19th October 2017 | Sunshine Tour
‘Mental strength’ gives Hess BET Champs victory
Jacquin Hess entered the final round of the Big Easy Tour Championship tournament held at Observatory Golf Club trailing by five shots, but a strong seven-under-par 65 final round earned him his maiden Big Easy win while also winning the tour’s Order of Merit.
“I showed some guts to come back from a two-shot penalty in round two,” Hess said after his win. “So, that really showed I have something in me to dig deep and just fight back. It was a tough day, but I just told myself ‘just give yourself opportunities’.”
He gave himself plenty of opportunities this week as he began the tournament with a four-under 68 first round that was followed by an indifferent one-under-par second round. His third round was action-packed, consisting of five birdies, an albatross on the par-five 14th and a bogey on 17.
“I’m extremely satisfied,” he said. “On the first hole, I made a good 10-foot putt for par and that set the tone. From there on, it was like riding downhill: all birdies. I don’t know what happened on the par-five (14th where he made that albatross). It was my first time ever. From there all of a sudden I was in the lead and I had to do was to compose myself.
“Mental strength is one of the strongest points in my game and I was lucky to have a mental coach walk with me on in the first round and I played well.”
He needed to keep his emotions in check as overnight leader Coert Groenewald kept the chase alive. “I didn’t watch it at all,” Hess said about Groenewald’s near miss on 18 where, had he birdied that hole, a play-off would be inevitable. “I just went to the locker room to say a prayer. It’s been an incredible journey for me.”
While he admitted that this is his best season in his five years as a professional, Hess had not won anything before and Thursday’s win not only marked his first-ever win but it also delivered him victory in the Order of Merit.
He acknowledged the support he’s received along his development path and particularly the South African Golf Development Board and the Gary Player Class of 2017-18. “I have to thank the Gary Player Class of 2017-18 for what they are doing,” an excited Hess said. “This is another feather in the cap for the Gary Player Class of 2017-18, SA Golf Development Board, SA Students, Boland Golf, and now after five years this is my first win.”
Now, with the Big Easy Tour schedule done and dusted for the season, Hess will have more pressing issues with the main tour’s summer swing around the corner. He refuses to put pressure on himself after this win though, saying his strategy of playing a solid first round and consolidating, and trying to put together an even stronger final round remains his point of reference.