Charl Schwartzel continued his excellent season on Thursday by firing an opening round of 68 to share 13th place at the Memorial Tournament on four-under-par. He was four shots behind first-round leader Dustin Johnson.
The 31-year-old had much to be proud of throughout his round as his game clicked. Two crucial elements of Schwartzel’s game were than has been the case on tour this season. His driving accuracy for the round was 71%, a vast improvement on his season average of 55%. In addition to this, his greens in regulation for the round were an excellent 88.89% compared to a season average of just 69% on the tour.
His improved driving accuracy, coupled with the ability to find the greens at will, resulted in a round that included five birdies and 12 pars. The 2011 Masters champion did unfortunately three-putt on the par-three fourth, but can be content with his day’s work.
The encouragement for Schwartzel will be that ignoring a missed cut last year, he has yet to finish outside the top-25 at Muirfield Village Golf Club on his previous outings between 2011 and 2014. His best performance at Jack’s Place was a tie for eighth place in both 2013 and 2014.
His performances on the PGA Tour this season have seen him climb to 27th in the FedEx Cup standings and he knows another good performance will hopefully consolidate a top-30 spot. The 11-time European Tour winner will know that a top-30 spot is the ultimate goal as he seeks a return to the Tour Championship where the top 30 golfers on tour tee it up at the end of the season, something he last experienced in 2013.