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28th June 2022 | Big Easy Tour

Hess leads by two at Houghton Golf Club

Jacquin Hess credited a combination of sound decision-making and a brilliant wedge game for his round of 67 on day one of the Altron Big Easy Tour tournament that is underway at Houghton Golf Club.

The Robertson Golf Club member is currently two strokes ahead of the field after the opening round.

“I was a bit disappointed with how I played the back nine at Randpark last week,” reveals Hess, “so I sent my caddie a short motivational video to watch to get us ready for this week. But it’s all down to good decision-making between myself and my caddie, you know. If you’re not clear about how you approach the game, it gets messy very fast. But today, we were clear about every shot we chose and it’s getting better.”

Hess had a shaky start to the round, by his own admission; going one-over after the first three holes. He was quick to rectify this, however, as he birdied the next four holes to move up the leaderboard. He parred the next three holes before finding joy on the 11th, birdieing that hole to take it to four-under with seven holes to play. Three more pars were followed by a brace of birdies which Hess was happy to welcome as he set his sights on the top spot. A par-save on 17 was followed by a bogey on the last, much to Hess’ disappointment.

“I think we were not clear enough on that last hole,” Hess continued. “My caddie wanted me to tee from the right and I wanted to tee from the left and then I didn’t commit to the shot. The ball got blocked out by the tree and I had to take my bogey there.

“I’ve put in a lot of work in the last three years and I’m still learning. But I am beginning to see some rewards now and I have a great caddie, one of the very best on the Sunshine Tour and we keep getting better. We are making good decisions and it was important today because this is a tricky layout. If you’re out of position here, you are going to struggle, even if you hit the greens it’s not easy.”

With eight players just two shots off the pace, including the ever-green Ricky Hendler who has been in scintillating form and Nicholaus Frade who played well too last week at Randpark, Hess knows that the next two rounds will be important if he is to claim his second Altron Big Easy Tour title sooner rather than later.

“It’s important to have a great start in these tournaments and I think Marvin (his caddie) and I started well,” he said, “we learn together. The plan is to win on the Sunshine Tour this season but it would be nice to win another Big Easy title. We were in contention at Reading until the second last hole and last week it was the same thing

“I know it takes a lot of patience but we are getting better. We are not going to force things because that’s when you get inside your own head and start making wrong decisions which may cost you a tournament.”

Frade, Hendler, last week’s winner Adam Breen, Gerhard Pepler, Richard Kruger, Samuel Simpson, Portugal’s Carlos Laranja and member of the recently-launched Papwa Sewgolum Class Nikhil Rama share the second spot on the leaderboard, thanks to rounds 69 for each.

The Big Easy Tour was founded in 2011 with support from Ernie Els and counts current international star Christiaan Bezuidenhout among its former Order of Merit winners.