Charl Schwartzel carded a five-under-par 66 on Friday in the second round of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon Golf Club, and he credited a bit of advice he received from 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen for the six-stroke improvement from the first round.
“The suggestion from Louis helped me a lot today,” said Schwartzel. “I played with him a few times and he kept saying to me, ‘Hit it softer, hit it softer. You’re hitting it too hard.’ Today was probably the best I’ve played in these sorts of conditions. I kept my tempo at the right pace and I was able to control the ball flight and the distance well.”
A quick look at his statistics confirms that he got it right. In round one, he averaged 301 yards off the tee, and only 280 in the second. He hit 57 percent of the fairways in round one, and 71 percent in the second. He hit fewer greens in regulation in the second round, but his count of 24 putts was six fewer than in the first.
He got off to a fast start, making five birdies in his first seven holes, but then the 10th and the 12th tripped him up a little on the homeward nine, errors for which he atoned with consecutive birdies on 13 and 15.
“It was hard,” he said. “This morning was cold. The wind wasn’t that strong, but it still affected the ball a lot. On the first hole, I had 142 yards for my second and I hit seven-iron. A seven-iron is a 190-yard club for me, so that’s a 50-yard differential that I took into account.
“All the way out, I was factoring those things in. And then, coming back, the rain was a challenge. In America, you’re pulled off the course if it starts raining – here, you play,” he laughed.
His round left him six shots behind Phil Mickelson who carded a two-under 69 to be 10-under at the halfway mark.