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - GRANT WIN­TER

JO­HAN­NES­BURG: The front nine at Glen­dower Golf Club is in im­mac­u­late con­di­tion but it’s a for­mi­da­ble stretch of holes, with back­break­ing, back-to-back par-4s (No 4 and No 5) both mea­sur­ing over 500 yards, two treach­er­ous par3s where wa­ter is far too close for com­fort, and another brute of a par-4 at No 7.

It’s not the kind of loop where a player, no mat­ter how good, can be ex­pected to com­plete in just 29 strokes. But Kruger and Eng­land’s James Mor­ri­son are brack­eted on 135, and among a group at 136 are Ul­rich van den Berg (af­ter a splen­did 66) and James Kamte (af­ter a bo­gey-free 67), who has won at Glen­dower be­fore in the 2011 BMG Clas­sic.

“I hit a lot of qual­ity iron shots close in and con­verted them into birdies by rolling in the putts,” said Schwartzel. “The missed lit­tle putt at 10 put a stop to the good run but I can’t com­plain about a 65.

“It’s been a busy year of end­less golf and of­ten you go to a dif­fer­ent place and don’t have time to pre­pare for a tour­na­ment. But I had last week off and was able to prac­tise on my own here at home,and get nice and ready for this week. I want that SA Open ti­tle, but there’s still plenty of golf to play.”

The never-give-up 35-yearold Crespi has tried to earn a card for the Euro­pean Tour for 11 straight years, and it is only this year that he has fi­nally gained full play­ing priv­i­leges. “I’ve worked hard and even though I didn’t drive the ball well to­day, I chipped and putted amaz­ingly well.”

And on the sub­ject of chip­ping amaz­ingly well, Schwartzel did just that at the par-3 third hole where he was in the rough right of the green, un­der some wil­low tree branches, and fac­ing a dif­fi­cult shot over a bunker which he had to keep low. But he popped it for a two which he said “re­ally kicked on my round”.

The cut was de­ter­mined at two- un­der 142 which means 54-year-old David Frost missed out by one, as did rookie Bran­don Stone. The only am­a­teur to make it through to the weekend is Coun­try Club Jo­han­nes­burg’s Louis Tay­lor who is on three-un­der 143.

Another player to make the cut is Charl’s younger brother At­tie, play­ing in the event on a spon­sor’s in­vite. He shot 71 to be well-placed on 138.

GALLO IM­AGES

FO­CUSED: Charl Schwartzel lines up a putt dur­ing day two of the South African Open Cham­pi­onship at Glen­dower Golf Club in Ekurhu­leni. Schwartzel is the joint leader on 132 with Ital­ian Marco Crespi. Schwartzel’s brother, At­tie, also made the cut yes­ter­day.

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