Jbe Kruger captured his maiden European Tour victory at last week's Avantha Masters and we’re going inside his bag to find out the key to his impressive performance in India.
Despite suffering from a nervy finale on the climactic two holes of Sunday’s fourth round, where he made bogey at the 17th and battled to a trying par at the par five 18th, Kruger closed out a two shot victory over Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Germany’s Marcel Siem to take the €300,000 first prize in New Delhi.
Taking a one shot lead into final day’s play, the 25 year old shot a three under par 69 in the final round and the South African can be thankful for the solid all round game he exhibited throughout the week that drove him onto his third professional victory.
Kruger, who also won the 2009 Zambia Open and the 2010 Zimbabwe Open on the Sunshine Tour, finished in the top 30 in all of the Genworth Statistics categories over the course of the tournament, most notably coming in seventh in Greens in Regulation with 77.8 per cent, a stat that really reflects the quality of his iron and wedge play into the greens in India.
He is obviously particular about his wedge play, evidenced by the four wedges he chose to carry in India last week, becoming the first winner this year to have chosen a quartet of the short-game tools and the above statistic appears to pay testament to the success of the decision.
The Kimberley native also identified his work with the short stick being imperative to his Avantha Masters success, and said, “If you want to win you need to make putts on the final day and I did that today” after hoisting the trophy aloft, and averaged 29 Putts per Round (ranking 18th in the field) with 31 in the final round following consecutive 27-putts in Friday and Saturday’s efforts.
Somewhat surprisingly for a fairly diminutive character, Kruger ranked within the top ten of the Driving Distance category at the DLF Golf and Country Club, finishing the week seventh with a highly impressive 307.6 yard average drive, and some of this could be attributed to the steeper-than-average 7.5 degree loft on his Titleist driver. Mammoth hitting, nonetheless, from the South African.
Although fairly erratic from the tee, on average hitting only 51.8 per cent of fairways, Kruger’s ability to still hit the greens with regularity, and managing to hold them – itself an impressive feat on such hard-pan putting surfaces – could be seen as the defining attribute that helped him achieve a Stroke Average of 68.50 for week, half a stroke better than his nearest rivals Campillo and Siem.
Another notable fact gleaned from looking into Kruger’s bag is the fact the South African did away with a three iron to become the first player to win this season without one in his bag.Here is what he had in his bag:
|Ball ||Titleist, Pro V1 X (11)|
|Driver||Titleist, 910 D3 - 7.5°|
|1st Fairway Wood||Titleist, 910 F - 13.5°|
|1st Utility Club||Titleist, 910 H Tour - 18°|
|3 - 9 Iron ||Titleist, 712 AP2|
|Pitching Wedge||Titleist, 712 AP2|
|Sand Wedge||Titleist, Vokey SM4 - 50°|
Titleist, Vokey SM4 - 56°
|Extra Wedge||Titleist, Vokey SM4 - 64°|
|Putter||Yes! Golf, C-Groove Jennifer|
|T4||LARA, José Manuel||ESP||18||-11|