De Jager brings up century as his form returns

Louis de Jager teed off in his 100th Sunshine Tour tournament at 7.15am in round one of the Vodacom Origins of Golf final at The Links Fancourt on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old who plays out of The Els Club Copperleaf turned professional in 2008 after he became the South African amateur champion in both the stroke play and the match play in 2007, and he got his career off to a good start with three top 10s in his opening season.

He finished 70th on the 2008 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit after playing 24 tournaments and earned just over R120,000 in prize money.

His breakthrough came the following year when he won the Suncoast Classic in KwaZulu-Natal, and he added three more top-10s to his list in 2009 when he finished 32nd on the Order of Merit with R397,000.

While he didn’t win in 2010, he finished 42nd on the Order of Merit – a position built on a solid start in the Africa Open. He managed just two top-10s that year, and he seemed to be battling his game throughout.

It was a trend that continued in 2011, although he missed fewer cuts on the Sunshine Tour that year: He finished 34th on the Order of Merit, but it could have been better had he made the cuts in the SA Open and the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

He took some time off in 2012 to go to the US and try his hand on the secondary tour there: He played in three Web.com Tour events, and made the cut in one, finishing in a share of 17th in August in the Midwest Classic.

Back home, he has pulled off four top-10s this year with a share of sixth in the Investec Royal Swazi Open, a share of third in the opening Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Simola, ninth at the Lombard Insurance Classic in Swaziland, and fourth at the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at De Zalze in the Western Cape.

Although he finished in a share of 29th in his last event in South Africa, it was on his return from his stint in the US.

He’s currently 50th on the Order of Merit, but he seems to have returned to the kind of form which made his maiden Sunshine Tour victory back in 2009 such an exciting one.

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