Schwartzel still not sat­is­fied

De­spite shar­ing the half­way lead, lo­cal hero Charl is ‘un­com­fort­able’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

WHILE ac­knowl­edg­ing play­ing as well as he did last year and win­ning the Al­fred Dun­hill Cham­pi­onship by 12 strokes is dif­fi­cult to re­peat, Charl Schwartzel was yes­ter­day still not en­tirely sat­is­fied with his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive round of 68 at Leop­ard Creek in this year’s tour­na­ment.

His eight- un­der- par to­tal gave him a share of the half­way lead with Dane Morten Orum Mad­sen, who bat­tled round the course for his one­un­der-par 71, while Ross Fisher of Eng­land and another Dane, Soren Hansen, shared third on seven-un­der-par.

“Last year was quite a high stan­dard,” said Schwartzel. “But the course is play­ing more dif­fi­cult, and there were some pin po­si­tions that were re­ally iffy. I thought 13 and 14 in par­tic­u­lar.

“The pins are al­ways around those ar­eas, but this time they’ve just gone a lit­tle bit too close to the limit. Two or three feet away from the slope would have been a very dif­fi­cult flag, but very fair.”

An in­di­ca­tion of how tough some of the hole lo­ca­tions were came on the par-three 12th, where he putted 180 de­grees away from the hole that was in front of him down the slope, let the ball catch the fringe and roll back down a ridge to­wards the hole – and he al­most holed that for birdie!

“That was just from ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “I’ve seen that it is pos­si­ble if you hit it al­most back­wards and up the hill to the fringe. There’s a slope right by the hole that it catches and comes back. A lit­tle bit of ex­pe­ri­ence helps now and again.

“You could say I pushed it a bit right,” he laughed.

Schwartzel man­aged his round with­out drop­ping a shot, and it was that which gave him the share of the lead.

“I was un­com­fort­able out there. To­wards the end I hit the ball a bit bet­ter, but in the be­gin­ning I wasn’t very com­fort­able with the whole thing.

“You just adapt and hit slightly dif­fer­ent lines. They’re not nec­es­sar­ily go­ing to give you birdies, but they also keep the bo­geys off the card.

“If I can feel a bit more com­fort­able then I’ll hit more ag­gres­sive lines and might make a few more birdies.”

Two play­ers who made plenty of birdies were Fisher and Hansen. Fisher went round in the morn­ing for his sev­e­nun­der-par 65, while Hansen’s iden­ti­cal score came in the af­ter­noon. Hansen, who was out for 13 months with in­jury, rev­elled in his first visit to Leop­ard Creek and made eight birdies and a bo­gey.

Be­hind that pair were Ty­rone van Aswe­gen and Richard Finch on six-un­der, while young Michael Hol­lick found him­self in a share of sev­enth with Ro­main Wat­tel and Vic­tor Riu of France, Si­h­wan Kim of Korea and English­man Danny Wil­lett.

With Schwartzel’s love for the course, and his in­ti­mate knowl­edge of it, their task in chas­ing him down will be tough. “It’s just one of those cour­ses where the tar­gets I look at are all in the right places,” he said, “and also, I’ve got com­fort­able on th­ese greens.” – Sun­shine Tour

GETTY IM­AGES

DE­FENDER: Charl Schwartzel tees off on the 11th hole dur­ing the sec­ond round at the Leop­ard Creek Coun­try Club yes­ter­day. Schwartzel – who won last year – shares the lead with Den­mark’s Morten Orum Mad­sen.

GETTY IM­AGES

AGONY: Adam Scott of Aus­tralia re­acts af­ter miss­ing a putt dur­ing day two of the Aus­tralian Open at Royal Syd­ney Golf Club yes­ter­day.

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