10th May 2019 | Sunshine Tour
Roos looks ahead to Lombard without Harding
Jake Roos was defeated by Justin Harding in a play-off at last year’s Lombard Insurance Classic, but he is happy that his loss opened doors for Harding who went all the way to the world’s top 50 after excelling in Asia and Europe – and the Masters.
“If you look holistically at it now, I am glad that I lost, because that win enabled Harding to get an invite into Asia and he’s gone there to do really well. So, I think it was all meant to be,” Roos said as he prepares for next week’s event at Royal Swazi Spa Country Club.
He has indelible memories of that final day. His run at the tournament started with a 67, but a 63 from Combrinck Smit and a trio of 65s ahead of him made him believe getting to the top of the leaderboard was going to be difficult. But the 66 on moving day revived his hopes, and he built on that to shoot a closing 63 and find himself in contention.
“It was a good day. I started quite far back last year,” he recalls. “I cannot even remember by how many shots, but I shot 63 to get into the play-off. It was a good result for me either way, because I wasn’t really in contention going to the final round. I then played nicely in the play-off, but I just couldn’t get a birdie on the 18th. All in all, it was a very good day and week for me still.”
Roos, who defeated Harding in a play-off in the 2012 tournament, enjoys playing at the course which is also home to Investec Royal Swazi Open. He has posted a top-10 and three top-20s over the last few years.
“Yes, I like the course quite a lot,” he says. “In fact, I like eSwatini a lot. I like the whole country. People are really nice and the climate is nice. The course is exciting. There is a lot that can happen and there are a lot of opportunities for birdies. I also like the fact that you can be quite aggressive there,” he said.
Roos is busy polishing his putting as he prepares to go back to the course where he finished in a share of second spot two weeks ago at the Investec Royal Swazi Open.
“I am working on my putting a little bit and I am doing a little bit better with it. So, mostly short game and I did some nice work with my coach on my swing. I think that has been steady since last year. I have been trying to get my short game a little bit better and I think it is getting to a better place at this stage. I’ve just got to keep going at it.
“It is tough to expect to win. You have to get in a position where you have a chance, but as I said, I like the course. I will always go back there because I know that I can get going over there. So, at the moment I am just looking to go back there and see if I can get in the running again.”
The Arabella Golf Estate representative looking for his seventh win on tour when he tees off next Friday. He last tasted victory back in 2013 at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, but has been runner-up no fewer than seven times since then.