• Alfred Dunhill Championship, Round One

Schwartzel eyes second successive win

ESPN staff
December 13, 2012
Louis Oosthuizen had a difficult opening round © Getty Images


Last week's winner Charl Schwartzel could be on course for a second successive victory, after an impressive opening round at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek on Thursday.

The South African, who picked up his first win since the 2011 Masters with a dominant display at the Thailand Golf Championship last weekend, kicked off the tournament at Malelane with a five-under par 67 - one off Frenchman Gregory Bourdy's lead.

Schwartzel was among a number of South Africans at five-under, along with Darren Fichardt Oliver Bekker and Louis de Jager.

The English duo of Richard Bland and Steve Webster prevented too much domestic dominance at the top of the leaderboard - with the latter looking for a first victory in South Africa after a series of near misses.

"I got off to a good start being three under after six, but I should have been six-under," Webster, who lost last week at the Nelson Mandela Championship in a play-off, said. "I've had four seconds in South Africa, and came so close last week. It would be nice to go one better, but I've just got to see what happens."

Schwartzel may be the in-form player heading into this week, but he is not the highest ranked golfer in the field. That honour goes to world No. 5 Louis Oosthuizen, who struggled to an opening round of 73, leaving him one-over overall.

Branden Grace and George Coetzee, two other home favourites, are four-under and one-under respectively.

Graeme Storm is four-under par, with Robert Rock a shot further back.

"I hit some nice shots but missed a lot of putts," said Rock, who holed out for an eagle two at the par-four 11th. "I was in good position [at the 15th] and hit the second shot into the water - one of the poorer shots of the day - but to be honest the rest of it was pretty good.

"I had lots of chances on the front nine to make some more birdies and missed them all, but such is the game."

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