Charl Schwarzel, fresh off his Tshwane Open win, moved into a share of 13th at the Northern Trust Open on Thursday with a round of three-under-par 68 at Riviera Country Club.
‘The course was soft, so I guess you could be just a little bit more aggressive. We normally pitch the ball a little short; you could pitch it at the hole now. So it made it a little easier. But off the tee, still the same stuff,’ he said.
The 11-time European Tour winner shrugged off the jet lag after flying from Pretoria to California on Monday and, despite making two bogeys, was able to keep sight of the lead. He was joined in 13th place by two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen.
‘I played very nicely for most of the day,’ Schwartzel said. ‘The only hiccup was the 3-putt on 16 and 17, but other than that, it was a pretty solid round.’
Top of the pack was Camillo Villegas, who shot a ripping 63 for a three-shot cushion over Chez Reavie, Bubba Watson, and Luke List.
The first round was suspended due to darkness, with Tyrone van Aswegen stuck with two holes still to complete. He came off the course on four-under and part of an eight-way tie for fifth that included Rory McIlroy.
From Schwartzel’s perspective the tournament has only just gun, and he looks set to continue the good form that he displayed at Pretoria Country Club this weekend.