Jake Roos has been so busy chasing down his European Tour card that he has yet to play a tournament on the Sunshine Tour’s Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung series.
But that all changes this week as he tees off in the R600,000 event – the fifth of the series – at Vaal de Grace Golf Estate.
“I’m making my debut on the Vodacom Origins series,” he joked ahead of the tournament being played on the 6,711-metre Nick Price designed course on an island in the Vaal River. “I’m going to have to hit the ground running,” he added as he set off on a squeezed-in nine holes of an incomplete reconnaissance mission.
“I’ve only played the course next door, at Parys Golf Club,” he said. “I like the area, but this looks a lot different to the other course. That was a little tighter and this is a bit more modern and open and I’m looking forward to it.”
The globe-trotting six-time Sunshine Tour champion has won twice on this year’s European Challenge Tour, and is safely inside the top 10 of that money list. That lofty position will ensure him of a place on the main European Tour season, but a third win on the Challenge Tour would seal the deal for him.
“I’ve had a little bit of a shoulder problem for about a month,” he said, “so I wasn’t swinging it that well, but that’s all in the past now. I’m hitting it much better now and I’m looking forward to the last stretch of the year.”
He will find the field somewhat unfamiliar as many Sunshine Tour players have taken advantage of the large number of invitations available to them at the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week, but he will still find plenty of strong opposition.
The most recent Sunshine Tour winner in the Vaal de Grace filed is Colin Nel, with whom Roos is paired for the first two rounds. Other winners from the 2014 Sunshine Tour schedule are Titch Moore, Wallie Coetsee, Christiaan Basson, Lyle Rowe, Dean Burmester and Jean Hugo, so Roos will have to be on top of his game to fend those players off.
But then he sets off on his world travels again: “Next week, I’m taking a week off in Hermanus, and then I’m on my way to China,” he said.