Schwartzel lays down his marker with a 65
Reiterates desire to win SA Open title that eludes him
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.
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.