10 December 2012
South African golfer Charl Schwartzel’s last title victory had been in the 2011 US Masters. When he broke that drought on Sunday, he did so in style, winning the Thailand Golf Championship by a massive 11-shot margin over a classy field.
Schwartzel had finished second to Lee Westwood by seven shots in the same event in 2011, but there was no holding him back this time around as he carded three rounds of seven-under-par 65 to go with a 68 in the third round for a tournament record total of 25-under-par 263 on the Amata Spring Country Club course.
It was his first win on the Asian Tour. Apart from the Masters, which counts as both a PGA and European Tour win, Schwartzel has six other European Tour titles and five Sunshine Tour victories to his name.
‘I played pretty flawless golf’
Throughout the 72 holes of the event, he dropped only one shot and led from wire to wire. “Making one bogey the whole week pretty much sums up how I played. I played pretty flawless golf,” he told the media after securing victory.
“I hit some great shots out there and never got myself in any trouble. It’s nice to keep some bogeys off the card, which has been my Achilles heel for a while.
“I got off to a nice start and just kept it going. I felt good out and obviously the course suits my eye. It’s nice to play some good golf out there.”
Looking back on the time since his last win at Augusta, Schwartzel said: “It’s always hard when you’ve won such a big tournament (and don’t win again). You go on a high and you feel that you can win all the ones that you play in. I came close a few times.
‘A difficult year’
“Winning is not as easy as everyone makes it out to be. You know, it’s been quite hard work and it’s been a difficult year especially in the middle [when I was injured].
“It’s nice to put things in place and get the win that I’ve been looking for for a while.”
Current Masters’ champion Bubba Watson shared second with 20-year-old Thai golfer Thitiphun Chuayprakong on 14-under-par 274 after closing with a seven-under 65.
‘A lot of mistakes’
“I didn’t have my best stuff on Friday and Saturday and made a lot of mistakes,” Watson said of his middle rounds of 70 and 71.
“Schwartzel played pretty good and my best stuff probably wouldn’t be as good,” he admitted. “It would have given me a chance to scare him, but I didn’t have my best in the previous two days.”
Spain’s Sergio Garcia was alone in fourth, 13 shots off the pace, on 12-under-par 276.
- 263 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) (-25) 65, 65, 68, 65
- 274 Bubba Watson (USA) (-14) 68, 70, 71, 65
- 274 Thitiphun Chuayprakong (Tha) (-14) 66, 67, 71, 70
- 276 Sergio Garcia (Esp) (-12) 69, 69, 68, 70
- 277 Hyun-bin Park (Kor) (-11) 68, 74, 67, 68
- 278 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) (-10) 68, 71, 72, 67
- 278 Prom Meesawat (Tha) (-10) 69, 72, 70, 67
- 278 Simon Dyson (Eng) (-10) 72, 71, 67, 68
- 278 Scott Hend (Aus) (-10) 70, 68, 69, 71
- 278 Daniel Chopra (Swe) (-10) 67, 67, 69, 75
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