Rain-softened courses at Joburg Open have Schwartzel eager to defend title

charl schwartzel
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Defending Joburg Open champion Charl Schwartzel believes his performance last year was the best golf he's ever played.
PA Sport


Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | 11:31 a.m.

Charl Schwartzel is in bullish mood as he prepares for the defense of his Joburg Open title this week.

The 26-year-old South African won last year's event by six shots at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club and comes into the tournament, which is co-sanctined by the European Tour and southern Africa’s Sunshine Tour, in sparkling form.


The Joburg Open features an oversized field of 210 players from both the European Tour and southern Africa's Sunshine Tour.

The first three legs of the 'South Africa Swing' has seen Schwartzel finish in the top four on each occasion, missing out on a playoff by just one shot at the Africa Open in East London last week. And with regular downpours in recent weeks, both the East and West courses in use this week will be playing long -- and into the hands of Schwartzel.

"I am confident going into this tournament because I have been playing well and a soft course suits me," said the world No. 32. "I have always played well at Royal Johannesburg.

"My performance at the Joburg Open last year was probably the best golf I have played,” he added. "You do not make only three bogeys in a tournament over those two courses without playing well."

Victory on Sunday would see Schwartzel overhaul Africa Open winner Louis Oosthuizen at the top of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings.