Pieter digs deep for Irene win

15_BET_IRE_RD2_WEBAPieter Kruger overcome a rollercoaster front nine at Irene Country Club on Tuesday and carded 67 to win his first Big Easy Tour title by one shot.

“It was a long time coming, but at least this week was my week. On the back nine I knew what was happening, but I kept focused and the putts dropped, which helped,” he said.

“I started really good, but then had two three-putts and had to keep it going from there. I knew that I was hitting it well, and then on the second nine things started going my way. If I begin to feel good then it becomes a different game, and we start going forward,” he added.

The Pretoria local added an eagle at the 10th while playing through the stretch in 32 strokes, which helped him reach a winning total of six-under-par.

“On the 10th I hit driver and then a five wood from 242 yards. I hit a low cut and it stopped a metre from the flag and I had a tap-in for eagle! From there it was one-way traffic,” he said.

It was a big milestone for the 31-year-old, who finished 18th on the Big Easy Tour Order of Merit in 2014. That year he recorded top-10 finishes at both the Centurion and Kempton Park tournaments.

After an unsuccessful trip to the Sunshine Tour’s 2015 Qualifying School he returned to the Big Easy Tour to continue his grind towards the big stage. This season he has produced three top-15 results before finally lifting a trophy.

This week he stepped up to the moment and shot a final-round 67, which indicated his readiness to contend at a higher level. The Tour Championship begins on the 14th of September and Kruger will be in the thick of it, which is just what he wants.

“I had a tough time at Qualifying School, but hopefully this time around will be a different thing. From here we need to go forward. This is a stepping stone and hopefully next year we can move onto better things,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, however, it was about savouring his first win.

“This is awesome,” he said.

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