Vereeniging’s finest golfer started on the back nine, where he birdied the 10th and then made eight successive pars. He set a different course on the front nine in Ohio and birdied four in a row, effectively putting his hand up for the week with a 31-stroke second loop.
“I don't think it was really something strategically that clicked, I just started getting a good feel in my hands and some good timing came back. The game, at the end of the day, is about feel and if you start feeling better, you start playing better,” he said.
The 2011 Masters champ made the clubhouse in five-under-par 65 for a share of second alongside Ryan Moore and Justin Rose, one shot behind Leishman.
The last few weeks have been a welcome return to form for Schwartzel, who finished tied for seventh at The Open Championship a fortnight ago.
“I have been playing fairly decent. I had a good British Open. I felt like I actually played pretty good in Canada, just basically the putter went cold on me for three days there. The game’s been feeling good. So to answer your question, maybe the momentum is starting to roll in that direction, yeah,” he said.
Branden Grace carded 69 for the first round to take up a share of 14th, one shot behind a group including Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia.