Last time he was in Russia, Jake Roos missed the cut in the 2010 M2M Russian Challenge Cup, but he returns this year a substantially better and more confident player.
For starters, he has four more Sunshine Tour titles to his credit. Three of those came from play-offs, but his latest, in the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, was the first of his six victories to come in regulation play. That was an indication of how much more dominant he can be when he hits his straps these days.
So it’s appropriate that the event has become the M2M Russian Open and is a fully-fledged European Tour event, as opposed to the Challenge Tour tournament Roos played back in 2010 at the Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club in the Moscow region.
Last time, Roos was the only South African in the field. In 2013, he will have the company of Haydn Porteous, who will be making his professional debut, as well as fellow-South Africans Justin Walters, Tjaart van der Walt, James Kingston and Oliver Bekker.
There are other things that are different in Roos’ life too: Besides getting married to Rhone in 2011, and the birth of his daughter, he has started studying law to get a second degree to add to his B.Comm from Stellenbosch University.
One of the reasons he was able to get an invitation to the Russian Open was his performance in the inaugural Tshwane Open in February, where four rounds in the 60s saw him finish in a share of 10th behind winner Dawie van der Walt for his biggest cheque of 2013 so far, a pay day which sees him in 12th spot on the Order of Merit.
That puts him on track to eclipse his 2012 performance on the Sunshine Tour, when he finished 13th.
One of the things that will help him is developing confidence from a good performance on the European Tour – and Russia seems to be as good a place as any for that.