June 16 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Granted, those two closing bogeys hurt. But Charl Schwartzel knew better than to let the frustration linger.
After all, his 69 was one of just six sub-par rounds at Merion on Saturday. He'll play in the penultimate group on Sunday trailing the leader, Phil Mickelson, by one stroke and with a chance to win his second major.
"I think whenever you shoot an under par on Saturday at the U.S. Open, you can't be too disappointed," Schwartzel said. "There's a few easy holes out there that you got to take advantage of, which I did. And then you've got the hard ones, which are where you come in and finish on.
"So you're going to get some and you're going to give some. So anything under par is fantastic here."
Schwartzel, who won the 2011 Masters, knows the final five holes, which are currently the fifth, fourth, ninth, seventh and toughest, will undoubtedly determine the champion on Sunday evening.
"I reckon if you can pull through it there in level par, if you're somewhere one or two off the lead or leading, you would be say worst case in a playoff," he said. "Or if you're tied or something if you play those few level, you would be pretty unlucky not to win."
Schwartzel, who is bidding to join Gary Player, Ernie els and Retief Goosen as U.S. Open champs from South Africa, is 2 over on the stretch this week. He thinks that owning a Green Jacket will be a plus on Sunday when every shot hit will be "really intense," Schwartzel said.
"It helps a lot to know that, as you said, I've got a major under my belt, so I don't have to worry about getting the first one," he said. "Obviously you want to get more and more and more, but that monkey is off the shoulder, so I can go ahead and concentrate on trying to finish off a golf tournament."