11 April 2011
South Africa has produced yet another golf major winner. Charl Schwartzel played like a champion at Augusta, closing with four birdies in succession to capture a two-shot victory in the US Masters over Australia’s Jason Day and Adam Scott on Sunday.
While he finished brilliantly, he also began his round remarkably, chipping in on the number one for a birdie, and then holing out on the third hole for an eagle.
Unfortunately for Schwartzel, his eagle was immediately followed by a bogey, but that proved to be the only blemish on his scorecard on the day.
The South African’s four-round total was 14-under-par 274, made up of rounds of 69, 71, 68, and a closing six-under-par 66.
50 years to the day
Amazingly, his win came 50 years to the day after the legendary Gary Player became the first non-American to don the green jacket.
The 75-year-old Player followed the event on television and posted his congratulations to Schwartzel on Twitter: “I am absolutely delighted for Charl and South Africa. Congratulations and very well done to him. That is how you finish like a champion!”
One of the secrets to Schwartzel’s success was his putting. Addressing the media after his win, he said he had received some good advice ahead of the tournament.
“This year, Nick Price gave me a really good tip, so did David Frost,” he said. “Nicky said when he came over, he used to find that fastest putt on every green and practice that, and that’s what I did for the last three weeks.”
Smiling, Schwartzel said: “It’s a dream for me. It’s obviously the highlight of my career by a long way.
“I always thought if there was one that I would win, it would be this one. This is the sort of golf course that suits my eye. It’s the sort of course that I grew up on … I just feel really comfortable on it.”
Schwartzel showed remarkable calm on a hectic final day during which there was a five-way tie for the lead as the end neared. As Player wrote, the 26-year-old finished like a champion to take victory.
“As simple as possible under pressure works,” Schwartzel said.
Dedicated victory to his father
He dedicated his victory to his father and paid tribute to him for his influence on his game. “He’s put endless time into it. It was never an effort for him,” said Schwartzel junior.
“He taught me my golf swing. He made it very simple for me, which I believe is a fantastic recipe. When you get too technical, things can become difficult.”
After his fast start, Schwartzel had a run of 10 birdies in succession before his sensational finish. But, while the South African finished with aplomb, third-round leader Rory McIlroy imploded.
The Northern Irishman had entered the final round with a four-shot lead over four players, one of whom was Schwartzel. He covered the first nine holes in one-over-par 37, but his round nose-dived on the tenth when he triple-bogeyed.
McIlroy went on to card 43 over the inward nine for a horrific 80 and tumbled from first to a tie for fifteenth, an incredible 10 shots behind the winner.
Trevor Immelman, the 2008 champion, was one of the men tied with McIlroy in fifteenth place, on four-under-par 284 after rounds of 69, 73, 73, and 69.
Ernie Els finished 19 shots behind Schwarztel and well out of the running, on five-over 293.
Tim Clark missed the cut by a single shot, while Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen, and Rory Sabbatini also failed to make it to the third round.
Schwartzel’s victory made him South Africa’s third US Masters winner after Gary Player and Trevor Immelman, and the seventh South African to win a major, the others being Bobby Locke, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, and his very good friend Louis Oosthuizen.
- Charl Schwartzel (-14) 69, 71, 68, 66, 274
- Jason Day (-12) 72, 64, 72, 68, 276
- Adam Scott (-12) 72, 70, 67, 67, 276
- Tiger Woods (-10) 71, 66, 74, 67, 278
- Geoff Ogilvy (-10) 69, 69, 73, 67, 278
- Luke Donald (-10) 72, 68, 69, 69, 278
- Angel Cabrera (-9) 71, 70, 67, 71, 279
- Bo Van Pelt (-8) 73, 69, 68, 70, 280
- K.J. Choi (-8) 67, 70, 71, 72, 280
- Ryan Palmer (-6) 71, 72, 69, 70, 282
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