He’s in 12th position on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, with more prize money than he’s ever earned in a single season, but defending Lion of Africa Cape Town Open champion Jaco Ahlers feels as if a couple of weeks without touching his golf clubs might be a good idea.
He also took home the winner’s share of R3.5-million in the Chase to the Investec Cup Bonus Pool in March to augment the nearly R1.1-milliuon he’s won this year, and he fired a second-round six-under 66 at Royal Cape Golf Club to haul himself above the cutline and to four-under-par for the tournament ahead of the 36-hole cut.
“I’ve travelled so much over the past few months,” he said, “to Asia, Europe, Scotland… so many different time zones, and really all I want to do is spend some time at home with my wife and children.”
He’s scheduled to travel to Vietnam after next week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship for the Asian Tour’s Ho Tram Open, and he’s thinking of giving that a miss, even though his eligibility on that tour is under threat.
Ahlers ascended to giddy heights when he won in Cape Town last year, that victory gaining him entry into the lucrative Nedbank Golf Challenge. Then came the Investec Cup victory in March, one which he termed ‘life-changing’, but, since then, it’s been a struggle, with only a share of fifth at Vaal de Grace in September and a share of 12th at his home course at Koro Creek last month.
“It really is a case of just trying to get it on the fairways and seeing if I can give myself some chances,” he said. “Today, I got the putter going, and that made a big difference. Or it did, until I made bogeys on my last two holes.”
At that stage, he had progressed to eight-under for his round, and that would have put him within striking distance of the lead, and a chance at a successful title defence.
Instead, he’s going to have to keep trying at the weekend. “At least I made the weekend in my title defence,” he said.