Roos to shine in tour finale
David John previews the Investec Cup and is backing recent Challenge Tour winner Jake Roos to continue his hot streak.
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The conclusion to the Sunshine Tour's Investec Cup takes place this week as the top 30 qualified players shoot it out at the end of a year-long quest.
There are a few quirks thrown into the mix. There is the added pressure of playing for a bonus pool that has been doubled this year to 10m Rand while the first two days are played at the Millvale Private Retreat course before moving onto the Lost City venue at Sun City for two rounds over the weekend.
There are 15,000 points in total on offer heading down the final furlong with 1,500 available to the winner so it is all to play for in terms of who gets what share of the bonus-pool pie.
Jaco Van Zyl came out on top 12 months ago after beating the hard-charging Hennie Otto in a play-off and the man in pole position this time around is England's Ross Fisher.
His impressive recent win at the Tshwane Open vaulted him to the top of the standings and rather forced his hand to add this event to his schedule following an appearance last week in Morocco.
He finished T37 there and add in the jetting up and down Africa means single-figure quotes don't really make much appeal.
George Coetzee continues in his role as pre-tournament favourite at this level after winning the Joburg Open and he has also been a very busy boy of late - even more so than Fisher.
It was no real surprise to see him limping around with a blister on his foot in Morocco and once again I am quite happy to take him on at around the 6/1 mark.
I am going to stick with his compatriots though and a first pick is Jake Roos, who is overflowing with confidence at the moment following a breakthrough win on the Challenge Tour in the Barclays Kenya Open.
The 32-year-old from nearby Pretoria is a multiple winner on the Sunshine Tour but more doors will now be open to him in Europe thanks his a one-shot success in Nairobi.
His efforts in South Africa this year have been good enough to see him qualify for this event in 18th place but with the potential to sort out a nice schedule now for 2014, I can't see him getting too wrapped up in the mathematics concerning the money on offer this week - it looks like a bit of a free hit to me to keep up his good form.
"I've been playing really nicely lately," he said in Kenya and with some form in both this event and the Sun City Challenge, which is staged at the Lost City Course, I think he goes into the week very much in the right frame of mind to get involved.
The gifted Jean Hugo also looks worth a second glance at 40/1 and at seventh currently in the Investec Cup standings, he obviously has a greater chance of getting his hands on a potential 3.5million Rand if coming out on top in the bonus pool.
As mentioned earlier, that will bring about its own additional pressure but Hugo also seems to have his mindset spot-on.
He said: "I am glad I know what I have to do. Millvale is going to be the important course - you have to stay in touch and then attack on the final two rounds at the Lost City."
He feels that recent heavy rains in the area will aid his cause by softening up the sloping fairways to help him keep his ball in play while his recent form (T16-T2-T24) must give him some sort of chance as well.
An opening 65 last year helped him on the way to a T5 and Hugo looks on the brink of another bold display.
I am a big fan of Trevor Fisher Jr and if he can avoid getting in his own way at some stage over the 72 holes then I think he will give us a decent run for our money at 40/1.
He has played some excellent golf in spells during the European Tour's lengthy sojourn to South Africa over the past few months but always seems to ease himself out of real contention with one poor round.
Whether that is down to being aware he can secure his playing rights for two years in the more lucrative European arena only he will know but seven wins in South Africa suggests something is holding him back.
This is very much a home event however and a charge from off the pace in a bid to scoop as much cash as possible should suit Fisher's aggressive style with recent back-to-back top-12s an obvious plus.