Charl Schwartzel's first PGA Tour win was one to remember, a two-stroke victory at the 2011 Masters.
Three years later, he continues in search of his second, and a 3-under par third round at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing has put that goal well within reach. The South African has quietly put together three quality days to put himself at 5 under, just three shots back of leader Luke Donald heading into the final round at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Schwartzel said the key to his success has been driving the ball well and -- given another set of tough conditions -- keeping it in play.
"I felt like I hit the ball pretty decent," Schwartzel said. "I think just basically what you need to do in tough conditions is what I've been doing."
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It wasn't always easy. His drives on the par-5 second and the par-4 third found the rough, but he managed to get up and down to save par. He looked to be in another tough spot after his second shot landed off the green, 18 yards to the right of the pin. One smooth chip shot and a birdie later, Schwartzel had recovered in style.
"With the small greens as well, you're always bound to miss a few," Schwartzel said. "I've managed to make some good saves."
Birdies at Nos. 10 and 14 were offset by a bogey at No. 11. On the 18th, he came just three inches short of a birdie that would have placed him in a tie for second. Despite the close miss, Schwartzel feels he is very much in the hunt heading into Sunday's final round.
"With conditions the way they are, you never know," Schwartzel said. "If you make a few, you make a run. It's going to take someone that's going to shoot 4 or 5 under tomorrow."
The 17th-ranked player in the world has given himself a good chance to top his previous best result this season, when he finished fifth at the Northern Trust Open in February. He missed the cut last week at Augusta, but just 18 holes from his first taste of victory since that magical Sunday in April 2011, Schwartzel is up for the challenge.
"Often coming from a major, normally your game is pretty dialed in," Schwartzel said. "A golf course like this suits you if you play wisely."
He's had to do just that on a course still saturated from Friday's downpour.
"The conditions are tough, but it's been cold and windy the last few days," Schwartzel said. "The golf course held up really well after yesterday's rain and I'm looking forward to a good Sunday."