Charl Schwartzel got off to a flyer at the BMW Championship on Thursday, reaching four-under-par after six holes. The wind picked up in the middle of the round, but the 29-year-old negotiated the change and shared third on five-under-par at the close of day one.
“I just got off to a nice start, which always sort of helps get your round going. And that's when the conditions got tough. It was difficult to get the ball close, but at that stage I already got it to four-under-par,” he said.
Conway Farms Golf Club is unchartered territory for the PGA Tour, which puts all of the players on equal footing in their preparation for this week. Schwartzel found it a fair challenge and said: “It's good. It's right in front of you. It tests every part of your game.”
Reigning FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker started on the 10th and romped through the back nine, making seven consecutive birdies starting at the 13th and ending at the first. He led the day by three after equalling his season-best 63.
“You get on runs like that, you get excited for the next hole because you know something good is going to happen because you're in such a good frame of mind and everything is going in the right direction,” Snedeker said.
Schwwartzel headed to Conway Farms Golf Club on the back of a tied 25th at The Barclays and tied 22nd at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He’s been racking up top 25 results all season, playing well but not displaying the spark that won him the 2011 Masters.
Ranked 29th in FedExCup points, the Vereeniging local needs a solid result to remain within the top 30 and proceed to the Tour Championship.
“I've been playing well for the last couple months, just not having the results… I just figured that if I keep going and just give it my best, it should be good enough to at least have a shot at it next week,” he said.
The South African has started well, and a 2012 ranking of sixth in the world is enough evidence to prove that he can go all the way. The rest of the week beckons for Schwartzel, who must keep pace with the world's best.