JbeÂ Kruger will have one last tilt at winning a title on the 2011 Asian Tour when he joins a star-studded field in the inaugural US$1-million Thailand Golf Championship next week.
The diminutive South African made a couple of charges at winning European Tour events on home soil with strong showings in the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the South African Open Championship Â both of which fell short, but he showed he is ready to mix it with golfÂs big guns.
He gets his chance at the season-ending Asian Tour event at Amata Spring Country Club from December 15-18, as he goes up against the likes of Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel, Sergio Garcia, KT Kim, Simon Dyson and Darren Clarke.
And then there is the challenge posed by the other players from the Asian Tour on the top 10 of that Order of Merit, on which Kruger occupies fourth place after a season which included six top-10s.
While Kruger is unlikely to be able to wrest the Order of Merit title from leader Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, he is within reasonable striking distance of SSP Chowrasia of India and Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan, who are in second and third on the list.
It has been a season where Kruger has been accurate tee to green Â he is 10th on the Asian Tour in hitting greens in regulation Â but his putting has left a little to be desired as he lies 100th on that list with an average of 30.8 putts per round.
Kruger will be joined in the field by countrymen Schwartzel, Peter Karmis, James Kamte and Keith Horne.