Schwartzel in confident mood

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

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

The 26-year-old won last year’s event by six shots at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club and comes into the tournament in sparkling form.

The first three legs of the ‘South Africa swing’ on the European Tour has seen Schwartzel finish in the top four on each occasion, missing out on a play-off by just one shot 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 number 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.

“You do not make only three bogeys in a tournament over those two courses without playing well.”

Victory on Sunday would see Schwartzel overhaul Louis Oosthuizen at the top of the Race to Dubai standings, and he is as short as 4/1 with Sky Bet to successfully defend his title.

Darren Clarke, who finished in a tie for second 12 months ago, is in the 210-man field again, while England’s Danny Willett at 74th is the only other player – apart from Schwartzel – in the top 100 in the world teeing it up this week.

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