Kruger leads at windy Vodacom Origins

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  • Post published:October 21, 2023

A solid ball-striking day in the relentless wind saw Jbe’ Kruger shoot a two-under-par 68 as he established a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf KwaZulu-Natal event at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club on Friday.

The well-travelled Kruger, who in July won the Shigeo Nagashima Invitational Sega Sammy Cup in Japan, began his first tournament on the Sunshine Tour this season in style as he birdied the par-four first hole.

Back-to-back birdies on the fourth and fifth holes were sandwiched by three-putt bogeys on the par-five third and par-three sixth holes. Kruger collected two more birdies on the back nine, on the par-five 12th and the par-three 17th, but did drop a shot on the par-five 16th.

But the 37-year-old was more than satisfied with his round on a tough day at the Wild Coast Sun, hitting 16 greens in regulation.

“To make an under-par score with the wind the way it was and the tough greens means I could not have played badly. And if I keep hitting the ball like I did today I will be very happy.

“Obviously it helps that I was able to get the ball on the green in regulation most of the time, especially in the wind. I made a couple of pretty long putts and I was actually pleased to only have two three-putts given the wind and the greens.

“I think I’ve only played once before here when it was more windy and I haven’t really felt in form. I’ve been struggling the last few weeks. My golf has been very average so I’m very pleased to start so well out of the blocks,” Kruger said.

Luke Brown also did well in his tussle with the daunting Wild Coast Sun layout, shooting a 69 to share second place with Hennie O’Kennedy and Ruan de Smidt.

Brown bogeyed the second hole, but then birdies on the fourth, seventh and ninth holes saw him make his move. He made a second bogey on the par-five 12th, but thereafter there was an armistice between the Johannesburg golfer and the seaside course, as he parred his way through to the close.

O’Kennedy was level-par through the front nine with two bogeys and two birdies, and he then birdied the par-five 12th to get into red numbers.

De Smidt mixed five birdies with four bogeys and was alone in the lead on three-under before dropping shots on the 15th and 17th holes.

68 – Jbe’ Kruger
69 – Luke Brown, Hennie O’Kennedy, Ruan de Smidt
70 – Vaughn van Deventer
71 – Keenan Davidse, Jared Harvey, Ethan Smith, Haydn Porteous
72 – Doug McGuigan, Louis Albertse, Yurav Premlall, Jaco Van Zyl, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Keagan Thomas, David Wicks
73 – Hayden Griffiths, Brittney-Fay Berger, Jean Hugo, Luke Jerling, Erhard Lambrechts, Jack Hawksby, Toto Thimba Jnr, Kyle De Beer, Otto Van Buynder, Conner Mackenzie
74 – Luke Trocado, Richie O’Donovan, Jake Redman, Ruan Korb, Jovan Rebula, Christiaan Basson, Christiaan Burke, Luca Filippi, Martin Rohwer, Robson Chinhoi, Colin Nel, Michael Hollick, Tristin Galant
75 – Heinrich Bruiners, Mandla Dlamini Jnr, MJ Viljoen, Dylan Naidoo, Merrick Bremner, Kyle Barker, Combrinck Smit, Malcolm Mitchell, Matthew Spacey, Drikus Joubert, Lindani Ndwandwe, Madalitso Muthiya, Franklin Manchest, Rourke van der Spuy, Richard Joubert
76 – Rhys West, Jacques P de Villiers, Jordan Duminy, Pieter Moolman, Ryan Van Velzen, Lyle Rowe, Keegan Mclachlan, Jason Roets, Willie Olivier
77 – Adam Breen, Tandi McCallum, Ruan Conradie, Jonathan Broomhead, Wynand Dingle, Peter Karmis, Karabo Mokoena, Danie Van Niekerk, Ricky Hendler, Martin Vorster, Travis Ladner
78 – Cara Gorlei, Jastice Mashego, Allister de Kock, Sean Bradley
79 – Adriel Poonan, Gerard du Plooy, Joe Long, Stuart Krog, Thanda Mavundla, Makhetha Mazibuko, Ryan Tipping, Ronald Rugumayo, Tyron Davidowitz
80 – Gerhard Pepler, Sabelo Xolani Majola, Nyasha Muyambo, James Mack, Wade Jacobs, Nikhil Rama, Sentanio Minnie, Dylan O’Leary, James Pennington
81 – Ben Firth, Jonathan Waschefort, Chante van Zyl, Ryan Estment, Callum Mowat, Gregory Mckay, Nicholaus Frade, Kyle McClatchie
82 – Neil Schietekat, LB Boshoff, Rigardt Albertse, Michael Kok, Sydney Joseph Wemba, Fezekile Kana
83 – Pierre Pellegrin, Gerhard Trytsman
84 – Keelan van Wyk, Marcel Steyn Scholtz, Leon Visser, Jules Helary
86 – Mutahi Kibugu
87 – Siyanda Mwandla, Dayne Moore
88 – Aneurin Gounden
90 – SP Mthethwa

Photo by Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour