Jbe' wins second Zim Open title

HARARE - Jbe’ Kruger Sunday carded a sensation final round 66 to rally from behind and add his name onto the exclusive list of golfers to have won the Zimbabwe Open twice.

The 2010 Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open champion had a mountain to climb going into the fourth and final 18 holes at Royal Harare Golf Club, five shots behind overnight leader Hayden Porteous.

But a dramatic turn of events that included Porteous’ error-prone final round of one-over-par 73 paved way for a composed Kruger to seal it with a one shot win over second-placed Jacques Blaauw.

Serengeti Golf Estate-based golfer Kruger shot birdies on the second, third, fourth, sixth and eighth holes to close his front nine on 31.

Three birdies and two bogeys on the home nine saw him post 66 to add to his first, second and third round scores of 67, 69, and 68 for a winning total of 18-under-par 270.

Porteous, who had a forgettable round comprising three bogeys and a triple bogey on the 10th hole to throw himself out of the championship equation was not the only one left frustrated.

Second placed Blaauw could have taken the contest for the Zimbabwe Open to a play-off but over hit a five-foot putt on the 18th hole. In the end it was his countryman who sealed it with a one shot win to walk away R285 300 richer.

Kruger was over the moon at winning the Zimbabwe Open for a second time, simply describing the feeling as “amazing.”

“I have a bad couple of outings but this makes all the bad times I have had to go through worthwhile,” said Kruger, who finished tied for 26th at the recently held Telkom Business PGA Championships.

The 27-year-old said he felt no pressure going into the final round despite trailing Porteous by five shots.

“Nothing really, I have won before. I know you have to hit it well and try make birdies in the last couple of holes and if you can make birdies the better, not everyone is going to be able to make birdies.

Kruger felt the 2014 Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open was tightly contested.

“I think this tournament was tougher. I have been playing well recently so my expectation was high so it has been definitely a lot tougher to close off.”

Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s leading golfer Tongo Charamba closed off tied for 10th on nine-under-par 279 after posting a final round 72. The Chapman-based golfer pocketed R30 456 rand for his effort.

Scott Vincent, who won the best amateur award was Zimbabwe’s second highest placed golfer on six-under-par 282. Ryan Cairns finished tied a distant 64 on a total seven-over-par 295. Ignatius Mteketeke closed off tied on position 69 with a total nine-over-par 297.

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