Ruan de Smidt is hoping to capitalise on the absence of defending champion Jean Hugo to win the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Sishen Golf and Country Club in Kathu, Northern Cape, starting from Thursday.
Hugo posted two wins in this Sunshine Tour series last year – at San Lameer Country Club in KwaZulu-Natal, and at Vaal de Gráce Golf Estate in Parys, Free State.
The defending champion will not put his title on the line as he will be competing in the KLM Open on the European Tour in Spijk, the Netherlands, on the same day.
De Smidt believes Hugo’s no-show will give him the edge he needs to steal the thunder at the three-day Sishen showdown.
“I have been preparing myself quite well ahead of the event through putting and chipping. The competition will be tough, as everyone will be out to give it their best shot on the greens and fairways,” said De Smidt.
“In the absence of Hugo, I should come up tops. I’m in great form.”
The 26-year-old from Krugersdorp has had a fair season on the local tour this year, despite the fact that he has not won anything. His last victory was at the Nedbank Affinity Cup at The Palace of the Lost City in November, where he came in first at the play-offs after shooting under par nine.
Last Friday, De Smidt finished second behind Jaco Ahlers after carding -14 for 196 at the Wild Coast Sun Classic challenge.
A week before, he came sixth in the Vodacom Origins at Arabella Country Club in the Western Cape.
De Smidt also trailed winner Titch Moore at the Investec Royal Swazi Open after recording 14 points at the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club in May.
Now he is poised to record his first victory this year.
“The Sunshine Tour season is coming to an end soon. It would be nice to win the Vodacom Origins of Golf title. And this one is for me,” said De Smidt.
Other golfers who will be out to impress include Toto Thimba Jr and Dean Burmester.
Thimba Jr has been playing consistently, but his putting has often let him down. He will be looking to make an impression at Sishen.
Burmester captured the Vodacom Origins of Golf title at Koro Creek Bushveld Golf Estate in Modimolle, Limpopo, in October last year. This might well be another win for him.