Hand of Fate Hangs Over Kruger

Sat 18 Feb 2012

Hand of Fate Hangs Over Kruger

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New Delhi, February 18: South Africa’s Jbe Kruger is leaving his elusive win on the Asian Tour in the hand of fate after he snatched the third round lead with a flawless six-under-par 66 at the Avantha Masters on Saturday.
Kruger, who made his debut on the Asian Tour in 2009, posted a three-day total of 11-under-par 205 to take a one-shot lead over Germany’s Marcel Siem, Scotland’s Peter Whiteford and France’s Jean-Baptiste Gonnet who shared second place after they signed for matching 206s at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Thailand’s Prom Meesawat continued to remain in contention for his second Asian Tour win after a spectacular eagle-three on the closing 18th kept him two back of Kruger in equal fifth with five other players at the Avantha Masters, which is richest tournament staged in India, thanks to its €1.8 million prize fund.
Having started the round five shots off the lead in tied-16th, Kruger birdied the fourth hole before adding another eagle on the sixth hole to turn in 33.
The South African then added another eagle on the 15th hole before charging home convincingly with a closing birdie.
“I’m going to try to play like how I played today. If it’s meant to be my week, it’ll be mine, so I don’t want to think too far yet. The putts need to go in and I think that’s what defines the winner,” said Kruger, who had come close on many occasions, especially in 2010, where he had to settle for the runner-up spot three times.
While Kruger enjoyed another wonderful season with six top-10s to finish fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season, it is that entry into the winner’s circle that would be most satisfying.
“My putting has been good and if I can see the line, I’m confident my putts will go in. I’m improving and I’m a lot more experienced as compared to the time when I started and I think that will give me the edge,” said Kruger.
Whiteford, who held the lead for the opening two rounds, was angry that he could not cement his place at the top after an insipid round.
“I’m raging. I’ve let everyone back in it with that score. If I had managed a three or four under, I would have had a good lead, and I gave myself enough chances to shoot a lower score,” said Whiteford.
“It was disappointing on the 17th because my tee shot landed in a divot and I came up short with a nine-iron. I had enough birdies to keep positive, but overall it’s disappointing,” added the Scot who is seeking his maiden win at the Avantha Masters, which is tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and PGTI.
Prom’s title challenge got back on track after he closed with an eagle on the par-five 18th to keep him in sight of the Kruger.
“It was an amazing finish for me. I had mud on my ball on my second shot and I managed to hit the ball about 30 yards right. The winds were blowing strongly and it helped to turn the ball back. I was lucky there,” said Prom, a one-time winner on the Asian Tour.
“I struck the ball very badly on the front-nine but still managed to get a one-under at the turn. I didn’t putt well on the back-nine as well but the last hole was unbelievable,” added the Thai.
Leading scores after round 3 of the AVANTHA MASTERS 2012 being played at the par 72, 7156 Yards DLF GCC course
205 - Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 70-69-66.
206 - Marcel SIEM (GER) 69-69-68, Jean-Baptiste GONNET (FRA) 68-69-69, Peter WHITEFORD (SCO) 66-68-72.
207 - Jose Manuel LARA (ESP) 74-69-64, Andrea PAVAN (ITA) 69-71-67, Paul MCGINLEY (IRL) 70-69-68, Marc WARREN (SCO) 72-67-68, Marcus FRASER (AUS) 69-69-69, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 72-64-71.
208 - Tano GOYA (ARG) 74-70-64, Rhys DAVIES (WAL) 70-69-69, Alejandro CANIZARES (ESP) 66-73-69, Thorbjorn OLESEN (DEN) 71-67-70, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 70-67-71.
Selected scores
210 - LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 72-72-66, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 69-69-72.
211 - Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 68-70-73, Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 68-69-74.
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), J.Lindeberg (Official Apparel Partner), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Smartphone and Tablet) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.