Joburg Open: Schwartzel tames East

2011-01-15 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Charl Schwartzel had some swing advice ahead of the Joburg Open and it paid off in the second-round as he scorched to 10-under-par 61 and a share of the second round lead.

The second round of the €1,3-million event, co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, was halted at 6.50 pm as light faded after two-and-three-quarters of an hour was lost to rain in the morning.

Schwartzel shared the lead with England’s Jamie Elson, who carded seven-under-par 64 on the East Course, and with Garth Mulroy, who matched Elson’s score on the East Course. Play is scheduled for a round over each East and West courses of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington ahead of the cut to 65 players and ties, before the final two rounds are contested over the more difficult East Course.

Schwartzel, the defending champion in the event, felt that his swing hadn’t been good for quite a while, and matters came to a head the day before the tournament.

“I phoned Hendrik Buhrmann up on Wednesday afternoon after nine holes,” he said. Buhrmann, a Sunshine Tour veteran, who won eight times on the Sunshine Tour and also the 2006 Aamby Valley Asian Masters on the Asian Tour, has been coaching players with increasing success. His advice took a while to bed down as Schwartzel ground his way to a three-under in his opening round on the East Course, but its effects were obvious as he tore around the East with 10 birdies in what would have been a course record had there not been placing.

“It was a fantastic round today,” said Schwartzel. “It really fell into place and I hit some great tee shots and iron shots, and I used just about every opportunity I had on the greens.”

As good as Schwartzel’s round was, Elson and Mulroy showed that the East Course could be tamed.

Elson had a flawless round with seven birdies after his opener of six-under on the West Course. “I was keen to have a good day after yesterday,” he said, “and I got off to a decent start.” His decent start consisted of pars for the opening four holes, and he followed that with five consecutive birdies to the turn.

SCORES (RSA UNLESS SPECIFIED):

-13 — Jamie Elson (ENG) 65 64, Garth Mulroy 65 64, Charl Schwartzel 68 61

-12 — Thomas Aiken 64 66, James Kingston 68 62, Tyrone Mordt 62 68

-11 — Martin Maritz 62 69, Branden Grace 63 68

-10 — Allan Versfeld 66 66, David Drysdale (SCO) 67 65

 

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