Kruger Stays Alive in Merit Race

Sat 08 Dec 2012

Kruger Stays Alive in Merit Race


Chonburi, Thailand, December 8: South Africa’s Jbe Kruger is a mile behind runaway leader Charl Schwartzel but insisted there was still plenty to play for as he aims to narrow the gap on Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand.

Kruger and Thaworn, who played in the same group, returned matching two-under-par 70s in the third round to share seventh place on seven-under-par 209, 11 shots behind Schwartzel at the US$1 million Asian Tour event.

With two events remaining this season, the slender Kruger, winner of the Avantha Masters in February, trails Thaworn by slightly over US$190,000 in third place on the Merit list. And he hopes to launch a final round charge at Amata Spring Country Club to gather momentum for his Order of Merit bid.

“I’m playing a lot better and hitting it good. I think I putted a lot better. If I can get my mental game better then I’ll probably go lower. I need to feel a bit more relaxed,” said Kruger.

“Hopefully I can cancel out the errors. You never know about the Order of Merit race. The final round will say a lot on where I stand,” added the South African, who traded five birdies against three bogeys.


Thaworn, a three-time winner this year, got off to a fast start in the penultimate round of the Thailand Golf Championship, holing two birdies in three holes before giving back a shot on the par five seventh hole.

He steadied the ship on the back with two birdies and settled for a share of seventh place with playing partner Anirban Lahiri of India, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, defending champion Lee Westwood of England, Bubba Watson of the United States, Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa and Park Hyun-bin of Korea.

“Today was difficult. The wind was strong and the pins on some holes were tough. I made some mistakes with my second shots into the rough on the par fives. This score is good,” said Thaworn.

“Every day I play under par, I’m happy. Some holes, my putts were good and some were bad. I missed some short birdie chances but made a couple of long par putts. That’s golf.”

He will be eager to continue impressing his enthusiastic wife with a good finish as she cheers for him in the comforts of home via the live television broadcast.

“My wife came out yesterday. She’s watching TV today. She just waited on the ninth hole marquee. She likes it when I play good. When I don’t play good, she’s not happy. So I’ve got to make sure I play good all the time,” he smiled.