Schwartzel Shines With 65

Thu 06 Dec 2012

Schwartzel Shines With 65

Chonburi, Thailand, December 6: South African star Charl Schwartzel was as hot as the weather at the Thailand Golf Championship, shooting a scorching seven-under-par 65 for the early first round lead on Thursday.

The 2011 Masters champion was bogey-free and delighted with his fast start which puts him in position of erasing last year’s runner-up finish, where he was defeated by Lee Westwood of England, who tees off in the afternoon at the Amata Spring Country Club.

Highly rated Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who finished third at the Venetian Macau Open in October, led the local charge, shooting a 66 to trail clubhouse leader Schwartzel by one-shot at the US$1 million Asian Tour event.

Javi Colomo of Spain made a brave eight-foot par save on the last for a 67 to continue his impressive form on the Asian Tour where he has three top-five and sits in 29th place on the Order of Merit.

With three top-five finishes in the last three events, the slender Schwartzel continued to show glimpse of his impeccable form when he won his first Major title at the 2011 Masters.

“It definitely affects you. It is as hot as I’ve gotten on a golf course for a long time. I suppose all you can do is take a lot of liquid. There’s no escaping the heat. You just got to grind it out.

“It is nice to put yourself in position. You won’t win a golf tournament in the first round but you sure can lose it. I got no expectations. I feel that if I continue to play like how I did then I can find the result which I’m looking for. It is still early days to predict anything right now,” said Schwartzel.

He was delighted to bounce back from injuries which affected his swing earlier in the season. “I’m just playing injury free and that’s allowing me to swing the club better. When you are playing with injury, you always try to protect that injury and the consequence is a bad swing. In the last month and a half I’ve been able to get my swing back to where I want it to be. My consistency is coming back and that’s the key for me.”


With his Asian Tour card safely secured, Thitiphun eclipsed some of the more illustrious names at the Thailand Golf Championship including Bubba Watson, the reigning Masters champion, and European Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium

“I’ve got no pressure at all as I’ve already kept my Asian Tour card (he is 44th on the rankings). I’ve started working with a mental coach and it’s been helpful. He has told me to stay in the present and not get ahead of myself. I certainly didn’t expect to shoot a six under round as my goal was four or five under,” said Thitiphun, currently placed 44th on the Order of Merit.

The big-hitting Watson endured a mixed round with six birdies and one eagle against four bogeys to stay three back from Schwartzel in his debut appearance at the Thailand Golf Championship.

“It didn’t feel that good. It was a solid round but I made a few mistakes. Hit a cart path and bounced into the woods and had to take an unplayable and had a three putt on 17. Just little things like that. I finished with a birdie on the last so all in all, I guess it’s not too bad,” said Watson.

He believes his monstrous drives can guide him to a first victory in Asia. “It’s all about hitting the driver well. If I can hit my driver well and hit fairways like I did today, then make some putts. It’ll come down to putting. If I can putt halfway decent, then hopefully I’ll have a good chance on Sunday hopefully.”