Schwartzel steams ahead in Thailand

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Updated: December 6, 2012

Former US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel set about his business of doing one better than last year, and win the Thailand Golf Championship, when he shot an opening 65 to take the first round lead in hot and steamy conditions.

Highly rated Thai youngster Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who finished third at the Venetian Macau Open in October, eclipsed many of the world’s top players with a superb 66 to outscore reigning Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson (68), Europe’s Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia (69) and title holder Lee Westwood (70).

Schwartzel, who has finished fifth, third and second in his last three events, continued to show form that earned him his first Major win last year after recovering from a chest injury which affected much of his game this season.

The world number 27 is aiming to nail his first victory since his Masters triumph but knows he must continue to overcome the steamy and humid conditions at Amata Spring. “It definitely affects you. It is as hot as I’ve gotten on a golf course for a long time. I suppose all you can do is take a lot of liquid. There’s no escaping the heat. You just got to grind it out.