There’s no stopping Charl

2012-12-17 00:00

MALELANE — Charl Schwartzel was the runaway winner for the second time in a week as he coasted to a 12-shot victory at the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship yesterday.

The former Masters champion underlined his return to form with a 24-under-par score of 264 — the lowest tournament total at Leopard Creek Country Club — to again leave the field trailing following an 11-shot win in Thailand last weekend.

The South African cruised to his eighth career title on the European Tour with a final-round three-under 69 to win ahead of Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg on 12 under. Schwartzel also won this tournament for his first title on the Tour back in 2004.

Taking a 10-shot lead over Frenchman Gregory Bourdy into the final round, Schwartzel even stretched his lead yesterday in a repeat of his dominant showing in Thailand a week ago.

“That doesn’t happen often. Normally after a win by such a big margin, it’s hard to put up the same show the next week,” said the South African.

“It’s satisfying to continue that form and play the same sort of golf.

“I keep talking about consistency, and mine is back where I like it to be.

“I thought I started off well [yesterday] and through the first six holes I had an opportunity on every hole,” Schwartzel told reporters.

“I hit good putts that didn’t go in. Then the three-putt on eight put a stop to things and Gregory started to make some birdies. Then it got down to seven shots and that to me was as close as I wanted it to be.

“I was happy to make that birdie on nine just to pull the momentum back in my favour, because seven shots around this course is catchable.

“After the rain delay we came back and I played some nice, solid golf and put myself back in the driver’s seat.”

First-round leader Bourdy dropped to a share of third with Scott Jamieson, Garth Mulroy and Andy Sullivan on 11 under, 13 shots behind a rampant Schwartzel, who was also only three shots off Tiger Woods’s record for the biggest margin of victory on the European Tour.

Woods won the U.S. Open in 2000 by 15 shots.

The only thing that slowed Schwartzel’s march to victory on the final day was a brief weather delay.

He had little trouble closing out the win when the players returned to secure his first title on the European Tour since his victory at the Masters in 2011.

Schwartzel’s similarly commanding win at the Asian Tour’s Thailand Golf Championship was his first title on any tour since Augusta.

Schwartzel finished with a relatively subdued three-under round with four birdies and a bogey to win with scores of 67, 64, 64 and 69.

Broberg was second outright with his final-round 70 after Bourdy had a double-bogey seven on the last to slip into a tie for third with Scotland’s Jamieson, South Africa’s Mulroy and England’s Sullivan.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s Magnus Carlsson had the third hole-in-one on the par-three number 12 in three days after Keith Horne aced the short hole on Friday and again on Saturday.

Schwartzel takes over at the top of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai money list from Jamieson after the opening two events of the new season.

South Africa hosts its third straight tournament to start the tour with next month’s Volvo Golf Champions in Durban.

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