The problem with trying to find out ahead of the 20th Dimension Data Pro-Am whether Jean Hugo is more comfortable on the courses at Fancourt than anywhere else is that his 15 Sunshine Tour victories have come on courses from Arabella to Harare, with one in Mooinooi for good measure.
But his share of second in last year’s Dimension Data Pro-Am is his best performance on The Links at Fancourt, and the Outeniqua and Montagu layouts.
So the man with the kind of game that blew away soon-to-be Masters champion Charl Schwartzel with a course-record 62 at The Els Club Copperleaf in 2010 will have to figure out a way to negotiate his way around the three different layouts ahead of Saturday’s cut, and then to keep his challenge going through the final round on Montagu on Sunday – and that’s a course many players rate as one of the best championship golf courses in the country.
His challenge starts on The Links, which can be an intimidating prospect at the best of times. And with the forecast suggesting there is a 60 percent chance of rain and winds gusting up to 40 kilometres per hour, he will need to take heart from his three-under-par 70 on that course last year if he is to get a solid start that can be built upon on the ‘easier’ two courses ahead of the cut.
In last year’s Dimension Data Pro-Am, he carded a four-under 68 in his opening round on Montagu, with an eagle, three birdies and a bogey, and a bogey-free five-under 67 on Outeniqua, but ground his way around Montagu in the final round to a one-under 71.
Up ahead of him, Tano Goya of Argentina closed with a 68 to hold Hugo, Lucas Bjerregard, Keith Horne and Adilson Da Silva off by a single stroke.
The previous year, in the 2013 Dimension Data Pro-Am, Hugo closed with a 68 on Montagu, and, if he is able to get himself into position to challenge for the lead in the final round again, he will be looking for that kind of performance.
The R4.5-million tournament gets underway on Thursday.