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January 21, 2012

Charl Schwartzel


MIKE GREEN:  Charl Schwartzel 5‑under par 68 and that's taken you right back into contention, 9‑under par for the tournament so you must be pleased to be right near the top of the leaderboard again.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Yeah, today was obviously a lot tougher conditions than the first two days.  You know, 5‑under was very satisfying.  I hit the ball probably the best I've hit it in a very long time.  It was flawless shot after flawless shot.  All of my birdies I made came from tap‑ins, basically.
MIKE GREEN:  Skill exhibiting a few signs of frustration with the putter but to be able to score 68 with putting problems, you must be convinced that a turnaround is around the corner.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I wouldn't call them putting problems.  The ball just won't go into the hole.  I'm actually hitting what feels like pretty good putts.  I'm just not starting the ball online.  And when I do start online, I read it wrong.  So it just adds to the frustration.
But, you know, on the other breath, it shows you how good I'm hitting the ball, and that's a positive.
MIKE GREEN:  Talking about hitting it well, can you tell us about the eagle on 9?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I actually considered laying up short of the ditch because I had a whole chunk of mud on the left side of my ball, and the rule of thumb is that the ball normally goes the opposite way of where the mud is.  And I had the wind off the left, and every sign was the ball to go right.  The only thing was the slope the ball was lying on was on a very steep, downhill right‑to‑left lie, which normally causes you to pull it a little bit.
So I thought, maybe this will counterbalance with the mud, and I had 264 yards, hit a 2‑iron to six inches.  (Laughter).
MIKE GREEN:  Nobody hits 2‑iron to six inches, Charl.

Q.  You had a bit of physiodone?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Yeah, I hit maybe ten balls on the range, and ‑‑ was giving me quite a bit of problems.  It was just the nerve that was a bit tight.  So I ran into the physio just before I teed off quickly, and Colin is very good.  Put some stuff on it and stretched it quickly.  Hurt me a little bit and off I went.  Never felt it on the golf course, which was quite a pleasing thing.

Q.  Are you hoping for some more bad weather tomorrow?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Yeah, to me, at this stage, it really doesn't matter much.  I feel like I'm hitting the ball good, so whichever it brings, I don't mind.  The tougher it gets, the better, because I'm hitting the ball really good.  So I'm not really fussed what tomorrow brings.

Q.  Was it the wind that made things a lot tougher today?  Seemed a bit sort of gusty out there, difficult to judge.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Yeah, you could say the wind combined with a bit of misty rain made things difficult.
For example, I was hitting 4‑iron where I hit normally 7‑iron when it was into the wind, that's how short the ball was playing.  It starts getting difficult when you're hitting those long clubs into some of those greens.
So it's a combination of the ball going short and fairways were getting also softer.  You know, just I would say real tricky to be‑‑ on whichever shot you decided to hit, to commit to it properly.  So margins were not much out there.

Q.  A couple of nasty scores out there, 90 and 80s out there, and South Africans at the top that have been on the course before; is that a factor?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I would say yes.  I said at the beginning of the week, I think it's a golf course where you can't come and play one practise round and think that you're going to conquer it now.  I think it's a golf course that you need to know really well.
There's a lot of these slopes on these greens that you can use to your benefit, but then there's also some that's going to bite you if you don't know what you're doing.
And once again, it showed before the first two days, it was pretty easy, so it was‑‑ you were not hitting very long clubs into these greens, but just change the weather around a little bit and it becomes a completely different golf course.  That's where I think someone that knows the golf course gets a little bit of an advantage.

Q.  Were you aware of all the carnage that was going on around you on the course?  At one stage, you were the only guy under par for the day.  Did it change your approach at all?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  No, no idea.  I didn't know what was going on.  Obviously I knew I was playing well and I could see the guys were going the wrong direction to way was going in, and I wasn't complaining about that.  I was pretty happy about that.
To be fair, my first nine wasn't that bad of weather, and then when I turned for the back nine, the rain basically stopped.  So from then on in, it actually just felt like ‑‑ it didn't feel difficult anymore; like you should be making birdies.  And I knew eventually the guys that were teeing off really late were going to play maybe 12, 13 holes in decent weather, so they were going to come back with some birdies.
MIKE GREEN:  Thanks very much indeed.  Good luck for the final round.

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