He finished the first round of this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf event presented by Samsung at Vaal de Grace on seven-under-par 65, just one shot off the lead, and a victory for Jean Hugo would carry him to a remarkable 11th title on the popular series.
Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that an 11th place finish or better will boost his career winnings from the tournaments to over R1.5-million – and that’s a tidy haul in anyone’s language. That’s in a 16-year Sunshine Tour career which has seen him win R9,248,984.
“I don’t really know what it is about these tournaments that attracts me,” he said. “Obviously I’ve played well in them. I don’t really try and aim to do well in the Vodacom Origins events, but it’s just that they come along when I’m playing well.
“For me, it’s a nice format with the amateurs joining us – it’s a bit different this year, with the amateurs playing with us before the 54-hole tournament. But it’s still a little bit more informal than just professionals all the time. That’s probably the secret for me. It’s a little bit more light-hearted than the other events where we have to concentrate and focus on the course for so long every day. Playing with the amateurs breaks it down a bit and it’s actually fun to play these tournaments.”
Now that he has set himself up for a tilt at yet another trophy in the series, there is work to be done now that the fun of the week is over. “Obviously, this is a good course,” he said. “It’s in very good condition coming out of winter into summer. You can shoot low scores here.”
And everyone knows how low Hugo can go when he gets things rolling. His victory last month in the second leg of the Vodacom Origins of Golf series for this year was achieved with new clubs. “Getting the win in San Lameer with new clubs was great,” he said. “That felt like a new beginning.”
And that sounds ominous for anyone who wants to beat him.