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Kruger collects maiden victory on home soil

Kruger

Jbe’ Kruger hit a nine-iron approach shot on the 18th hole from 162 metres to within two feet of the flag to make birdie and win the Sun Carnival City Challenge by a single shot at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate on Friday.

It looked like the tournament would be decided through a play-off when Kruger – who was level with Neil Schietekat and JJ Senekal on 10-under – made par on 17. However, after placing his tee shot in the middle of the fairway on 18, he fired his nine-iron to within close range and needed a simple tap-in to claim victory on his home course.

In a final round, where things became tight very early on at the top, and where only one shot separated the leader from the chasing top 10 players, Kruger shot two-under-par 70 to total 11-under-par 205 and win his fourth Sunshine Tour event. The win is also his maiden victory on home soil, as he won all three previous titles outside South Africa.

‘On the last hole, I knew I had to make the birdie,’ he said of that approach shot on 18, ‘I hit my best shot of the day, it came out perfectly. The wind just drifted it back a little bit. I had a look at that flag yesterday and I saw it was on a downslope, so you have to almost try and pitch it long.’

He had to hold his composure, because on 10-under par, Schietekat and Senekal were poised to accompany him to the play-off hole if he had dropped that shot. ‘I knew I could always win,’ said Kruger. ‘I mean I know this course backwards.’

It has been three years since Kruger won a Sunshine Tour event, when he clinched the Golden Pilsner Zimbabwe Open in 2014, but a series of strong performances have delivered him a win on his home course, in his home country.

The duo of Schietekat and Senekal put up a solid fight in the final round, having come from three shots behind the leader in round two to share the second spot on the last day.

Veteran Hennie Otto, the resurgent Jake Roos and Callum Mowat, along with Anthony Michael share fourth on nine-under-par.

Jean Hugo, outgoing champion Ruan de Smidt and Ockie Strydom, make up the top-10 on eight-under-par 208.

Picture of Kruger courtesy of  Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

FINAL SCORES
205 – Jbe’ Kruger 66 69 70
206 – Neil Schietekat 68 70 68, JJ Senekal 68 70 68
207 – Hennie Otto 69 71 67, Jake Roos 73 66 68, Callum Mowat 72 66 69, Anthony Michael 67 70 70
208 – Jean Hugo 68 71 69, Ockie Strydom 72 66 70, Ruan de Smidt 69 68 71
209 – Jonathan Agren 68 72 69
210 – Mark Williams 73 67 70, Jason Froneman 70 70 70, Tyrone Ferreira 73 66 71, JC Ritchie 69 70 71
211 – Theunis Spangenberg 68 72 71, Michael Palmer 69 69 73, Titch Moore 67 69 75|
212 – Jacques Kruyswijk 68 75 69, Chris Swanepoel 70 72 70, Zack Byrd 72 69 71, Mark Murless 70 71 71, Hennie du Plessis 65 72 75, Louis de Jager 70 67 75
213 – Christiaan Basson 75 69 69, Ulrich van den Berg 72 71 70, Jared Harvey 71 71 71
214 – N.J. Arnoldi 73 69 72, Keith Horne 72 67 75
215 – Doug McGuigan 72 71 72, Merrick Bremner 70 67 78
216 – Musiwalo Nethunzwi 74 68 74, James Kamte 67 72 77
217 – Andrew van der Knaap 72 72 73, Scott Campbell 72 71 74, Wynand Dingle 72 69 76
219 – Stuart Smith 74 70 75
220 – Aubrey Beckley 73 71 76
224 – Antonio Rosado 74 70 80
225 – Dayne Moore 76 68 81


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