Jacques Kruyswijk is aiming to make an end-of-season surge on the European Challenge Tour – starting at this week’s Kazakhstan Open.
History has shown how important the Almaty event has been, with all of the 12 previous Kazakhstan Open champions going on to earn European Tour cards at the end of the season.
South Africa’s Kruyswijk, himself a winner on the Sunshine Tour, has impressed in his four appearances on the Challenge Tour this term – in particular at the Barclays Kenya Open where he finished tied seventh.
Following a break that has seen the 24 year old not compete since August, and not compete in Europe since June, Kruyswijk arrives at Nurtau Golf Club knowing that a big performance could change his season – and career.
“Now is the time to make a move,” said Kruyswijk, who is currently 139th in the Road to Oman Rankings.
“If you have a good result this week it sets you up really well. There aren’t too many events left this year, but they are all big ones, so if you can capitalise on one of those it can change everything.
“I went home after playing in Denmark in June where it was raining and cold, back to winter in South Africa where it was even colder and I played three tournaments in a row.
“I played really well – I got a top three and was in a position in Sun City the week after where I could have won but I threw it away.
“After another top 15 I took some time off and worked really hard on improving the mental side of my game as well as putting in the work on the range. The game feels fantastic and I feel very refreshed and prepared for this week.
“I just take things week by week but a good result would be a huge confidence booster. I have been working really hard on my game so to see some immediate results would be amazing.
“I just love being back on the Challenge Tour – the way everything is handled on this tour is fantastic. Every time it is a treat coming back, especially this week as the greens are really nice and the fairways are really hard and firm.
“I haven’t played a huge number of Challenge Tour events. I’ve played in four and have made two cuts and been in contention at both those events – the other two I shot under par and missed the cut which shows how competitive it is on this tour.”
Joining Kruyswijk in Almaty for the 13th staging of the Kazakhstan Open is Julien Guerrier. The in-form Frenchman went 48 holes without making a bogey en route to a resounding six-shot victory in Ireland last week.
The 32 year old, who also triumphed at the Hauts de France Golf Open in June, sits in second place in the Rankings and will be looking to rein in Road to Oman leader Aaron Rai with another good result this week.
Also heading to Kazakhstan in fine form is Sweden’s Oscar Lengden. After a top-five finish on the European Tour at the D+D REAL Czech Masters three weeks ago, the 26 year old claimed a maiden Challenge Tour win at the Bridgestone Challenge the following week.
Following a joint runner-up finish in Ireland last week, Lengden will be confident of adding his name to the storied list of Kazakhstan Open winners which includes Tommy Fleetwood and Edoardo Molinari.