When Jacques Blaauw tees off this afternoon in the South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club, he will think back on three victories on the Sunshine Tour this season.
It has been a breakthrough year for the 27-year-old Centurion-based professional: After turning professional in 2008, he had to wait until June this year for his maiden victory – and then the floodgates opened as he won twice more.
His last win came just two weeks ahead of the South African Open, and he rides that wave of confidence into a tournament in which his best finish came in 2009 when he had a share of 18th behind champion Richie Ramsay of Scotland.
“It’s good to have a couple of wins under your belt, especially with the unbelievable year that I’ve had,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence coming into this week, the course is looking good and I’m swinging it nicely. Now it’s all about getting the ball in the hole.
“I think golf is all about confidence. If you’re playing well and swinging it nicely then you’ll make a few putts,” he added.
And putting is always a crucial part of scoring well. Blaauw has taken some steps to make sure he keeps doing that well. “I put a new putter in the bag, despite doing really well with my old putter two weeks ago. The ball comes off the face a little softer, which is perfect for the quick greens here,” he said.
For Blaauw, like all the other players in the field, getting that first round out of the way without too much damage is important. But he also knows that he has the ability to make up ground on the field should it be necessary.
“It always helps if you know you can get it done. I’ve come from behind twice now and I’m really chuffed about it. I can do it, so I’m happy about that,” he said. “It shows that I can do it against the field. The SA Open is a bigger field and bigger names, but it’s only golf. Everybody out there can win.”