Charl Schwartzel closed the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament with a classy string of five birdies to take a share of fourth at the $7-million event at Sheshan International Golf Club on Sunday.
The Masters champion secured a solid cheque after carding 65 for the final round and closing the event at 15-under-par, five strokes behind winner Martin Kaymer.
Schwartzel found his stride with a birdie at the 14th, and went on to birdie every hole until his round finished, making it five-under through his final five.
“I sank that putt on 17 and I thought, OK, that’s four, let’s see if we can make it five,” said Schwartzel.
Last year Schwartzel finished tied 16th at Sheshan and will be pleased his improved result, which also earns him a considerable amount of world ranking points.
I’m delighted. It just shows me that I did play well this week. You know you grind out there for so long, and that’s what it’s been for the last couple of days, so I’m very happy,” said Schwartzel.
He signed for 65, but Kaymer shot the best round of the day, matching the course record of 63 and racing to an untouchable 20-under.
“It was an OK year,” Kaymer said. “But now it’s a good year.”
Birdies at the seventh and eighth proved to be the spark Kaymer needed Â he took off at the turn and went round the back stretch in 29 strokes to close the day with nine birdies and no drops.
Schwartzel started the day tied for 15th after building up to the final day with rounds of 70, 69, 69.
His 11-spot move up the leaderboard saw him finish one stroke clear of Louis Oosthuizen, who was an overnight contender for the win.
Oosthuizen began the day at 14-under-par, two strokes shy of third-round leader Fredrik Jacobson, but the 2010 Open Champion had a terrible day with the putter and failed to take ample birdie opportunities.
He was the only player in the top 10 to card level for the final round and by the end of the day had dropped from second to tied seventh.
Schwartzel and Louis played solid golf, and with the Omega Mission Hills Golf World Cup around the corner, looked to make a great team come late November.
Further afield, Asian Tour member Jbe Kruger may have finished tied 29th, but for the 25-year-old the result really was proof that he can contend at the highest level.
Kruger struggled to close well, carding two-over and finishing the event at six-under-par, one stroke clear of Rory Sabbatini, who took a share of 29th.
The Masters Champion closed with class and showed fellow contenders that they must watch their backs during the final round or risk being overtaken.