The South African Open has inflicted some extremely painful times on Charl Schwartzel, but the world No 34 is back for another tilt at the title when the second oldest national open gets underway at Glendower Golf Club on Thursday.
Schwartzel has not played the SA Open since 2015, when he finished second to Andy Sullivan after squandering four shots in the last five holes and then losing on the first play-off hole as his tee-shot went miles off track.
The previous Glendower SA Open, in November 2013, saw Schwartzel leading by three shots four holes into the final round, before he faded to a 71 after a triple-bogey on the sixth and a double on 10, and finished three behind winner Morten Orum Madsen.
“Tuesday was the first time I played this course since I lost to Andy Sullivan in 2015 on that disastrous Sunday – or disastrous few holes, anyway. There were glimpses of those memories that came back and it was nice to come back and play in the pro-am and get over those memories.
“I never came back after that. That was one win I had in my hands, but with a couple of bad shots down the stretch, it got away from me. It’s definitely one of those that I want to get on to my CV. For a South African, this is a big event. It’s one of the tournaments you want to win,” Schwartzel said.
As Schwartzel knows better than most, missing the greens at Glendower can be very expensive.
“The green speeds are really phenomenal and the condition is great. The rough might have been a little longer if we’d had a little more rain over the last little while, but it’s still high. I had some really nasty lies out there and the superintendent has done a very good job setting it up,” Schwartzel said.