Foot to the floor as Jean wins Vodacom Origins Final

Jean Hugo put his foot to the floor round the turn on Friday to cruise to a two-stroke victory in the R600,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at Legend Golf & Safari Estate.

The 35-year-old took his third title in the 2011 series, becoming the third player to do it after Thomas Aiken in 2004 and Brandon Pieters in 2009, holding off Louis de Jager and Lyle Row with his eight-under-par total of 208 for the 54 holes.

He made four consecutive birdies around the turn to sweep past the faltering 36-hole leader Trevor Fisher Jnr and turn the tournament into a two-horse race between himself and De Jager.

De Jager had launched a charge of his own with three birdies in the four holes around the turn, but, in the end, after he and Hugo traded bogeys on the homeward nine – De Jager at 12 and Hugo at 13 – it was Hugo’s experience that kicked in and two more birdies on his way home saw him card a six-under-par 66.

That turned the five-shot deficit he had on Fisher overnight to his 13 Sunshine Tour victory.

“It was certainly a deliberate decision to get a move on around the turn,” said Hugo. “Sometimes, even if the people chasing can catch you, it’s important to put a score up there that might feel a little intimidating.”

The decision came after he had nearly squandered the early progress he had made with two birdies in the notoriously difficult opening five holes.

“I made a silly bogey at six,” he said, “and then I knew I had to do something different.”

He birdied the stretch from eight to 11, and that pretty well sealed things for a player of his calibre.

For the second year in a row, he has won three tournaments on the Sunshine Tour, and with plenty of other opportunities still ahead of him, he should do even better before he leaves for Europe to try his hand in the Final Stage of the Qualifying School at the end of November.

“I want to do better this year than I did last year,” said Hugo. “And it’s nice for me that I have won three of the Vodacom Origins series – the courses they are played on just seem to suit me.

“They are long and fairly open, but they still require shot-making, which is great for my game,” he added.

Rowe got his third top 10 of the season with his closing 69, and his share of second place was better than his share of 10th in last week’s Northern Cape Classic and his sixth in May’s Nashua Golf Challenge.

Fisher ballooned out to four-over through 12 holes, but he pulled two shots back with birdies on 17 and 18 to finish in a share of fourth with Charl Coetzee.

Rookie Dean O’Riley and Ockie Strydom shared sixth on four-under-par.

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