By Michael Vlismas (@MichaelVlismas)
With a tough victory at Arabella last week still fresh in his mind, Jean Hugo travels to St Francis Links for the Eastern Cape leg of this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung looking for back-to-back wins on this Sunshine Tour series.
Hugo’s victory in the wind and rain at Arabella marked his ninth triumph in the 11-year history of the Vodacom Origins of Golf, which is the local circuit’s single biggest series of pro-am tournaments.
He is the most dominant player in the history of the six-tournament series, having only had three years since his first victory in 2006 where he hasn’t won a tournament.
Hugo’s best performance on the series came in 2011 when he won three tournaments, including the national final, to tie the record for most wins in a single season on the Vodacom Origins of Golf.
And his ability to grind out a victory in almost any circumstances will make him a threat yet again on the challenging St Francis Links layout.
“I have always enjoyed this series,” says Hugo. “I think it’s because we always play such great golf courses. And playing with the amateurs brings another dimension to the week. It’s a bit more relaxed and fun.”
Not one to dwell too much on the past, rather leaving that to his wife and her devoted scrapbooking of newspapers clippings throughout his career, Hugo does have a few moments that stand out as highlights for him on this series.
“My first win in the series was at Arabella in 2006 and everything just seemed to play into my hands as I won the tournament by five strokes. That was a special moment. But I think my favourite was the 2010 event at The Els Club, Copperleaf, when I beat Charl Schwartzel by one shot with a course record of 62. And in 2011 I won three times in one season and had a pretty memorable prizegiving ceremony at the top of the mountain at the Extreme 19th hole at the Legends Resort,” says Hugo.
The 54-hole tournament tees off on Wednesday.