Cape Town - Jean Hugo eagled the 18th at Lost City Golf Course on Tuesday to finish day one of the Nedbank Affinity Cup with a two-shot lead on six-under-par.
“The eagle on the last capped it off. I hit a nice drive and then a good five-iron to about 18 feet. The wind was off the left and hurting a bit. I had 194 metres into the green and to fly the water was 180, so five-iron worked out to be a good club for the shot. I finished strong and I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said.
The 39-year-old had only two blemishes on his card, but relied on his experience to pull through the tough patch and made the clubhouse tied for the lead with Ryan Tipping, Andrew Curlewis, and Rourke van der Spuy.
“There are some difficult holes out here and you are faced with some tricky choices, especially when the wind swirls,” said Hugo. “Once you’ve made your decision you have to trust it, because you can’t change things once you’ve hit it.”
The Centurion local has been one of the standout players on tour this year and currently ranks 11th on the Order of Merit having made 16 cuts in 19 starts.
“The rest of the week will be tough, but I’m playing well. I’ve had a lot of top 10's this year, nine out of the 16 cuts I’ve made with two wins in there. It’s been a good year and it would be nice to pull this one off,” said the sixth-most prolific winner in the history of the Sunshine Tour.
The field includes European Tour members Darren Fichardt, Tjaart van der Walt, Jbe’ Kruger, and Justin Walters, which has upped the ante in Sun City.
Hugo was happy to contend against players of that calibre.
“We’ve got the seasoned campaigners up there and I’m excited for the next two rounds. There are a few big weeks coming up and I’m trying to ease into that stretch over the next few days. Shooting 66 was a great way to head into summer,” he said.
Tipping, meanwhile, was relishing the chance to take on the Sunshine Tour’s top dogs.
“It’s nice to have the boys back from Europe and I’m happy to be in contention with such a strong field. I’m trying to enjoy golf a bit more, because I’ve been placing too much pressure on my results. It’s working so far,” he said.