The three-time Sunshine Tour winner has battled this season, but is hoping that the fond memories from his playoff victory last year will help to turn things around.
“It’s good to have won, but every event is a new one and you have to try to win again. I’ve been working hard on my swing and I made a lot of changes. It’s taken away from my confidence, but I feel well and hopefully this week I can get going,” he said.
This week’s 54-hole tournament is an important one for De Jager, who needs a confidence boost ahead of the second half of the year. The wind is always a factor at the coast and self-belief is crucial when the conditions get blustery.
“It has been a tough year so far, and lately I’ve been making some swing changes, which I’m not totally comfortable with yet. You must always reflect on good memories and I’ll try to remember some of those winning finishes I’ve had and hopefully that can pull me through,” he said.
In 2014 the Vodacom Origins of Golf headed to Wild Coast Sun Country Club, where De Jager took a five-shot lead into the final round. He allowed the competition to claw their way back and in the end won a sudden-death playoff on the 18th hole.
“You learn something after every event. Last year was the first time I’ve had such a big lead, but I lost it and then had to win in a playoff. Coming back like that was a big encouragement for me. It showed me a lot about my character and taught me that it’s not over until it’s over,” he said.
This year the venue is different and so is De Jager’s game. He’ll be looking to make it count and claim the lion’s share of the R650,000 prize fund.
“It’s only the second time I’m defending an event, so it’s quite a new experience for me. There’s a lot of learning to be done, and I’ll see if I can do the same as last year. It’s very nice to be back, but it is a different course, so it doesn’t exactly feel like I’m defending…hopefully that works in my favour,” he said.