Jbe Kruger is third on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and with two events to go before the season ends heÂll have to produce the goods, starting at the Thailand Golf Championship this weekend.
The 26-year-old from Bloemfontein rocketed to the top of the earnings list with his maiden win at the Avantha Masters, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour. HeÂs since slipped down the list, falling away to the likes of Thaworn Wiratchant, whoÂs played 15 more Asian events than him this season.
With just two events before the end of the season, Kruger must knuckle down and earn his way to the top. HeÂs got a big mountain to climb Â more than $215,000 lies between him and the top of the Asian Order of Merit.
On Friday he put himself in a prime position ahead of the weekend, shooting a second-round 70 to join a seven-way tie for ninth. But Wiratchant is also tied ninth and the competition is as tight as ever.
The Thailand Championship carries a $1-million purse, while next weekÂs Iskandar Johor Open carries $2-million. For Kruger theyÂre the last-chance saloon for him to finish top in the earnings table.
The diminutive golfer could take a lead from countryman Charl Schwartzel, who leads the Thailand Championship heading into the weekend. The 2011 Masters champion followed a Thursday 65 with another 65 on Friday to pull four strokes clear of the field.
HeÂs refound his swing after injury plagued most of his 2012 season. Now the lanky man from Vereeniging, who comes off a second-place finish at the Nedbank Golf Challenge last week, looks like a good bet for victory.