Wednesday 17 January 2018

Schwartzel hungry to ease Open frustration

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel could not be in a better place as he looks to forget the one that got away by defending his Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.

Schwartzel looked set to win the South African Open last week when he held a three-shot lead early in the final round, but he dumped his tee shot on the sixth into water short of the green to run up a triple-bogey six.

The South African also took a double bogey on the 10th as his hopes of winning his home Open for the first time evaporated. The world No 21 has the opportunity to make amends at one of his favourite venues this week, having won his first European Tour title at Leopard Creek in 2005 and triumphing by 12 shots last year, just a week after winning the Thailand Open by 11 strokes.

"I have great memories from last year, I played probably some of the best golf I have ever played in my life," Schwartzel said.

"What happened last week, if I had to analyse it, I thought I played well for 70 holes of that tournament. I hit one bad shot on the sixth and made a triple-bogey and then hit a big piece of steel that was under the ground on the 10th hole and that led to a double bogey.

"If it wasn't for those two holes, I don't want to say I would have won, but I would have had a very good chance of winning.

"I played good enough golf to have won that tournament and if I can bring that over to this week, there is no reason why I can't repeat it."

Morten Madsen was the major beneficiary of Schwartzel's collapse last week -- and that of another South African Hennie Otto -- the Dane claiming his first European Tour title by two shots.

ALFRED DUNHILL CHAMPIONSHIP,

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Irish Independent

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