‘Best golf of his life’ gives Charl big win in Joburg Open

2010-01-18 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — For just a moment on the third hole, Charl Schwartzel looked vulnerable before he pulled away for a runaway six-stroke victory in the €1,3-million Joburg Open, played on the par-71 Royal Johannesburg and Kensington East course.

“This week has been probably the best golf I have ever played,” said Schwartzel. “You don’t go round courses like these and only make three bogeys in the week without playing well.”

Schwartzel made a bogey on the 434-metre (475-yard) par-four hole after he had been seen sitting nervously in the players’ lounge ahead of his final round, despite his overnight four-stroke lead over Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke.

“It’s not easy leading by four shots,” said Schwartzel. “Your mind can start playing games, and while you feel if you can just carry on playing the way you have been, you should win it, you still actually have to do it.”

He settled his nerves quickly with two solid pars after that, and, when he birdied the 530-metre (580-yard) par-five sixth, the well-oiled Schwartzel machine was back on track.

He made another birdie on eight to turn at one-under for his round, and then birdies at 10 and 14 took him clear of the field as he coasted home for his second victory since his win at the Africa Open two weeks ago. He wasn’t done either, and he underlined his do­minance with a pair of birdies to finish on 17 and 18 — the one on 18 came despite a nervy eagle putt, which stopped three feet from the hole to leave him a bit of a tester for his moment of triumph.

SCORES (RSA UNLESS SPECIFIED):

261 - Charl Schwartzel 63 68 64 66

267 - Keith Horne 68 65 70 64, Darren Clarke (NIR) 63 69 67 68

270 - Danny Willett (ENG) 65 67 70 68, James Kamte 67 66 69 68

272 - Peter Whiteford(SCO) 66 69 70 67, Joost Luiten (NED) 66 69 69 68, Soren Hansen (DEN) 66 70 68 68, Hennie Otto 67 66 69 70

273 - Josh Cunliffe 68 70 67 68, John Parry (ENG) 66 67 71 69

Selected:

275 - Tjaart van der Walt 67 70 67 71, Neil Schietekat 62 72 69 72.

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