Schwartzel races out to 10-shot lead after third round at Alfred Dunhill

Charl Schwartzel at the Alfred Dunhill Championship
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Charl Schwartzel had five birdies in the opening eight holes of the third round at the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Saturday to card his second straight 64.
By
PGA.com news services

Series: European Tour

Published: Saturday, December 15, 2012 | 12:53 p.m.

MALELANE, South Africa -- Charl Schwartzel shot an 8-under 64 Saturday to take a 10-stroke lead after three rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Championship and move to the brink of back-to-back titles. The event is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and southern Africa’s Sunshine Tour.

The 2011 Masters champion repeated the dazzling form that won him the Thailand Golf Championship by 11 shots last week. He birdied five of his first eight holes and then had four birdies in a row from No. 12 to sit at 21 under.

ALFRED DUNHILL CHAMPIONSHIP

The Alfred Dunhill Championship host venue Leopard Creek Country Club is right next door to South Africa's famous Kruger National Park.

"We all want to win golf tournaments, but I can't be thinking about wanting to win because that's not how I'm actually going to win," said Schwartzel. "I have to just stay right where I am and plod along. If I play the best, I'll win -- that's the way I see it."

Gregory Bourdy was alone in second at 11 under.

Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg, South Africa's Branden Grace and England's Steve Webster were 11 shots off the lead in a tie for third at 10 under.

But if the week is belonging to Schwartzel, then the 192-yard 12th hole at Leopard Creek is compatriot Keith Horne's property. Incredibly, he made a hole-in-one for the second day running. By repeating the feat, Horne won himself a car, but Schwartzel was the one in overdrive.

He shared the halfway lead with Bourdy, but produced his second successive 64 -- the low score of the day again. It could have been even better for Schwartzel, who in the past month has had finishes of fifth, third, second and first. Another first will surely now follow.

He had five birdies in the opening eight holes and, after his first bogey of the tournament, four more birdies in a row from the 12th swept him nine in front.

Then came a trip to the lake on the short 16th. But after rescuing a bogey from the drop zone, Schwartzel -- winner of this title eight years ago and four times a runner-up since then – closed with yet another birdie.

By contrast, Bourdy shot a 74, yet is still in second place.

Schwartzel's victory last Sunday was his first since his triumph at Augusta National in April last year. He finished with four successive birdies there and looks back in the same form. Not that he is prepared to talk about where it might take him in the new year.

"I don't even want to think about it," he said about his goals. "I don't even think about anything. There's been too much talk about what I want to do, but the more you force the issue the less you do it.

"I just want to keep playing with no expectations," he added. "Tee it up, hit the ball down the fairway, hit it on the green, make the putt and see where it leads me."