Jbe’ Kruger opened the Japan Golf Tour’s Japan PGA Championship with a three-under-par 68 on Thursday at Nikko Country Club in Tochigi, Japan to take up position in a share of 11th place.
He made five birdies and two bogeys and was three shots off the lead which was held by Yuta Kinoshita, who had a bogey-free round as he held a one-stroke lead over five players who shared second. There were four players on four-under in a share of seventh.
Kruger, who is 114th on the Japan Golf Tour money list, started his round with two consecutive birdies, but he dropped a shot on the seventh to turn in one-under. He started his second nine in exactly the same way, with birdies on 10 and 11, but he dropped a shot on the 12th. But he picked up a final birdie on the 16th to reach his three-under total.
It was his driving accuracy which kept him in the mix, as he hit all but one of the 14 fairways in regulation. He also putted well, with 1.64 putts per hole putting him in 19th place in the field.