Rested Schwartzel hungry for another Joburg Open win

After a six-week break, Charl Schwartzel is itching to return to competition at one of his favourite venues in this week’s Joburg Open at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

Schwartzel ended 2012 in spectacular fashion when he won the Thailand Golf Championship by 11 strokes and then the Alfred Dunhill Championship by 12 strokes in successive weeks.

He took the longest break of his professional career, and has returned hungry to add to his Joburg Open titles in 2010 and 2011.

“It’s been one of the longest breaks I’ve ever taken – six weeks. I did some practice and didn’t miss that part of it. But I did miss the competitiveness of it. I’ve watched the guys playing and I miss being in contention, so I’m looking forward to getting back and competing again.”

At the end of last year, Schwartzel spoke at length about his desire to regain the consistency which has always been the hallmark of his game, but which left him during an injury-plagued 2012.

“My body feels a little fresher after the break. I was quite fatigued at the end of last year. If I can just play consistent golf – whatever the result may be – I just want to start off in a nice consistent way. I want to start off on a good base and build from there.”

Returning to a venue that has been so good to him over the years will make him an obvious threat in a field that features a strong contingent of young South Africans in defending champion Branden Grace, 2008 winner Richard Sterne, and George Coetzee.

“I’ve obviously got very good memories of this place, going back to my junior golf days. It’s a highlight of the year for me to come back and play the Joburg Open. These are the courses we played growing up. It suits my eye and my game. I’ve had a few practice rounds here and had the chance to do some really good preparing for this week.”

Schwartzel is also not too concerned about the fact that most of his fellow professionals are already in the tournament swing after an early start to the year while he was still taking a break.

“Now it’s my time to start,” he said. “If I can continue from where I left off, that will be great.”

Article: Michael Vlismas

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