CHARL SCHWARTZEL

South Africa has certainly had no shortage of top-notch golfers over the years. Yet another to have joined those ranks in recent years is Vereeniging-born Charl Schwartzel. The 22-year-old claimed one of his most significant victories to date by winning the Spanish Open in April after carding a final round of 67 (thanks to a 15-foot putt for an eagle at the 16th hole) to edge out Jyoti Randhawa by one stroke. After an impressive amateur career, Schwartzel became the second youngest South African (after Dale Hayes) to turn professional, at the age of 18. The 2004/05 season saw him winning the Dunhill Championship in South Africa and earning himself top spot on the Sunshine Tour's Order of Merit, a feat he repeated in the following two seasons. Having won last year's Vodacom Tour Championship, the promising young player moved into the top 100 of the official world golf rankings, where he has steadily been working his way upwards and towards a top-40 placing. With yet another top spot in the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit this year, Schwartzel moved on to his successful campaign at the Spanish Open.

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