Charl Schwarzel ended a five-year title drought on the PGA Tour this Sunday with a closing round of 67 and a playoff victory at the Valspar Championship.
The 2011 Masters champ won at the Copperhead course of Innsbrook Resort this week, where he edged out American Bill Haas after both players finished regulation play on seven-under-par.
Schwartzel came from five shots back on Sunday to clinch his second PGA Tour title, which followed his European Tour victory at the Tshwane Open three weeks ago.
‘There’s nothing that gets you pumped like winning,’ he said. ‘And it helped because you’re hitting good shots under pressure to win. That gets your confidence up.’
‘All over it’s a really good boost to starting the year, first major of the year. I mean it’s a really exciting week and always look forward to it,’ he added.
The Vereeniging local drained some huge putts for the low round of the day on Sunday, including a 64-foot birdie bomb at the 13th hole. It allowed him to catch a faltering Haas.
‘I knew that seven-under would give me a good chance,’ said Schwartzel. ‘I made really long putts and just thought I hit some good shots, too, on the holes coming in. It was very difficult with the wind and I didn’t think I was going to make that many birdies, but the game caught light on the back nine.’
The world number 21 had a long festive break and spent hours with his father George, who has been his lifelong coach and mentor. It brought back elements of his game and, with his brother on the bag at Innsbrook this week, he made it count.
‘My father gave me all old feelings and sort of things that we used to work on that I had forgotten and made it very simple,’ he said. ‘For me the best thing of all of it I’ve actually got my fade back, which is the shape I hit when I was a youngster in South Africa.’