Charl Schwartzel stayed right in touch with the lead on Friday as he carded a seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson on the PGA Tour in Birmingham, Alabama.
He took his tournament total to 13-under with an eagle, six birdies and a bogey, and that left him two shots off the lead which was held jointly by Ryan Palmer of the United States, Sebasian Munoz of Colombia and England’s David Skinns. Justin Lower of the United States was in fourth on 14-under.
Schwartzel, who finished in a share of third in the tournament last year, was pleased with every aspect of his game. “There wasn’t any real weakness,” he said. “I’m driving the ball well, hitting a lot of good iron shots to give myself opportunities and I just felt comfortable with the putter so I made a few putts.”
Part of it was a sense of familiarity about the course for him. “There’s some familiarity for me compared with some of the courses I’ve played back in South Africa,” he said. “I don’t feel claustrophobic off the tee, it gives me a bit of space, and once I can get it in play iron play is not much of a problem. So I’m just really comfortable.”
Another part of it was the fact that he showed signs of getting back into good form when he played the Masters in April. “The game is hard, you know?” he said. “So I just prepared well for Augusta, tried to work on my mind a bit better, because I was just getting down on myself before that. And Augusta is a place I love and I went in, the swing was, I was comfortable, and I just had a better attitude. But I played better and since then it’s felt better to me.”
Behind him, Dylan Frittelli carded a four-under 68 to move to seven-under and a share of 38th, together with Christiaan Bezuidenhout who had a two-under 70 for his second round. Dawie van der Walt went one-under for the second round to get to six-under and a share of 48th, while Branden Grace’s three-under 69 had him in a share of 61st on five-under. Astonishingly, five-under was the number at which the cut fell.