Schwartzel hunts a win at home

This week Attie Schwartzel will play at his home course, Maccauvlei Golf Club, looking for his first professional win in the R100 000 Sunshine Big Easy Tour event presented by Stonehage.

The 23-year-old slipped at the ERPM event in the series two weeks ago when he missed a birdie putt for the win on the 18th and subsequently lost the playoff to Thabang Simon.

The new tour is named after three-time major winner Ernie Els in recognition of his continued commitment to the development of the game in South Africa and is open to players who received their cards at the Sunshine Tour 2011 Qualifying School played in Bloemfontein last year, the top 30 at the Vusi Ngubeni Strokeplay played in Johannesburg in January and those who finished from 71st to 150th on the 2010 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

Schwartzel tied for 36th in the first 2011 Sunshine Big Easy Tour event, played at Crown Mines Golf Club, but subsequently found his rhythm with a second-place finish at the Irene Country Club event in April.

At the Irene event Schwartzel carded bogeys on 14 and 16, while Tyrone Ryan took control on day two, carded two-under for his back nine and won the tournament by two shots.

The Maccauvlei professional has since had some success on the Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour with a share of ninth at the Pretoria Country Club event and a tie for 17th at the Lombard Insurance Classic.

After missing the Observatory Golf Club event, Schwartzel played at Glendower on the 14th and 15th June and finished eighth with a tournament score of one-under-par.

The following week he struggled at Kempton Park Golf Club where he shot one-over-par through 36 holes and finished tied for 28th.

At ERPM Golf Club, however, a confident Schwartzel shot five-under-par in frigid and windy conditions in his first round.

On the back nine of day two the leaderboard changed regularly, but at the close Schwartzel stood on the 18th facing that age-old trial of golf nerves: a birdie putt to win. He missed.

The tournament came to a four-way playoff, but Schwartzel found trees to the right with his tee-shot, hit a branch with his second and bunkered his third, while Simon birdied for the win.

Schwartzel plays his home course this week and the extra knowledge and confidence are likely to remove the closing jitters he has struggled with this year and open the door for him to become a winner.

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