Great opportunity for Jbe

The Macau Open returns to the Asian Tour this year with a record $750,000 prizefund, and Jbe Kruger must perform well to seize his portion of the cash at Macau Golf and Country Club this week.

The 25-year-old Kruger has two career wins on the Sunshine Tour, and is one of only three players with four top-10 finishes in Asia this season, but remains fourth on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.

Kruger has much ground to cover in the 72-hole event should he wish to shorten the $246,528.38 distance between himself and Order of Merit frontrunner Siddikur.

He leads the 2011 statistics for greens in regulation (GIR) and has missed cuts in only two events on the Asian Tour this year, making him a decent pick for the tournament.

The Schoeman Park Golf Club professional also recorded five top-10 results last year, including a trio of second-place finishes, the first of which ended in a playoff between Kruger and Siddikur.

Fellow South African Peter Karmis came fourth in the Queen’s Cup in June, and took second place at the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Simola Golf Estate a month later.

Karmis, with four missed cuts and three top-20 finishes on the Asian Tour, has produced a mixed bag of results this year and must cut his bogey average of 10 per tournament to gain success in Macau.

Tjaart van der Walt and Brazilian Adilson da Silva both contested a five-way playoff for the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic last week and will aim to continue their run of good form.

Kruger’s maiden Asian Tour victory is long overdue, but the Macau Open’s real importance is the chance it gives to lay serious pressure on Siddikur’s hold over the Order of Merit.

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