In-form Schwartzel eyes end to Nedbank Challenge wait


Charl Schwartzel is hopeful he can carry the momentum from his run of good form into the Nedbank Golf Challenge, despite his lack of success at the event.

Schwartzel has never won the tournament at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, although he did finish second behind Martin Kaymer back in 2012 - before the competition had been sanctioned by the European Tour.

The 2011 Masters champion was sixth in 2013 and tied 14th last year as Danny Willett emerged victorious.

However, Schwartzel was triumphant at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Malelane last week and the South African has his sights set on a second successive win on home soil.

Of the Nedbank Challenge, he said: "It was obviously one of those tournaments that was just 'Wow, that would be a dream to win!'.

"The Masters has always also been the one and always will be. If I could choose a win, I'll take the one I have.

"I've sort of struggled on this golf course. It's not my favourite golf course but I had a good result in 2012 and this year I'm coming in with a bit of form.

"I'm playing better golf than I think I've played for a while so that could maybe turn things around, and hopefully I can go one better than 2012."

Schwartzel's win at Leopard Creek marked his fourth Alfred Dunhill victory and 10th on the European Tour - with seven of those triumphs coming in South Africa.

A talented field stands in the way of Schwartzel adding to that tally, with world number seven Henrik Stenson, Shane Lowry and Martin Kaymer among those set to rival him for top spot on the leaderboard.

Willett - who finished second in the 2015 Race to Dubai rankings behind Rory McIlroy - is poised to utilise an aggressive approach in his bid to retain the trophy.

"If you want to win you've got to take the golf course on," Willett said.

"If you're happy with an average result you can play it conservatively and ease your way round, but I think we'll have the same strategy and try to do something good again.

"The course sets up for people who hit it straight. If you can drive the ball well you're giving yourself nine irons into greens, which are a lot easier to control than a six or seven iron when you're hitting into small greens with the wind swirling round.

"So we'll be trying to be aggressive off the tee at the right times and take it from there."