12th May 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Charl finds tempo to get into Players’ contention
Charl Schwartzel found a sweet tempo to his swing as he fired a second-round 66 on Friday to put himself firmly in the frame for The Players’ Championship.
He made three birdies on each nine to move to 10-under for the tournament and into a share of second with Patrick Cantlay of the US and Danny Lee of New Zealand. That trio found themselves a yawning five shots behind leader Webb Simpson who fired a superb nine-under 63 to go 15-under at halfway.
“Speeding up has always been my fault on from the time I started playing the game, so if I can keep the right tempo going, I’m going to keep hitting good shots,” said Schwartzel.
It’s something he has been working on for some time, and it’s something that good friend Louis Oosthuizen – who missed the cut after a second-round 71 was not enough to see him into the weekend with his opening 78 – pointed out to him a couple of weeks ago.
“That helped for sure,” said Schwartzel. “He’s got great rhythm. But the guy that I always used to look at was Ernie. Ernie sort of used to be my guy that I feed off him, so every now and again I would still look at some videos on YouTube or something.”
Schwartzel employed Justin Parsons to coach him last year, and now that he has ironed out some swing issues, the tempo needed to get back to what it used to be. “The last two years, maybe even two and a half years, have been pretty frustrating,” he said. “But that’s attributed to bad positions in the golf swing, and that’s made the game very difficult for me. I employed a coach pretty much for the first time in my life. My dad used to always look after me, and it’s just – I just didn’t see him enough so I employed a coach in November, and it’s really worked out well so far.
“I was getting the club way behind, long and across the line, and it was just very difficult to redirect it on line. So we have basically taken it back to where it was in 2011, 2010, when I was playing well. So it’s pretty much where it was, so it’s not a new golf swing, it’s just got lost along the way somewhere.
“I felt it being good for probably the last two months but been having terrible results. The one key factor has been to bring the same tempo out to the golf course as I do when I’m playing practice rounds, because I’ve been – I worked really hard in the off season on my swing and I’m very happy with where it is. It’s in really good positions, and so the hard part has been done, I just need to control my tempo and things like that which makes the game easier than trying to think of positions.”
Behind Schwartzel, Rory Sabbatini fired a second-round 71 to add to his opening 67. He was in 17th at the halfway mark. Branden Grace also carded a 71 to be in 34th, while Tyrone van Aswegen made the cut after a second-round 68.
Schwartzel was looking forward to the weekend as the predicted weather promised to make scoring tougher. “The course is just going to get harder,” he said. “The weather report looked like it’s not going to rain tomorrow and probably not Sunday either. If that’s the case, then this golf course over the weekend will turn into a beast.”