Jbe’ Kruger ran away with the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open last year and those fond memories came flooding back at Royal Harare Golf Club this week as he prepared to defend his title, starting Thursday.
“I think it’s one of the best events on the Sunshine Tour with the crowds. It’s amazing how the people support golf out here and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
The 28-year-old picked up his third Sunshine Tour victory in Harare last year after shooting 66 on Sunday to edge out Jacques Blaauw by one shot.
“I played amazingly well that Sunday,” said Kruger. “I was five-under through nine and I didn’t make one putt inside five feet – how can you do that? It’s pretty cool,” he said.
“This course is really a thinker’s track and tests all of your game. The greens are very pure and if you hit them on line then they are going in,” he added.
The European Tour champ has shown decent form coming into the week. Three weeks ago he tied for fifth place at the Investec Cup, while at the beginning of March he tied for 24th at the Africa Open.
The Bloemfontein local is no stranger to being in contention and his 38 top-10s on the Sunshine Tour prove it. He has also made the top 15 on the Order of Merit every year since 2010.
“This is a place of miracles for me. I love to be back and, even though I’m not playing my best right now, things can always start from here,” he said.
The return to Royal Harare has been good for Kruger, who played the pre-tournament pro-am on Wednesday. He was eager to get the week underway and see whether he can make it two from two at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open.
“I believe that God is in control and there is a lot of peace to look at it like that. On the day if it’s meant to be it will be, I can only try as hard as I can,” he said.