Jake Roos has four top-10s and a win this season and is a promising defending champion at this week’s Lombard Insurance Classic, which tees off at Royal Swazi Sun Country Club from Thursday.
“It’s very nice to be back and I have only good memories from Swaziland. I’ll definitely give it a shot this week, and hopefully the game is there and we can make it two in a row,” he said.
The 32-year-old will certainly have fond memories of his Sunday 63 at Royal Swazi last year, which took him to 17-under-par for the tournament and forced a playoff with 2011 champion Justin Harding.
Victory in Swaziland marked Roos’ fourth win, but he’s improved on the tally since, winning his fifth in a playoff at the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open in November last year.
A month ago the part-time law student took his first regulation victory at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, reaching a 14-under-par total and bringing his career total to six wins.
“Since my Zim win I have not been playing as well as I would have liked, but I feel good this week and hopefully I’ll be up there on Sunday,” he explained.
As always, it’s an understatement from Roos, who finished tied 19th at the Investec Royal Swazi Open a month ago and tied 24th at the Zambia Sugar Open a fortnight ago. It’s that demanding attitude that makes the Irene local such a threat on the course, and this week he’ll certainly look to defend his title.
“You can never expect to win, but I would like to be in contention this week,” he stated. “If I have a chance on Sunday then I’ll feel that I’ve done my best to defend, so my aim is to get myself into a good position for the weekend.”
Drikus Bruyns was a winner in his own right on Thursday after he led the pre-qualifer for the tournament, which offers up the final ten places in the Lombard Insurance Classic field.
The rookie from De Doorns has represented South African on a senior level for tours to Scotland and Argentina. He also finished third in the SA Amateur Stroke Play before turning professional last year.
“I’ve had a tough start to the year, because us rookies have to pre-qualify for a lot of tournaments and it’s sometimes quite difficult to keep grinding. To make it in this week, especially after playing so well, really means a lot to me,” he smiled.
The 20-year-old’s talent showed at Royal Swazi on Thursday, where an eagle at the 12th and birdies at the 17th and 18th formed part of his five-under-par 67.
“Any time you shoot 67 is good, and knowing that I can go deep around this course gives me a lot of confidence for this week,” he explained.