Charl stretches out Thailand lead

Charl Schwartzel shot 68 at Amata Spring Country Club on Saturday and claimed a five-stroke lead at the Thailand Golf Championship. He finished second last year and is set to go one better come Sunday.

“I’m playing well. It’s been a good few weeks as I’m pretty much in control of my golf swing. I can’t ask for more than that. Today felt good and the majority of it was solid. I gave myself chances, hit good shots and good putts, but it wasn’t meant to be,” he said.

The 2011 Masters champion has torn up the Bangkok track this week, reaching an 18-under-par total at the 54-hole mark. He’ll tee off on Sunday with a five shot cushion over second-placed Daniel Chopra.

“It’s a game of patience and I just have to go out there to play. If it’s my time, it’s my time,” said Schwartzel, who is seeking his ninth professional victory and his first on the Asian Tour.

The 28-year-old most recently finished second at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. His form looked good, but the killer instinct, which earned him a green jacket in 2011, seemed to be missing.

It often takes players a while to mentally recover from an injury, to trust in their swing once again. With Schwartzel it seemed to be the case afterhe tore some intercostal muscles during the US Open earlier in the year.

While his body had recovered by the time he played the SA Open Championship a month ago, his confidence on the course hadn’t. Last week’s second-place finish at The Nedbank looked like the push he needed to get going once again.

It’s showing in Thailand, where Schwarztel is head and shoulders above the field. All that remains is for him to take victory and he’ll surely be right back on that horse.

“It’s unpredictable. I’ve shot two 65s and there is a low score out there. I prefer not to think about it (a winning score). I’m just going to keep playing and see if I can keep shooting a few under par tomorrow,” he said.

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