Thursday, December 01, 2011


England's Lee Westwood shares the lead with Masters champion Charl Schwartzel after round one of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa.
Westwood and Schwartzel carded four-under-par 68s to finish the day one shot clear of Sweden's Robert Karlsson.
World number one Luke Donald is two under, along with fellow Englishman Simon Dyson, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Germany's Martin Kaymer.
Open champion Darren Clarke is bottom of the 12-man field after a 74.

After he played the ninth as badly as he possibly could have, Charl Schwartzel hit back with five birdies to card a four-under-par 68 to take a share of the first round lead of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Defending champion Lee Westwood made an 18-footer for birdie on the 18th and moved to four-under with the last putt of the day to share the top of the leaderboard with the South African.
“I got angry and then I got fearless,” said Schwartzel of his homeward five-under-par 31, “and I just started firing at the flags.”
His aggression paid off as he and Westwood took a one-stroke lead over Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, with six players in a share of fourth place at two-under-par.
Schwartzel’s tee shot on nine came in the midst of a rain shower, and his attempt to compensate for the change in conditions led to his downfall on that hole.
“I thought I had to hit it a little harder to get a decent second shot into the green,” he said, “and I just pushed it right.
“To be fair, I very nearly got the lay-up out of the rough with my seven-iron spot on, but it just hit a little branch and fell back into the rough,” he added.
He then deposited his third – an attempted five-iron for the middle of the green – into the water. A pitch from the drop zone and two putts saw him card a double-bogey 7 on a hole which conceded four birdies and an eagle to his opponents.
Westwood was the man who made the eagle on nine, as he turned his poor start – a bogey on one – into two-under 34 through the turn.
He then made three birdies on his homeward nine, but the effect of those was somewhat spoiled by a bogey-4 on the short 12th.
Schwartzel, on the other hand, hit back immediately after his poor show on the ninth with a birdie on 10, and that set him back on the right track.
“The way I played on the back nine is more reflective of the way I have been playing lately,” he said. “I’ve been hitting the ball really well, and once I get the putts rolling, I’m getting into good positions in tournaments.”
He made three birdies in a row from 12, and another on 16 – he was the only player to make one on that hole on the day as he sank a 20-footer there.
Karlsson started the day with three consecutive birdies from the second, but a pair of bogeys on the inward nine rather arrested his progress, and world number one Luke Donald was one of the six on two-under as he made a double-bogey six on the 17th after he hit his first tee shot into the water.



Westwood won the title by eight strokes last year after shooting 68 in the final round. The 38-year-old struggled for form this year though he finished third in the US Open, losing to world number two Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland.
McIlroy preferred the Hong Kong Open rather to playing in South Africa.
The elite 12-man field are competing for $1.25 million, surpassed only recently by the Shanghai Masters' winning prize of $2 million.



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