Jake looks to defend in Mooinooi

His victory last year on the only nine-hole course on which the Sunshine Tour plays propelled Jake Roos to the best season of his career, and he will be looking for more of the same in the Platinum Classic which gets underway on Thursday.


He defeated Anthony Michael and Chris Swanepoel in a play-off last year, and that was the first of three titles on the 2012 Sunshine Tour.


And his 2013 has been impressive too: Victory in the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open and six other top-10 finishes, putting him 11th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit with R875,000 – just one good finish off his best-ever year last year which netted him R955,000.


“It’s really a good course,” said Roos of the 6,250-metre (6,835-yard) layout in the North West Province. “The fairways are in great shape, and the greens are as good as they always are,” he added after playing in a pro-am on the course on Tuesday.


Roos birdied the last two holes in 2012 to get into the play-off and to take his third career title – and the third in a play-off. His other two 2012 victories also came in play-offs, earning him a bit of a reputation of being tough to beat when it comes to the crunch.


After his win in Zimbabwe in April, his best result this year came on the tough Euphoria layout in the Vodacom Origins of Golf series when he finished in a share of second behind Heinrich Bruiners.


As the up-country courses start coming out of winter, the Sunshine Tour players look forward to courses that help them show off their skills in conditions more conducive to spectacular golf.


“I’ve been playing well,” said Roos, “but it’s good to be getting onto fairways and greens like those at Mooinooi, and I hope my form keeps building into the summer tournaments.”


He will find himself challenged by Michael again, who has had an up-and-down sort of year, but pulled off his second top-10 finish of the year last week with and eighth-place finish in the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Parys.


Another player who may give Roos a run for his money is Desvonde Botes: Currently ninth on the Order of Merit, he has seven top-10 finishes behind his name in 2013. His closest shave was his share of second in the Wild Waves Golf Challenge behind two-time winner this year, Andrew Curtlewis.


With his last victory coming seven years ago – almost to the day – a victory would mean a lot to him. He has history on the course: Victories in 1998 and 2000, and second as recently as 2008 are evidence of his ability around the course.


The 54-hole tournament gets underway at 6.40am on Thursday.


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