Here’s a Sonny Side of Sports salute for Charl Schwartzel, who became the third South African golfer to win the prestigous Masters tournament on April 10th.  Schwartzel fired four consecutive birdies to clinch his first major title.  The 26-year-old South African has a pilot’s license, and you might say he was flying high after sinking his putt on the 18th hole in Augusta, Georgia.

His victory comes 50 years after fellow-South African Gary Player became the first golfer from outside the United States to don the classic green Masters jacket, given each year to the Masters champion.  Schwartzel is also the second South African in four years to win the Masters, following Trevor Immelman in 2008.

Schwartzel credits six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus with helping him win the 75th Masters.  He says during lunch with the great American star last year, Nicklaus gave him tips on how to play each of the 18 holes at Augusta National.  “He actually took the time to take me through all 18 holes,” says Schwartzel, “and the way he used to think around Augusta and the way he used to play it, which flags he used to attack.”

You can find out more about Charl Schwartzel, including how to pronounce his name, in this video, which was recorded before he played the Masters for the first time in 2010.