De Jonge set to pounce?

With the biggest cats of the US PGA Tour away at The Open, this week’s True South Classic at Annandale Golf Club is going to be easier to win.

And perhaps no one is better placed to pounce and pick up his first title than Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge, who has been running reasonably hot but not quite doing enough to win during the past month or so.

The burly six-footer has had one top 10 and two top 20 finishes in his last four starts and his earnings so far this year of $1,122,044, have put him top of this week’s field in the FedEx Cup standings (37th).

In all the 32-year-old, 230-pounder has had three third place finishes and 16 top 10s in his 139 career starts and will be keen to use his current good form to earn a breakthrough title on a Mississippi course that was ranked 45 out of 51 in difficulty on last year’s Tour.

Designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1980 and remodelled by him in 2006, the par-72, 7,199-yard long Annandale lay-out, which has been the host of this PGA Tour event for the past 15 years, has 69 sand bunkers and eight water hazards and uses Bermuda grass on its fairways, greens and tees and Kentucky blue in the rough.

Defending champion Chris Kirk is one of the six former winners in this week’s field, the others being Will MacKenzie (2008), DJ Trahan (2006), Heath Slocum (2005), Cameron Beckman (2001) and Steve Lowery (2000).

Along with up-and-coming young gun Kirk, McKenzie and the seasoned Slocum may be the among the best of the potential winners in this group, while outside of it, the form of Ken Duke, who is only one or two places behind De Jonge on the FedEx Cup standings, single him out as another possible True South Classic champion.

Off-shore invaders in the field who stand out as possible front runners on Sunday include Korean-born New Zealand young gun Danny Lee, Australia’s Stuart Appleby, Sweden’s Richard S Johnson and perhaps even former Masters winner Mike Weir – if the little Canadian has been able to shrug away the problems that have, for too long, seen him wallowing in a long, dark slump.