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Golf | SA

Schwartzel leaves the field reeling



Perhaps it was some confusion around the time difference on his trip from Thailand to Leopard Creek, but Charl Schwartzel seemed determined to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship a day too early on Saturday.

In a display as dominant as his 11-stroke victory last week, Schwartzel signed for a second successive 64 and stormed into a 10-shot lead on 21 under par in the third round of this event.

He started the round tied for the lead with Frenchman Gregory Bourdy. Then the young South African climbed into a world of his own.

Schwartzel made five birdies in his first eight holes to set the tone for an incredible day of scoring. He also ran off four successive birdies from the 12th, and birdied the last.

He did make a bogey on nine, and showed something close to mortality on the par-three 16th when, undecided as to what club to go with into a tricky wind, he backed off the tee shot a few times before hitting in the water short of the green.

But these were mere blips during what seemed like a practice round for Schwartzel.

“I’m thinking well out there,” Schwartzel said. “I’m not hitting my driver well, but my irons are good. I’m placing the ball in the right spots and converting putts. I’m not flushing it, but I’m still scoring, and you can still win tournaments that way.”

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Bourdy was left feeling shell-shocked. He turned two under for his round and was doing his best to focus on his own game alongside a man playing some of the finest golf of his career.

But it was almost as if Schwartzel’s dominant play finally broke his playing partner’s spirit on the back nine.

Bourdy bogeyed three of his first five holes after the turn. The Frenchman bogeyed the 18th as well to finish the day on 11 under with a 74.

It was a day for the spectacular. Keith Horne claimed his second hole-in-one in successive days, acing the par-three 12th again and using the same club – an eight iron.

He was cursing his luck for not being able to do so during the final round, when a luxury BMW is on offer.

But after discussions between Alfred Dunhill and BMW, Horne was presented with a new BMW Active 5 Hybrid.

“Unbelievable. It was the same club, but the wind was different, so I had to hit a full eight iron this time. It was in all the way – never looked like missing. Went in a bit faster this time, so I didn’t get to admire it as much as yesterday, but it really got the adrenaline going much more,” he said.

“I’m really chuffed. It was very kind of them to recognise that two holes-in-one were worthy of giving me the car. I wasn’t expecting it, so I’m over the moon. This was an unbelievable Christmas present and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful car.”

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