26th January 2016 | Big Easy IGT Golf
De Jager delighted to dunk putts again
JOHANNESBURG, 26 January 2016 – Centurion’s Louis de Jager is a three-time Sunshine Tour winner, but he felt like an underdog after kicking off the 2016 season with a unexceptional tie for 55th in the SA Open and a short week in the Joburg Open.
However, after an opening five-under-par 65 for a two-shot lead at the IGT Tour’s Killarney Open on Monday, the Copper Leaf pro is calling for more of the same ahead of the European Tour co-sanctioned Tshwane Open in two weeks.
“It’s early days, but that’s more like it,” gushed a delighted De Jager before dashing home from Killarney Country Club to tend to three-month old Luca.
Sunshine Tour rookie MJ Daffue and Matthew Southgate from England tied for second with a pair of 67s, while former Sunshine Tour winner Teboho Sefatsa and Eddie Taylor share fifth on four under.
Siphiwe Siphayi – a 2015 Vusi Ngubeni Q-School graduate – grabbed a seat on bus at three under alongside David Lamprecht, Wayne Stroebel, Neal Herman, Juan Langeveld, Norman Beggs and 2015 Sunshine Tour Q-School winner, Hennie Du Plessis.
De Jager got his round going with birdies at the third and fifth holes and reeled in further gains 12, 15, 16 and 18. Not even the lone bogey at 14 could dent his delight.
“To walk off the course with just one bogey on my card is a massive improvement for me. It’s been a long while since I’ve played such a solid round of golf.”
De Jager struggled off the tee in the first two events this season, but matters were even worse on the greens.
“I am driving the ball a lot better and hitting a lot more fairways and greens,” he said.
“I stuck a new putter in the bag after the Joburg Open and I putted like a dream. The set-up was pretty tough today, but the course is in great condition and I played with a confidence I haven’t felt for a while now.
“I never really had to scramble, which is pretty much all I did at the SA Open and Joburg Open. I missed the green at the par three, but I had a pretty impossible lie in the rough and couldn’t up-and-down, so the bogey didn’t bother me too much.
“The birdies at the two par fives were standard, but the ones on the par fours were quite long. I got some great pace and rhythm with the new putter. It feels good to be knocking a few in for a change.
“I’ve been playing the IGT Tour for a few years now when we are between events or if I am working on my game and it never fails to lift my game.
“I finished third in the Tshwane Open in 2013 at Copper Leaf, but I know Pretoria Country Club like the back of my hand. If I can post a few more rounds like this, I’m confident I can put up some good scores in this year’s Tshwane Open.”