Hugo chasing fairytale win
Stellenbosch - Louis Destroo, the director of golf at Stellenbosch Golf Club, could only shake his head as he watched Jean Hugo sign for another bogey-free round and a three-stroke lead through 36 holes in the Vodacom Business Origins Goes Easy tournament on Thursday.
"He's been doing that since we were kids," said Destroo, who was one of Hugo's childhood friends when they used to play this course most afternoons of their lives.
With a flawless 67 to follow on from his opening 66, Hugo is one round away from a fairytale victory at a club that knew him as a young boy with a talent for all sports, and a particular affinity for golf.
Shaun Norris and Jacques Blaauw are his nearest challengers on eight under following impressive rounds of 64 and 65 respectively, while Thabang Simon and Louis de Jager are on seven under.
But playing his "home" course and in this kind of solid form, Hugo will be a hard man to beat on the final day. "I wasn't hitting it that well, but I hit it in the right spots where you should be on this course," Hugo said. "The par fives bother me a bit. I'm only two under for the eight of them. So it could've been better, but 11- under is a good score."
Hugo is certainly aware of the expectation for him to produce the victory this club so desperately wants from him this week. And there is bound to be a big local gallery following him on Friday, including Destroo, who remembers this Hugo kid chipping in a field near his home before deciding to join them on the golf course.
"Before we knew it he was down to a scratch in a ridiculously short time."
With a more modest upbringing than his friends, Hugo started playing with a motley collection of clubs.
"Every second club in his bag was a different make, and he had this old Bobby Locke two iron which he absolutely loved. His bag was also this old, torn white thing. But it never stopped him from beating us all and winning everything in sight as an amateur."
Destroo also remembers how Hugo would pull off some unbelievable shots on the driving range. There was a hint of that on Thursday as well.
On both the par-four 17th and third holes he almost holed his second shots, with both stopping inches from the hole.
There is no doubt that Hugo is enjoying reacquainting himself with one childhood friend in this golf course.
And there are a few others who'd love to see the former boy with the Bobby Locke two iron beat everyone in sight again.