Schwartzel puzzled by change to 18th at Sun City

9th November 2018 | Sunshine Tour

Schwartzel puzzled by change to 18th at Sun City

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Schwartzel puzzled by change to 18th at Sun City

Despite making a birdie there in the first round, Charl Schwartzel is not enamoured of the changes made on the 18th hole at the Gary Player County Club for this year’s edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

The 18th has developed into an iconic finishing hole in South African golf over 36 years of the Nedbank Golf Challenge. They have changed the tee box, moved it over the cart path and made the tee shot longer, to Schwartzel’s surprise.

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s very clever,” he said after his first round at Sun City on Thursday. “I would have left it where it was. I would have taken out the fairway bunker rather. Make the guys play more aggressive. Bring the water into play. If the guy is willing enough to hit it far enough up there, give him a nine-iron in and make him make a birdie for a more exciting finish. It’s the biggest grandstands on the golf course, and you make the hole long, basically just everyone is just playing for par.”

Schwartzel was talking after finishing the first round tied second on four-under-par 68 which put him and two other players four strokes behind Sergio Garcia of Spain.

Always a thinker when he plays, Schwartzel had some other thoughts about the course. “You know, on this course, starting off here is key. I got off to a good start, made one bogey today and that was on eight. The wind turned on us so came up way short. Drove the ball really well, basically hit the ball really good. It was a good start,” he said.

“This golf course, you can never take it for granted until the 72nd hole. It really tests you every single hole, every single shot you hit. You know, you’ve got to stay committed, keep firing and if you pull off the shot it’s going to be your week,” he said.

He also thinks that the score will be better than the 11-under which Branden Grace won with last year. “You know, four four-unders is never far away on this golf course, especially the way it is with no rough now. I know last year 11-under won, but anything there, 15-, 16-under is normally very close,” he said.

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