Jbe’ Kruger’s victory at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open last week has kept the 27-year-old in high spirits. He continued to shine during the first round of the Maybank Malaysian Open on Thursday, where he shot 68 to take up fourth place.
The Bloemfontein local broke through in Europe at the 2012 Avantha Masters, but his form waned over the 2013 season. In the new year he’s made a turnaround and missed only one cut thus far.
Kruger has been rising through the year and his latest results show his readiness to compete in Europe once again. At the Investec Cup he finished third, but it was his victory in Zimbabwe that really set the record straight.
Kuala Lumpur Golf Club is quite different from Royal Harare, but Kruger had no difficulty in adjusting on Thursday and made five birdies during the round to take up sole fourth, three shots behind leader Lee Westwood.
The Englishman raced out in 31 stokes and barely slowed during the homeward nine, which secured a one-shot cushion over the Belgian Bomber Nicolas Colsaerts. As always, the Northern Irish were in the mix and Michael Hoey took up third place on five-under.
Kruger made a late bogey at the 17th to slip back to four-under for the first round, but he’s definitely in a good mental space after winning on the Sunshine Tour. If he continues like this it could mean a second Euro title for the ever-smiling South African.