Charl Schwartzel admits there is unfinished business when he locks horns with Lee Westwood at the Thailand Golf Championship this week.
The in-form South African, who has finished fifth, third and second in his last three starts, finished seven shots behind runaway champion Westwood in the inaugural event at Amata Spring 12 months ago.
But with form in the book and heading to a course that suits his eye, the 28-year-old is eager to pick up his first victory since slipping on the Green Jacket at Augusta National in 2011.
“Lee was out of sight for most of the tournament last time so it would be very nice to get the better of him this time,” said the former Masters champion.
“I always enjoy returning to courses I’ve played well on because it usually means the course suits my eye and I have no hesitation in saying that about Amata Spring.”
The Bangkok course may own one of the most unique holes in championship golf but Schwartzel believes there’s plenty more to be wary of than just a floating green at 17.
“Everybody knows it for having the only floating green in Asia but I also know just how different the two nines are,” he added.
“Power and accuracy are at a premium on the front and a good short game is necessary on the back.”
But Westwood, who surged to the front last year thanks to opening with flawless rounds of 60 and 62, doesn’t intend to surrender his title easily.
“Let’s put it this way,” said the World No.6. “I’ll be more than happy if I can emulate my start of last year.
“Thailandis in my top-five places in the world to visit, so I’m always delighted when I can fit it into my schedule. I love the people, culture and food.
“I think the beauty of this course is that it forces you to use every club in the bag and keeps you thinking. Some holes call for booming drives, while others are about placement. It’s a really good test.”
Masters champion Bubba Watson, two-time 2012 champion Hunter Mahan and European Ryder Cup heroes Sergio Garcia and Nicolas Colsaerts also line up in the 132-man field.
Thailand Golf Championship
Amata Spring Country Club, Bangkok, Thailand
Thursday December 6 to Sunday December 9
Par-72; 7,452 yards
Lee Westwood (-22)
It’s difficult to look away from joint favourites Westwood and Schwartzel at 11/2, particularly after they finished 1-2 here last season, but the South African looks the tastier prospect given his form. Colsaerts at 20s represents good each way value. Visit 888sport.com for more prices.
Thursday: Sky Sports 2 from 6.30am
Friday: Sky Sports 2 from 6.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports 3 from 6.30am
Sunday: Sky Sports 3 from 6.30am
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