Jaco needs step up in Czech tournament

It was going quite well for him in July, but Jaco van Zyl will be hoping the three weeks he’s had off from European Tour action will help him get into form in this week’s Czech Open.

He won three tournaments on the Sunshine Tour in 2009 and four in 2010 before earning his European Tour card at the end of 2010 and deciding to campaign in Europe for the majority of 2011.

And he started his European Tour campaign with 27th in last year’s South African Open Championship and fourth in the Africa Open.

But he missed the cut in the Joburg Open and he missed cuts in his first two tournaments outside South Africa in Sicily and Spain.

His performance in the Trophee Hassan II made up for the disappointing start in a big way: He narrowly missed out in a three-way playoff with David Horsey and Rhys Davies. Horsey won, but it appeared that Van Zyl was on track for yet another stellar year.

But it all turned out to be a bit of a struggle as he missed the cut in his next event – and he has missed two more subsequently – and he didn’t manage to pull off a top-20 finish until he got to the Nordea Masters in Sweden in July.

He finished 13th there, despite a closing 79 on a day on which the strong wind made everybody’s lives miserable, and he went two places better in the Irish Open the following week with a eight-under-par tournament total for 11th.

The resurgence has left him in 69th position in the Race to Dubai ahead of the season-ending Dubai World Championship from December 8-11. Only the top 60 players get into the lucrative $7.5 million event, and at its conclusion, those in the top 15 share an extra $7.5 million bonus pool.

Van Zyl’s earnings in Europe are sitting at €283,184, and Angel Cabrera, the man currently in 60th, has €320,742.

The South African has the luxury of knowing Cabrera won’t be earning any euros this week, so breaking into the top 10 in Celadna on the Czech Republic would certainly help him get into position to cement a place for himself in Dubai in December.

Of course, a victory would mean €250,000, taking him close to the top 30 and within a sniff of that final top 15 position with all the money that involves.

But it will take some of that Van Zyl dominance he showed on the Sunshine Tour over the last two years.

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