7th December 2017 | Sunshine Tour
‘Injured’ Hess aims for the top at Joburg Open
Despite playing with a foot injury he sustained when he was jogging over a month ago, Gary Player Class of 2017-18 member Jacquin Hess says he is oozing confidence and predicts a good tournament for himself at the Joburg Open where he shot a three-under-par 68 opening round at Randpark Golf Club on Thursday.
“I had a solid start today,” Hess noted after his round on the Bushwillow course at Randpark. “I’m kind of nursing a foot injury I got at Simola while I was jogging. But, I am happy with the start because it is always my aim to start well and take things from there.”
He had hoped the two weeks break he took before this tournament would help with the injury but admitted that he still feels pain. And despite all the pain, Hess’s first round consisted of birdies he made on the first, sixth, 10th, 12th and 17th, while he dropped shots on the par-four seventh and 11th holes respectively.
“I had to take off two weeks and see where that would leave me,” he said, “I couldn’t play Mauritius pre-qualifiers because of it but today that didn’t matter. I always try to start well and today I made it, so yes, I am very confident after today’s round. I’ve been playing good and my putter has been fantastic even though I missed two short ones.”
While Hess has not won anything on the main Sunshine Tour circuit – his only win being that Big Easy Tour Championship Observatory event in October – he is adamant that his only objective here this week is to win.
“You have to give yourself opportunities if you want to win a tournament like this,” Hess explained, “and I want to continue giving myself opportunities like I did today because, remember, if you win here or come in the top three, you are going to The Open. Every player wants to go there. I want to go there too.”
He also confessed that being a member of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18, he took a lot of motivation and inspiration when fellow squad member of that squad, Keenan Davidse came in on a share of seventh at this event last season.
“It’s always nice to see one of the guys playing well,” Hess said, “and even today, I looked up at the leaderboard and I saw his name there and I thought ‘come on, Keenan is playing well’ and it shows us all that it can be done.”
The Gary Player Class of 2017-18 is the Sunshine Tour’s main development squad for previously disadvantaged professional golfers and benefits from the longstanding and continued support of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), that was founded in 1999 as the official body for golf development in South Africa, as well as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) in the collective effort to use golf to improve the lives of disadvantaged South Africans.
Hess will be teeing off from the Firethorn course tomorrow where he will hope to better his opening round score to stand a chance of making a cut for this R16.5 million event sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, the European Tour and the Asian Tour.