The first round of the ISPS Handa Perth International was full of surprises: two players matched the course record at Lake Karrinyup Country Club and the projected cut lay at one-under-par. Not surprising was Charl Schwartzel’s opening round of 68, which confirmed his intent to contend.
“I played pretty solid the whole day, but the par fives cost me. I wanted a better result than my last one back here in 2012. I missed the cut even though I was playing well, so hopefully this year things will go my way and I can have a chance this weekend,” he said.
The 2011 Masters champion was slow out of the blocks, but he got better and better as the day went on and eventually drained a 30-foot putt from the fringe at the 18th to secure a four-under-par 68.
“I didn’t look like it would turn out to be a good day, but I made a great save on seven for par and then I made some huge putts and it turned the whole thing around,” he said.
Schwartzel took driver plenty of times during the first round, but he was accurate off the tee and that allowed him to score when the flat stick got hot.
“I drove it well all day and if you keep doing that then you’ll have a lot of opportunities. If you can make a few putts on top of that then you’ll make a good score,” he said.
Some overnight rain made the course soft enough for the top contenders to attack it. Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and local hero John Wade shared the lead and the course record after both players went round in 64.
Four shots adrift and looking solid after the first round was Schwartzel, who’s ready to give Lake Karrinyup a real go.
“The course is in great shape and has a bit of everything, so with a bit of wind it’s a really nice challenge. I know we had some rain last night and I saw it was a little wet, but I think the course drains really well,” he said.