Charl Schwartzel (Getty Images)
South African Charl Schwartzel’s golf matched the sweltering temperatures as he began the Thailand Golf Championship with a seven under par 65.
The 2011 Masters Tournament winner compiled a bogey free round as he aims to go one better after finishing runner-up at Amata Spring Country Club last year.
Thai youngster Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who finished third at the Venetian Macau Open in October, eclipsed many of the world’s top players with a superb 66 to outscore reigning Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson (68), Europe’s Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia (69) and title holder Lee Westwood (70).
The 20 year old trails Schwartzel by one in the penultimate event of the 2012 Asian Tour season.
Asian Tour Qualifying School graduate Javi Colomo of Spain continued his recent good run by making a crucial eight foot par save on the last for a share of third place with Sweden’s Daniel Chopra after matching 67s.
Schwartzel, who has finished fifth, third and second in his last three events, continued to show form that earned him his first Major win last year after recovering from a chest injury which affected his game this season.
“I’m just playing injury free and that’s allowing me to swing the club better,” he said.
“When you are playing with injury, you always try to protect that injury and the consequence is a bad swing. In the last month and a half I’ve been able to get my swing back to where I want it to be.
“My consistency is coming back and that’s the key for me.”