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April 9, 2011

Charl Schwartzel


LARRY PUGH: Charl, another great day, 8-under par, congratulations. Any comments that you would like to make.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Thank you. You know, today was just a really good day.

LARRY PUGH: Fair enough.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, it was nice playing with Lee Westwood. When I saw I was drawn with him; I've played lots of golf with him, and obviously he's world No. 2, and was world No. 1 for quite a while.
I think in a way that sort of helped a little bit. So, I mean, I felt like I played under the radar there for a while. And Lee just hits the ball so good. It's nice to sort of ride off of.
I managed to get off to a really good start, which got me going and moving in the right direction. You know, just kept hitting good shots and making my par saves where necessary. That obviously keeps the momentum, and all in all, it's just a really good day. I've got myself in good position for tomorrow.

Q. Can you summarize your six birdies for us and tell us what clubs you hit?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, well, I mean, I birdied the second. Made a good tee shot down there, 4-iron on to the back edge of the green, back right, and I managed to 2-putt.
Then I birdied the third. Hit driver down to the green there, I had 50 yards to the flag and hit a really good little chip which finished six feet below the hole and converted there.
Birdied No. 7, which was a good birdie. That was a tough flag out there today. Hit 3-wood off the tee and 9-iron, maybe went 12 feet by. Knocked in a nice little downhill putt there.
The par 5, next, hit driver down there, 5-wood just to the edge of the green. I could have putted; I chipped it to maybe a foot. So that was my fourth birdie.
Then I birdied the 12th which was a nice birdie. I hit 9-iron to, once again, maybe 12 feet.
Birdied 15. Hit a bad tee shot on 15 and managed to have a gap to chip it out to the front of the water and hit a really good little sand wedge in there from 100 yards to about maybe ten feet.

Q. You've won a few here and there, I'm wondering, do you prefer the come-from-behind or sleeping-on-the-lead or what are the pressures of doing this at this young stage of your career?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: I sort of prefer when you're leading, you have a cushion to ride on. But the end of the day, I've won from the front and I've won from behind. At the end of the day it doesn't matter, it's still the fourth round and you've got to play good golf. If you don't play good golf, you're not going to win; whether you've come from behind or leading it, doesn't really make a difference.
I think especially tomorrow, there will be lots of pressure on the guy that is leading. You know, I've got to play the fourth round the way I've been playing the last three rounds. I hit the ball in the fairway, keep it in the right positions on greens, and you're going to have to also make a few putts.
So that's what it's going to come down to.

Q. Non-Americans won the last three majors going into this one, and it looks like a non-American will win this one. What does it say about the state of golf; I know the top rankings were non-American. Do you look at the other tour and say, hey, we are as good as they are?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: It's just a bunch of really good players coming through. The world is big. (Laughter) America is big but the world is bigger. There's more people. So I mean, I don't think it's -- it might change again. Yeah, who knows?
There's just a bunch of good players out there from the European Tour and even Asia.

Q. This being 50 years since Gary Player won his Masters, would this it have any special significance to you if you had a Masters win on that anniversary?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Oh, definitely. I'll take it even if it wasn't his anniversary. (Smiling broadly).

Q. Curious whether you've run into Rory this week at all over at Chubby's for dinner and if you can assess his state of mind, because he seems to be cruising along well and looks like he'll be making you guys work hard to catch him tomorrow?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, I've seen him every night. We have had some good meat at the ISM house; maybe that's the key.
Yeah, he has a couple of mates out there and looks like he's just cruising.

Q. What would it take for you to win this tournament tomorrow?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Well, I mean, it's tough to say. You've got guys out there at the front that's also won majors. You know, I mean, I'm going to have to shoot under par. Whether it's going to get to 11 or 12, who knows.
I mean, it's difficult to put a score on it. This golf course is hard. You've got to play and just play your best. I reckon if I shoot another 68, I'm going to be really close. Who knows.

Q. How do you prepare yourself for a tournament like this? Do you do anything to mentally prepare yourself and get yourself ready for it?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: You put more effort into it. I flew out here with my friend, Louis, before the tournament and played a round, to come and play and practice a bit. We were out here on Sunday night already from Houston.
The week is long. You prepare. You do everything you can. You also -- I mean, in this game, it doesn't help to come and practice this week here, because you won't peak this week. You need to work three weeks before this in order for your game to be really sharp when you come in here. It's all in the back of the mind and you try and make this the week that your game is at its best.
LARRY PUGH: Charl, thank you very much and good luck.

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