Hugo looks to go one better in Nashua Challenge

He was tied second in last the Nashua Golf Challenge last year, and Jean Hugo is just the kind of player who can win this year’s tournament which gets underway at the Gary Player Country Club on Thursday.

Hugo was runner-up last year with PH McIntyre to Jaco van Zyl, and with Van Zyl in Spain this week attempting to cash in on earning his European Tour card after winning four times on the Sunshine Tour in 2010, his chances look good.

The 7,162-metre layout demands length off the tee and accuracy, and the contenders in the R500,000 tournament will be pleased the rough is not too punitive despite heavy summer rains in the area.

Hugo didn’t have a great tournament at last week’s Investec Royal Swazi Open with a share of 41st place, but he has the ability to refocus and it showed as he won three times on the Sunshine Tour last year.

He also had two other runner-up finishes and three more top-10s in a superlative season.

He will have the form of players like Justin Walters, Divan van den Heever and Christiaan Basson to contend with, the trio which topped the leaderboard in Swaziland.

Walters won, and he is long enough off the tee, but he will have to tame his big draw to stay out of trouble this week.

Van den Heever is a likely candidate, with length and accuracy going for him, and if he converts some of the many chances he creates for himself, he could be tough to stop.

Basson has been in contention in two tournaments this year – the MTC Namibia PGA Championship and last week in Swaziland – and he will be anxious to get a second victory after he won the 2009 Coca-Cola Championship.

The course is not playing easily: Lyle Rowe led the qualifying round with his two-under-par 70, but he battled through the opening nine before picking up four birdies on the back nine to lead Adrian Ford by one stroke and two from Nic Henning and Mark Fensham.

The other qualifiers were Sean Farrell, Stuart Clark, Derik Ferreira, Attie Schwartzel, Callie Swart and Jeff Inglis.

The Nashua Golf Challenge will be played over 54 holes from Thursday, finishing on Saturday.

© 2016 Sunshine Tour. All rights reserved. Website constructed by OCS Sport