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Schwartzel cruises to 12-stroke triumph in South Africa
Charl Schwartzel carded a 3-under 69 on Sunday to wrap up an emphatic 12-stroke victory at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Schwartzel, who also won this event in 2005, endured a two hour weather delay at Leopard Creek Country Club on Sunday and finished with a tournament-record 24-under 264.
“It’s always been a special place for me,” said Schwartzel, who won his first European Tour title at this course in 2004. “This is where I can almost say my career started and it’s always stayed close to my heart.”
It was the second straight impressive performance by the 2011 Masters champion, who won in Thailand by 11 strokes last week.
Kristoffer Broberg recorded a final-round 70 and took second place at 12- under, while Gregory Bourdy (72), Garth Mulroy (68), Scott Jamieson (68) and Andy Sullivan (69) tied for third at 11-under. Mulroy won this event the last time it was played in 2011.
Keith Horne (71), Richard Sterne (70) and Steve Webster (72) tied for seventh at 10-under, George Coetzee (65) and Richard Bland (68) placed 10th at 9-under and Branden Grace (74), who won four times on the European Tour in 2012, highlighted a group of three tied for 12th at minus-8.
Schwartzel entered Sunday with a 10-stroke advantage after besting the tournament’s 54-hole scoring record by three strokes. He fired a 64 on both Friday and Saturday and had an outside shot at breaking Tiger Woods’ European Tour record for largest margin of victory — 15 at the 2000 U.S. Open.
Additionally, a third straight 64 would have allowed Schwartzel to equal Ernie Els’ record for lowest-ever 72 holes to par — 29-under at the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic.
Schwartzel started his final round with seven straight pars before 3-putting for bogey on the par-4 eighth. The 28-year-old South African bounced back with a birdie on No. 9 and, after a delay due to rain and lightning, carded birdies on Nos. 12, 13, and 18 to wrap up his eighth European Tour title and the third-largest winning margin in tour history.
“Slowly and surely I started to swing the club a lot better, back to how I did when I won the Masters, and I actually got excited to play again,” Schwartzel continued.
Bourdy, meanwhile, began the final round alone in second place and remained there entering his last hole, where he helped add to Schwartzel’s wide margin by stumbling to a double-bogey.