Schwartzel seeks treble
Charl Schwartzel is seeking to join an elite group by scoring a hat-trick of wins in this week's Joburg Open.
Last Updated: 11/01/12 2:25pm
Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is seeking to join an elite group by scoring a hat-trick of wins in this week's Joburg Open.
Only Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods have won the same European Tour event three years in a row but Schwartzel is on target to join the group after victories in 2010 and 2011.
The Johannesburg-born Schwartzel won the title at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington by six shots in 2010.
He followed it up last year with a consistently top-class effort when he fired four rounds in the 60s, including a second-round 61, to finish four strokes clear of compatriot Garth Mulroy.
For the 27-year-old, familiarity will be an advantage at the 1.3million euros tournament.
He told www.europeantour.com: "It is a golf course I've played many times as an amateur and junior and I grew up not too far away from Royal Johannesburg so it is always nice to play the course.
"I've always got a good feel when I go back there and always enjoy playing the Joburg Open.
In my own bed
"I get to play a tournament and stay at home in my own bed, which is very cool.
"It is great for South Africa to have three European Tour events at the start of the year too."
Leading the challenge will be fellow South African Retief Goosen, who last week finished third behind Louis Oosthuizen in the Africa Open.
The strong home field also includes fit-again Richard Sterne, the 2008 Joburg Open champion, who finished sixth in last week's Africa Open and compatriot Tjaart Van der Walt, who pushed Oosthuizen all the way before coming up two strokes short at East London Golf Club.
Argentinian Ariel Canete is another former champion in the field, having won the title in 2007, the first year the tournament was co-sanctioned by The European Tour and the Sunshine Tour.
English golfers Chris Wood, Robert Rock and David Howell will also compete.