6th June 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Kruger birdie-blitz takes control at Sun City
Jbe’ Kruger says he found something at the range this morning and whatever he found worked wonders as the reigning Sun Carnival City champion signed for a birdie-laden eight-under-par 64 in the second round of the Sun City Challenge.
“I found something on the range this morning which made me swing a little bit freer,” he said after admitting that he has not been playing well at all lately. “and, not being scared of the shots that you want to play, that was probably the key.”
While he didn’t equal or better the Gary Player Country Club course record 63 set by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson in 2008 and Ernie Els six years earlier, Kruger’s round was just as scintillating. Starting from the 10th tee, Kruger made two birdies on the trot just to set the tone and make his intentions clear. A par later, he made three more birdies one after the other, before picking up a bogey on his ninth hole, the 18th of the golf course.
That drop didn’t seem to bother the four-time Sunshine Tour winner because he swiftly brushed that mishap aside and went on another three-birdie run at the turn all the way through to the 12th. Those birdies and the one he went on to make on the 15th sandwiched the two pars he picked up along the way, and, after making bogey on the par-three seventh, his 16th, another birdie found its way onto his card.
“From the range, the confidence was already going,” he said of his fast start to the second round. “Because now I could swing freely, which I know I had a problem with the last few months.” That score took his total to five-under for the week and thus giving him a three-shot cushion ahead of the final round.
A round like Kruger’s, laden with 10 birdies on a golf course as tough as the Gary Player Country Club, is spectacular by any standard, and even more so when the closest challenger shoots level par.
That closest competitor was Louis de Jager. His was as eventful around as Kruger’s. Six birdies on his round two scorecard were accompanied by a pair of double-drops and the same number of bogeys. In a round where only six players shot below par, the two-under 70 that De Jager shot in round one proved enough to hand him the second spot on the leaderboard.
Justin Harding, Wallie Coetsee, Neil Schietekat and Ulrich van den Berg all share the third position on one-under but of all four players, it was Van den Berg who shot a score below par, a 71 in round two. Schietekat and Coetsee both signed for a level-par round while Harding finished two-over-par.
Members of the Gary Player Class of 2018-19 Franklin Manchest is in a three-man tie for seventh, while Jacquin Hess and Heinrich Bruiners share 10th with Merrick Bremner and Ockie Strydom.