By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- Charl Schwartzel is making up for lost time. Literally.
The South African tore a muscle in his abdomen the week of the U.S. Open. Schwartzel was in so much pain he very nearly didn't even tee off in Thursday's first round at the Olympic Club. An MRI that night identified the injury.
After tying for 38th that week, Schwartzel took the next three weeks off to let the tear heal. He returned to competition at the British Open -- and this week's Deutsche Bank Championship is his seventh straight event.
Schwartzel will start the third round of the second event in the FedExCup Playoffs in contention, too, after Saturday's 65 lifted him to 9 under and three behind Rory McIlroy. He's clearly relishing the opportunity.
"I had the injury at the U.S. Open and it set me back quite a bit, came back, lost a bit of confidence, and just seeing if I can play myself back into it," Schwartzel said. "There's been great signs of it sort of from Wyndham, just finishing poorly on Sunday. Same thing at Bethpage, I was up there, finished poorly on Sunday.
"It's there. Once again, I can feel the game is great, so just a matter of finishing it off."
Schwartzel, who says he loves the TPC Boston layout, has only
made one bogey in 36 holes and that came on his fifth hole in the
first round. He hit 11 fairways and 15 greens in regulation on a
bogey-free Saturday while using 28 putts.
"I think I played great," Schwartzel said. "I got off to a really good start, then went to sleep for a while there in the middle and made a great save on 14, and that's what woke me up a bit. I made birdie on 15 and 17. I would have loved one on 18, it was a good chance, but overall it was a great round this afternoon with the wind blowing."
Schwartzel came into the Deutsche Bank Championship ranked 71st in the FedExCup but he's clearly not stressed about trying to move into the top 70 to earn a spot in the BMW Championship next week.
"What pressure?" he said. "I can still win the FedEx."