The Open: Charl Schwartzel ends on high

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FORMER Masters champion Charl Schwartzel’s mixed day ended on high as he holed a bunker shot at the 18th.

Prior to that the 28-year-old South African’s round had been on a downward spiral as three successive bogeys from the 12th were followed by a double-bogey 6 at the 15th where he snapped a club in frustration.

Fortunately it was an eight iron and not his sand wedge, which came in handy when he found the left greenside bunker at the last and splashed out with his ball trundling towards the hole before dropping in.

The 2011 Augusta champion had enjoyed a massive stroke of luck on the ninth when his hooked tee shot looked to be heading out of bounds only to hit the boundary wall and bounce 40 yards back into the fairway.

Schwartzel finished with a four-over 75 and admitted frustration had got the better of him.

“I didn’t take into account the ground was so hard,” he said of his snapped club in the heavy rough.

“It was frustration. I’ve not done that sort of thing too many times but it’s never resulted in a club breaking.

“It is what this championship does to you. I came back so nicely after a double-bogey start and I didn’t feel that many bad shots and then I had three bogeys in a row and then hit that bad shot which resulted in double.”

Meanwhile, Tony Jacklin fears Lee Westwood is running out of time to win his first major as his fellow Englishman continues to strive for the one thing missing from an enviable career.

In the last five-and-a-half-years the former world No 1 has consistently knocked on the door with seven finishes no worse than joint-third and three other top-10s.

However, Westwood, who opened with a 72 yesterday, turned 40 in April and 1969 Open champion Jacklin fears the clock is ticking for the Worksop golfer, who relocated to America last year in a bid to improve his chances.

“Well I don’t think it gets easier as you get older, let’s put it that way,” said the 69-year-old former Ryder Cup captain. “I got it done when I was 25 and I’m grateful for that.

“The older you are the more stuff happens and scars you a little bit, maybe. Lee’s had a few opportunities and wasn’t able to quite bring it home. He’s such a great player, a well-rounded player, and if he putts well at Muirfield then I think he’ll go very, very close indeed. He’s certainly got a great chance. But time is not on his side any more.”

Jacklin’s feat of being the only English winner of the US Open in 43 years was eventually matched by Justin Rose last month and the veteran believes that landmark win can inspire a generation of Englishmen who have so far underachieved in majors.

“There’s no doubt there’s a trickle-down effect from all of that,” he said. “It can absolutely have an effect on the other English lads.”