He was headed off from The Els Club Copperleaf on Friday for a little afternoon nap, but Jake Roos figured he’d earned it after a fine seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the €1.5-million Tshwane Open co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour.
With the course playing at 7,281 metres (7,964 yards) which is the longest in European Tour history, it was hardly surprising that Roos felt the need for a little rest – not that he had spent too much time in the rough.
He made seven birdies and not a single dropped shot in his 65, equalling the best round of the day and moving into a share of fourth place, two shots off the lead held by South African Open champion Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark.
Familiarity was part of the secret of his success. “I don’t live too far away from here,” he said, “so I come out here every now and then and I like the course.
“It’s playing very long at the moment, and the fairways are soft from the rain, so the ball is not really rolling either. It’s quite deceptive, because if you shoot to the right area, it will stop. But it’s very demanding – you’ve got to be on your game.
“And that fourth hole’s a beast, and if you walk through the rough, it’s quite soft and thick, so it does tire you out – I think I’m going to have a nice nap this afternoon,” he laughed.
The difficulty of the course was underlined by the fact that he birdied just one of the four par-fives in his 65: He made four on the 602-metre (658-yard) 11th.
The rest of his round was impressive, but he wasn’t entirely satisfied. “When you play well, you feel like you see lots of opportunities, and it’s almost as if you’ve left one or two out there,” he said.
Inevitably, those one or two can be found in putting. “I’ve been rolling the ball well for a couple of weeks now, but they just haven’t been going in,” he said. “I’ve managed to drop one or two this week, but none of them really long. I’ve hit the ball really solid and I’ve had a couple of six- to eight-footers.
“My iron play has been good – I’m happy with that,” he added.
Roos has won six tournaments on the Sunshine Tour. His first five came in play-offs, showing he has the temperament to win in tight situations, and his most recent came in the 2013 Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open where he won by one over Darren Fichardt and Italy’s Francesco Laporta.
A win in a co-sanctioned event would be huge for him. “The thing is, you’ve just got to play,” he said. “It’s just another tournament and you can’t try and do anything different. That’s the mistake a lot of people make. It’s the same game, so I’m just going to keep doing the same things. The more you play high-pressure situations, the more comfortable you get. That seems to have got me where I am now.”
More of the same could see him lift the trophy for South Africa’s richest tournament.