The scores were out there in the final round of the Open Championship, and few would have been happier to see that than Charl Schwartzel (@CA_Schwartzel) who took advantage of conditions to card a closing five-under-par 67.
That was enough to give him his best finish in the Open Championship, his share of seventh surpassing his share of 14th behind his good friend Louis Oosthuizen’s win in 2010 at St Andrews.
“I think that’s the first time this year I’ve played a round without a bogey,” said Schwartzel as he reflected on his first top-10 in the world’s oldest tournament. “That’s the most exciting part to me.”
He made just one birdie in the opening nine, too, with the majority of his scoring coming in the closing stretch as he picked up a birdie on the 10th, and then three in the final four holes as he picked up shots on the 15th, 16th and 18th to get inside the top 10 and into double figures under par at 11-under for the championship.
It was a good week for Schwartzel as he didn’t go over par in any of his four rounds, and a pair of 67s – in the second and in the final rounds – were instrumental in putting him in the frame in a major once more.
But for a player who is almost obsessive about keeping bogeys off his card, he was frustrated by a pair of double-bogeys – on the sixth in his opening round of one-under-71 in the first round, and on the 14th in his second round of 67. Those four strokes could have seen him finish at 15-under-par instead of 11-under, in a share of second instead of seventh.
And take just three of the seven other bogeys he made in his first three rounds, and he could actually have won.
So the 2012 Masters winner goes into the next stretch with a confidence injection for the remainder of the year. “I’m playing the next three weeks in Canada, Akron and the PGA Championship,” he said. “So I just need to keep trying to find where I become more and more comfortable.
“My game is nice and solid. I putted well, and most aspects of my game are good,” he added.