Charl Schwartzel is hoping his outstanding second round at the UBS Hong Kong Open can spark a surge up the European Tour’s Race To Dubai rankings.
The South African is currently 24th on the money list with season earnings of €938,019 and knows victory this week would put him in the top 15 heading into the final event of the season in Dubai.
Schwartzel did his chances a power of good on Friday (13 November) with a four-under-par 66 at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling that gave him a share of the lead at the halfway stage.
“It’s a long call but if I was to win here I will probably get into the top 15 with that last tournament to go,” he said. “I don’t think I can win the Race To Dubai anymore but two wins will scare the leaders.”
Schwartzel’s round left him on nine-under 131 for the tournament, tied with China’s Liang Wenchong (65), Holland’s Robert-Jan Derksen (68) and Frenchman Grégory Bourdy (67).
“I’m right where you want to be after two rounds,” he said. “I’m playing well and if I can keep doing what I’m doing it will be an exciting finish.
“I didn’t start the day ideally as I three-putted the first but I came back well with a birdie on the third and gave myself a lot of opportunities from then on.
“I didn’t manage to make any more on the front nine but got it going on the back nine. Birdied 10 and 11 and then picked up another two shots at the 13th and 16th.”
Schwartzel was especially pleased with his birdie on the 466-yard par-four 11th. “It was playing very long. In the first round I went in with a wedge and today with a big six iron. I managed to make the putt from about 50 feet so that was the highlight of the day.”
Fanling experienced colder temperatures on Friday morning following overnight rain but the sun came out in the afternoon to make playing conditions easier, according to Schwartzel.
“It was cold for the morning guys and the ball wasn’t travelling far at all. I played the first few holes with a jersey on but it heated up as we got going and the ball started going further like yesterday. I think the afternoon guys had the better draw.”
The UBS Hong Kong Open – Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event, having started in 1959 – is once again co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.