Schwartzel cruises to 11-shot victory in Thailand
CHON BURI, Thailand -- Charl Schwartzel shot his third 7-under 65 of the tournament Sunday to wrap up a dominating victory at the Thailand Golf Championship, extending his already commanding lead to win by 11 shots.
Schwartzel led from the first round and never slowed down, finishing with a 25-under total of 263 at the Amata Spring Country Club for the South African's first victory since last year's Masters. This year's Masters winner Bubba Watson also shot a 65 to finish in a tie for distant second with Thai golfer Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who finished with a 70.
Sergio Garcia of Spain (70) was fourth in the Asian Tour event, 12 shots back.
Schwartzel finished second here last year, when Lee Westwood was the runaway winner by seven shots.
"It's been a great week. We had a good time last year and obviously I came in second," Schwartzel said. "I do know how the guys feel like, as I had that feeling last year when I lost to Lee by quite a margin. Overall it's been a great week. I played some solid golf. I'm very happy."
And he finally got to lift another trophy, following a drought since his victory at Augusta in 2011.
"It's always hard when you have won such a big tournament," the South African said. "You go on a high and feel that you can win all the ones that you play in. I came close a few times. Winning is not as easy as everyone makes it out to be. It's been quite hard work and it's been a difficult year especially in the middle. It's nice to put things in place and get the win that I've been looking for."
After three inconsistent rounds, American Bubba Watson made no mistake on Sunday, making seven birdies in his first bogey-free outing of the tournament.
"I didn't have my best stuff on Friday and Saturday. I made a lot of mistakes," Watson said. "Schwartzel played pretty good and my best stuff probably wouldn't be as good. It would have given me a chance to scare him but I didn't have my best in the previous two days. I had no bogeys and no mistakes and somehow it came out to a 7 under."
The 20-year-old Thitiphun mixed three birdies with three bogeys but an eagle from the bunker on the 11th hole helped him earn a tie for second.
"I'm proud with how I played with one of the nest players in the world," Thitiphun said. "I'm happy with my round but slightly disappointed I didn't finish second alone. I'm going to play with more confidence now and this will be an inspiration for me because I want to win on the Asian Tour."
Daniel Chopra, who was in second place after the third round, five shots behind Schwartzel, shot a disappointing 75 yesterday to fall into a tie for sixth with Australian golfer Scott Hend, Simon Dyson of England and the Thai duo of Prom Meesawat and Kiradech Aphibarnra.
Westwood finished with a 70 for a share of 11th place, 16 shots back.