South African Charl Schwartzel ended a 20-month title drought with a spectacular wire-to-wire victory at the Thailand Golf Championship yesterday.
The 28-year-old capped a near-flawless week with a final round of seven-under-par 65 for an easy 11-shot victory over the golfer who succeeded him as the Masters winner this year, Bubba Watson.
“It’s been a while and I have been knocking on the door for some time. Then I had injury,” Schwartzel, hindered last year by a rib injury that affected his swing, said after winning at 25-under 263 at the Amata Spring Country Club.
“It’s really nice to come back and play some decent golf again,” he said.
Looking back at the barren 20 months since winning last year’s Masters, Schwartzel said: “I played some really good golf after the Masters for almost close to a year when I came close a few times. Then I got the injury and that put me back. I had a bad year actually.”
“The last month and half has been pretty good and it’s nice to finish the year with a nice win here,” said Schwartzel, who made just one bogey in the entire tournament.
“I got off to a nice start and I just kept going. Obviously the golf course suits my eyes and it was nice to play some good golf out there,” he said.
Watson matched Schwartzel’s 65 to finish 14-under 274 in the US$1 million Asian Tour event.
“I didn’t have my best stuff on Friday and Saturday. I made a lot of mistakes. Schwartzel played pretty good,” Watson said. “It would have given me a chance to scare him but I didn’t have my best in the previous two days.”
The American shared second place with local favorite Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who signed off with a two-under-par 70. Spaniard Sergio Garcia finished fourth on 12-under.
Taiwan’s Lu Wen-teh carded a 71 to finish tied for 39th place on one-under, while compatriot Sung Mao-chang shot a 73 to finish on five-over back in 63rd place.
Additional reporting by staff writer
Peter Senior drew on all his experience from 34 years as a professional to master galeforce winds and win the Australian Open by a shot yesterday, 23 years after he first held aloft the Stonehaven Cup.
Gusting winds of up to 80kph whipped across The Lakes Golf Club all day, knocking over a TV tower on the 18th green and forcing the suspension of play for three hours.
Senior, 53, became the oldest man to win the title in the 108-year history of the event when he completed his final round of par 72 in fading light to finish four-under for the tournament.
Brendan Jones finished second after a 71, while fellow Australian Cameron Percy was third, a shot further back on two under, after carding a 73.
Britain’s world No. 4 Justin Rose dropped a shot at the last to finish with a 76 for a share of fourth.