By Michael Vlismas (@MichaelVlismas)
For a born and bred Bolander, the move up to Centurion a few years ago was already a culture shock for Jacques Blaauw (@Jacquesblaauw). But the Sunshine Tour professional is hoping to make another more significant move at the end of this year.
As he prepares for Wednesday’s first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung at Arabella Country Club, Blaauw is confident that this six-tournament series on the winter section of the Sunshine Tour can do for him what it’s done for some big names in South African golf.
“Definitely. This series is a great stepping stone. In each event you’re competing in a field of only 72 professionals, so you’re obviously playing against some great golfers. Winning on the series has meant a lot to me, and hopefully it can mean something for me going forward,” Blaauw said.
Blaauw broke through with two victories on the Vodacom Origins of Golf series last year, and this year he finished fifth in the opening tournament last month.
For a series which this year has the theme of “Evolution”, there is a definite sense of this in the careers of some of its past champions. The 11-year history of the Vodacom Origins of Golf has seen victories by Branden Grace, George Coetzee and Louis Oosthuizen, who have all gone on to successful international careers.
And Blaauw has plans to attend the Web.com Tour’s Qualifying School at the end of this year, with an ultimate goal to further his career in the United States.
“I went to college in the United States and I like America from a travelling side of things and the whole set-up there. The golf courses also suit my style of play, so hopefully I can be successful over there.”
For the moment, Blaauw is focused on securing his first win of a season highlighted by five top-10s.
“I feel like a win is definitely looming. My putter’s been a bit cold, so hopefully that changes this week. The course is playing long because it’s so wet. So it’ll be a week of long irons into the greens.”