Schwartzel a confident dark horse in England

Charl Schwartzel is confident of his preparation and form ahead of the £5,000,000 Open Championship in Sandwich after avoiding last week’s Scottish Open won by Luke Donald.

Schwartzel played his first-ever Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, and returns eight years later with a green jacket and an eye for first place in the 140th event. “It would be nice to win that Claret Jug,” Schwartzel said yesterday.

The Blair Atholl professional has spent the last three weeks in South Africa. “The (SA) courses were dry so I could really prepare for the way these (British) courses would play very, very dry,” Schwartzel said.

The Master’s winner was happy with his choice to miss the wet Scottish Open and prepare in South Africa and he went on to say “We get clear days, and with a bit of wind I figured it would be pretty good practice, which it was.”

Second in the Race to Dubai and confident of his ability, Schwartzel is not worried by odds of 50 to 1 to win: “Whether my odds are 200 to 1 or 12 to 1 it don’t make no difference to me,” said Schwartzel of his eighth attempt for the Claret Jug.

Schwartzel was the second-ever player to win a hat-trick of the Sunshine Tour’s order of merit from 2005-2007, proving he has strong consistency.

In 2010 Schwartzel finished in the top 20 at the US Open, PGA Championship and Open Championship, yet his final round score in each tournament was not his lowest and he trailed leaders who carded best performances on the final day.

He recorded his best Open Championship finish when he tied for 14th at St. Andrew’s last year with a final round of 70, but the 26-year-old has since learnt to close tournaments under pressure.

In 2011 he finished with rounds of 66 on the final day of both the Masters, which he won, and the US Open, which saw him move from one-over to four-under as he left 28th and took a share of ninth.

Watch out for Schwartzel, especially on the final day, for his 2011 season has proved him to be a master of the finish.

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