Kruger ea­gles his way into the Open

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - GRANT WIN­TER

JBE Kruger, pic­tured, was one of four play­ers to qual­ify for this year’s Bri­tish Open dur­ing the Sin­ga­pore Open which fin­ished on Sun­day.

The 51st play­ing of Sin­ga­pore’s na­tional Open, at Sen­tosa Golf Club, was the sec­ond event in The Open Qual­i­fy­ing Se­ries for the 146th Open at Royal Birk­dale which will be played from July 20-23.

The Se­ries of­fers 44 places in golf ’s most in­ter­na­tional Ma­jor cham­pi­onship at lead­ing Tour events across the globe. Kruger, who tied for sec­ond on eight-un­der-par for the 36 holes, owes his place at Royal Birk­dale to a won­der­ful ea­gle at the last af­ter his sec­ond shot skimmed over the sur­round­ing bunkers to land within 20 feet of the pin. Kruger sunk his fi­nal putt to pro­pel him up the leader­board.

The South African is a three-time win­ner on the Sun­shine Tour and will make his sec­ond ap­pear­ance at The Open af­ter play­ing in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

“I’m very ex­cited, it has been a few long years for me since I last played in the Open,” said Kruger.

“I’ll def­i­nitely look back at that ea­gle. To fin­ish birdie, par, ea­gle is very spe­cial.

“It was amaz­ing (play­ing at The Open in 2012). It was prob­a­bly one of my first days of links golf so I didn’t play great.

“I played well the first day and then on the sec­ond I just fell apart. I didn’t re­ally know how to play links golf but I think this time it’s go­ing to be dif­fer­ent – I like it now.”

It was a day to re­mem­ber for 50-year-old Prayad Mark­saeng of Thai­land, who lifted the Sin­ga­pore Open tro­phy af­ter a clos­ing round of 67 (-4) saw him fin­ish at the top of the leader­board on nine-un­der-par.

Ris­ing teenage star Phachara Khong­wat­mai, also of Thai­land and who is 17, and Korea’s Young­han Song – like Kruger they fin­ished on eight un­der – were the other play­ers to qual­ify for Birk­dale.

The next event in The Open Qual­i­fy­ing Se­ries is the Joburg Open in South Africa from Fe­bru­ary 23-26

Three play­ers who fin­ish in the top 10 and ties, and who are not other­wise ex­empt, will earn places at the 146th Open at Royal Birk­dale.

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