Schwartzel shines to share lead in South Africa
Updated: Friday, 14 Dec 2012 17:05
South African Charl Schwartzel could claim to be the consistent player in golf right now.
The 28-year-old shares the halfway lead with France's Gregory Bourdy after a sparkling second round 64 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship on home soil at Leopard Creek.
After finishes of fifth, third and second in the past month Schwartzel won the Thailand Championship by 11 shots last Sunday against a field that included Bubba Watson, his successor as Masters champion this April, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.
He was 25 under par there and is now already 13 under on a course where his record includes one win and four second places.
Peter Lawrie is best of the Irish on three under following a 71, with Damien McGrane 10 over, while Michael Hoey retired early.
"It was there for the taking and luckily enough I took advantage early on," Schwartzel said after grabbing an eagle and six birdies and keeping a bogey off his card for the second day running.
"I could have made a few more, but we can't get too greedy. All in all a very good round and I've put myself in a very good position."
Schwartzel is 73 under for his last 4 1/2 tournaments and even after adding a 65 to his pacesetting opening 66 Bourdy did not under-estimate the size of the task facing him over the weekend.
"Charl is a great player, one of the best in the world," the 30-year-old world number 184 said. "You have to do the job over four rounds and that is difficult.
"But I'm feeling great and I've played two good rounds."
After being overtaken when Schwartzel played his first 11 holes in seven under, making his eagle at the 541-yard 18th, three-time European Tour winner Bourdy pitched in for an eagle two on the sixth and converted curling 25-foot birdie putts at the fifth and eighth.
Darren Fichardt's 68 left him in third place four strokes adrift of the leading pair, with fellow South African Louis De Jager and England's Steve Webster one further back.
Webster lost a play-off for the rain-shortened Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban last weekend and the player who beat him there, Scotland's Scott Jamieson, is also going well again at six under.
World number one Louis Oosthuizen climbed from one over to five under, but the 2010 Open champion went in the lake at the last for a bogey six and 67.
One of the sub-plots of the week is George Coetzee's bid to stay in the world's top 50 and so earn a US Masters debut next April.
Coetzee will resume three under, but Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, one of the players who could have denied him, crashed out on 10 over after an 80.