DURBAN, South Africa – Louis de Jager’s recent wave of success could not have come at a better time as he prepares to defend the Suncoast Classic title this weekend.
After struggling much of the year, Jager has back-to-back fourth-place finishes in his last two tournaments – the Vodacom Business-Stellenbosch and SAA Pro-Am Invitational, both in September.
Last year, Jager’s maiden Sunshine Tour victory didn’t come easy: His tee shot on No. 18 landed against a building in an unplayable position. He got relief from his position, but the free drop was again unplayable and he had to take another drop – this time with penalty. On the green in 3, he two-putted for bogey, but it still was enough defeat Chris Swanepoel by two strokes.
This week sees the return of Keith Horne from the Asian Tour, since there is no tournament on that circuit this week. Horne, No. 2 on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, looks to add some distance between himself and No. 3 Jbe’ Kruger, who opted not to return from Asia for this event.
The most-noteworthy regular missing from this week’s field is Jaco van Zyl, No. 5 in earnings, who accepted an invite to this week’s European Challenge Tour event in Egypt, where he will face a field that includes Ryder Cupper Rory McIlroy.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Suncoast Classic returns to historic Durban Country Club, which also will host the 100th SA Open in December.
Durban was shaped from the bush and dunes of the Indian Ocean coast in the early 1920s by course designers Laurie Waters and George Waterman, who apprenticed under Old Tom Morris before immigrating to South Africa in the early 1900s.
The Sunshine Tour contributed to this report.