Schwartzel eyes another victory

2010-01-16 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Charl Schwartzel heads into the weekend of the Joburg Open hunting back-to-back victories as he chases down the one-stroke lead of England’s David Lynn at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

Lynn heads the field on 12 under par, with Schwartzel on 11 under following a day on the difficult East Course where he did exactly what he needed in terms of keeping his challenge on track.

The South African followed his opening 63 with a solid 68 in another lightning-interrupted round yesterday, placing him well within reach of a second victory after his triumph in last week’s Africa Open.

“After that 63, all those birdies I made, you expect to keep things going like that,” Schwartzel said of his first round on the West Course.

“But the East Course is definitely the more daunting one. You need to hit a lot of good iron shots to give yourself birdies opportunities. I didn’t make a whole bunch of birdies, but I didn’t make any bogeys. So three under was a very steady round.

“It seems like the form from last week is carrying over, and playing like I’m playing, the weekend could get interesting.”

It was Schwartzel’s ability to limit his mistakes that made his performance so impressive.

With two stoppages for lightning, the last of which forced the second round to be carried over to today when 29 golfers will resume play, Schwartzel did well not to make any bogeys and keep his focus.

During his round he lost some rhythm in his swing, and was forced to switch to a three wood off the tee.

“I started to hit a couple of fairways and sort of found it again, and kept it going. That’s what you need. If you can eliminate the mistakes you’re always going to be playing pretty good golf.”

He did the same with his putter, holing crucial putts to keep his round going, most notably on the par-three 12th.

“I didn’t hit a good chip there and left myself a 12-footer. It was important to make. Putts like that keep you in a tournament. You need to make those 10 and 12-footers to keep you in a tournament.”

It’s Schwartzel’s keen understanding of the values of course management that will make him very hard to beat over the next two rounds, which will be played solely on the East Course.

But in Lynn he faces another very solid campaigner, who since 2000 has not finished worse than 89th on the European Tour money list.

And the Englishman has surprised himself with his performance this week, which comes after he was forced to take a lengthy break from the game last year because of tendonitis in his left wrist.

“It’s still there and I’ve got pain when I hit shots. I can hit some shots and not feel anything, and then with another one there’s quit a lot of pain. They’ve just told me I might have to grin and bear it.”

Darren Clarke, Jbe Kruger, Hendrik Buhrmann and Danny Willett go into the weekend well placed on 10 under par.

LEADING SECOND-ROUND SCORES

(RSA unless stated)

130 - David Lynn (ENG) 63 67

131 - Charl Schwartzel 63 68

132 - Danny Willett (ENG) 65 67, Jbe’ Kruger 63 69, Hendrik Buhrmann 68 64, Darren Clarke (NIR) 63 69

133 - James Kamte 67 66, Keith Horne 68 65, Hennie Otto 67 66

134 - Oliver Bekker 70 64, Neil Schietekat 62 72, Paul Broadhurst (ENG) 66 68, Andrew McLardy 67 67

135 - Darren Fichardt 67 68, Jaco Van Zyl 71 64, Joost Luiten (NED) 66 69, Peter Whiteford(SCO) 66 69, Kevin Stone 72 63, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 66 69, Deane Pappas 67 68, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 66 69, Simon Thornton (IRL) 70 65, John Parry (ENG) 66 (-2) [15], Andrew Curlewis 68 (-4) [15].

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