The last time Rhys West played at Arabella Golf and Country Estate, he finished second behind Jean Hugo, so he will be hopeful of a repeat performance in this year’s Vodacom Origins of Golf event which gets underway there on Thursday.
He had to qualify for that tournament in 2014, and he opened with a five-under-par 67, and then the tournament was shortened from 54 holes to 36 because of high winds. He closed with a one-under 71 to finish one stroke behind Hugo, who is the most prolific winner ever on the Vodacom Origins of Golf series with 11 titles to his credit.
In 2014, West was a rookie and had to qualify for most of the tournaments in which he played, but that gave him the incentive to go low as often as the chance arose. “Having to qualify teaches you to go low,” he said. “In my amateur career, and when I started as a pro, I tried to protect myself against par, and in qualifiers you’ve got to go under par or you’re not going to be playing – so I’d say it’s taught me to go low.”
It’s been a mixed bag of results for him this year, with his biggest cheque coming from his share of 12th in the Joburg Open, and his best result a share of eighth in the Lombard Insurance Classic in Swaziland.
So he will draw on his good Arabella memories this week to break a run of two missed cuts – and he will take heart from the fact that Hugo is not in the field this week.