Jaco van Zyl heads to Le Golf National this week, where he carded a Saturday 64 to lead the Open de France by two strokes last year. The 37-year-old battled during the final round and finished third.
On Thursday he’ll tackle the Parisian golf course looking for an overdue maiden win on the European Tour.
‘It was a demanding golf course and I played really nicely,’ said Van Zyl of his 2015 showing. ‘To be in that position on Sunday was fun, but I was unfortunate and had a slow day.’
‘It’s a phenomenal golf course to play,’ he added. ‘I’ve been hitting it really well recently, but battling with the putter. I’ve been working hard on that, so hopefully it comes together this week.’
In the last fortnight the world number 62 has missed the cut at the BMW International Open and the US Open, but prior to that he tied for seventh at the BMW PGA Championship.
His fond memories of Le Golf National will provide a confidence boost going into the € 3,5-million tournament, which features Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett.
Van Zyl has been in the top three at nine different European Tour events, but remains winless. He was runner-up twice last year (at the Joburg Open and Turkish Airlines Open) and this season has been in the top 10 on three occasions.
The South African is a solid all-around golfer and has twice won the Sunshine Tour award for best stroke average. He ranks within the top 50 on the European Tour for driving accuracy and is 18th for sand saves.
He’s struggled with greens in regulation this season and averages 67 percent, which will need improvement this week, considering the strength of the field assembled for one of the oldest tournaments on the European Tour.