Adilson Da Silva will not defend his title at the KCM Zambia Open and the opportunity will not be lost on Jean Hugo, who tees off in the R1,2-million tournament at Nchanga Golf Club on Thursday.
Hugo has dominated the winter season with three wins on the Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour and will look for glory in Zambia to add to his career total of 13 victories.
His last appearance at the Zambia Open was in 2009, where he tied for sixth and his most recent finish was a tie for 11th at the Platinum Classic in September.
HugoÂs first top-10 of 2011 came at the Dimension Data Pro-Am when he finished in a share of seventh in February, but Hugo showed his liking for the Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour when he took the opening Pretoria Country Club event in May.
He won by three strokes when he finished at 11-under-par, fending off, amongst others, Da Silva, who shared second with George Coetzee.
In June he struggled to catch the front-runners and finished both the Lombard Insurance Classic and the Vodacom Origins of Golf Arabella event at two-under-par.
But the ÂslumpÂ was a motivating factor for Hugo, who has recorded two top-10 finishes in each of the last three months.
On the final day at Simola Golf Estate in July he tore through the front nine in 29 to catch leader Peter Karmis before winning in a playoff.
In the build-up to the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final, Hugo would finish tied third at Wild Coast Sun Country Club and fifth at Sishen Golf Club.
The Final itself was hosted by Legend Safari and Golf Estate, and Hugo stood out when he shot a final round 66 to claim a two-stroke victory over Louis de Jager and Lyle Rowe.
Last month, Hugo also produced a second-place finish at the Telkom PGA Pro-Am after reaching 13-under-par for the tournament.
Mooinooi Golf Club would host the Platinum Classic a fortnight ago, where Hugo shot a second-round 65 and closed the tournament at 11-under-par and tied for 11th.
HugoÂs eight top-10 finishes this year and his dominant build-up to the summer season indicate that he will surely attack the Zambia Open, which has no champion present to defend it.