ST. LOUIS — Seven years have passed since Charl Schwartzel won the Masters, which means only one thing to him. “It’s about time,” he said. “There have been ups and downs and I feel like I’m starting to play a better golf game.”
The 33-year-old from South Africa has won five times, four of them in Europe, since earning the green jacket. But he acknowledged there is nothing like a major. He made a major statement by tying a PGA Championship record with a 7-under-par 63 at Bellerive Country Club Friday.
“I think this morning was very scorable,” he said, having finished his round long before afternoon storms arrived. “I drove it decently well for me and gave myself -- my iron play has been really good. So I gave myself just a lot of chances. I felt like I was putting for birdie on pretty much every hole.”
He ended the day at 7 under for the tournament, three strokes behind leader Gary Woodland.
Dobyns finishes with birdie
Fresh Meadow Country Club head pro Matt Dobyns finished with a touch of class, drilling his 9-iron on the ninth hole (his last) within three feet and making the birdie putt. “It leaves me wanting more,” he said after having shot 1-over-par 71 to end up at 7 over. “I hit a lot of good shots. Even though I missed the cut by a mile, I probably hit more good shots this PGA than I did at any other.”
He will remember having been the first in the field to drive the 298-yard par-4 11th green on Friday (he made birdie) and will regret two triple bogeys Thursday. “I just try and learn that you can’t compound a mistake, he said. “When you make a mistake, especially in a major, you take your medicine, you play the odds, you try to make a bogey and you move on. You start over and try to make a par.”