Van Zyl looking for Telkom PGA Championship repeat

Jaco van Zyl will be looking to extend his status as one of the most consistent performers on the Sunshine Tour over the past five seasons with a second Telkom PGA Championship at Country Club Johannesburg this week.

Since 2008, nobody has really been able to match Van Zyl for consistency on the local circuit, and particularly not when it comes to the Telkom tournaments.

Van Zyl has twice finished second in this tournament in 2007 and 2008, won the Telkom PGA Pro-Am three years in succession from 2009 to 2011 and with his victory in the 2009 Telkom PGA Championship, became only the second player after Michiel Bothma to claim the elusive “double” by winning both the PGA Championship and Pro-Am.

But it is his overall consistency that has placed Van Zyl in a class of his own.

The trend started in 2008 when Van Zyl captured one title and eight top 10s, and improved in 2009 with three victories and nine top 10s. It was the first time Van Zyl broke into the top 10 on the final Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and he has not once finished outside the top seven since.

In November he tied for second at the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open and claimed a top eight finish at the Nelson Mandela Championship to finish the 2012 season ranked third on the local Tour and 64th on the final Race to Dubai. He was off to a flying start in January with a tie for 11th at the Joburg Open, followed by a share of second at the Africa Open before capturing his 11th Sunshine Tour victory at the Dimension Data Pro-Am.

Currently ranked fourth on the Sunshine Tour’s money list and second in the Chase to the Investec Cup, another Telkom PGA Championship title this week will undoubtedly confirm that on the local circuit there are few who can touch Van Zyl.

But the 34-year-old is quick to caution against complacency.

“It’s nice to be known as Mr Consistency, but I have to work hard to keep that title,” Van Zyl said.

“If I’ve learned anything it is that you must never allow yourself to get to a stage where you think that you are on top of everything. Just take what happened in the final round of the Africa Open. Things can change in a wink and turn the other way really quickly.

“I’m definitely going to go out there and try to win the Telkom PGA Championship again, but I won’t get ahead of myself. You can’t allow yourself to lose focus; you need to stay in the moment, because statistics don’t help you when things go south.”

The R3 750 000 Telkom PGA Championship will be played at Country Club Johannesburg from 14-17 March and the line-up will also feature Africa Open winner and Tshwane Open runner-up Darren Fichardt, Cape Town Open champion Jake Roos, Joburg Open winner Richard Sterne, past champions Michiel Bothma and Keith Horne, as well as other top ranked players from the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit including Trevor Fisher Jnr, Garth Mulroy, Louis de Jager and Desvonde Botes.

By Lali Stander

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