Kruger takes one-shot lead at Avantha Masters thanks to two eagles

jbe kruger
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Jbe Kruger carded two eagles, two birdies and no bogeys on Saturday to assume the lead in India.
PA Sport and Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012 | 11:58 a.m.

NEW DELHI, India -- Jbe Kruger of South Africa shot a 6-under 66 in the third round of the Avantha Masters to take a one-shot lead in the European Tour event.

Kruger fired two eagles and two birdies in a bogey-free round that helped him finish at 11-under 205, a stroke ahead of overnight leader Peter Whiteford of Scotland and two others.

Whiteford had a 72, while Marcel Siem of Germany shot a 68 and Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet a 69 to join the Scot on 206.

Kruger to put himself in position for his first European Tour title, but will have a host of players snapping at his heels in the final round. The 25-year-old former amateur star picked up two birdies and two eagles in a bogey-free third round at DLF Golf and Country Club to head a congested leaderboard.

Kruger's first eagle came courtesy of a 20-foot putt at the par-5 sixth, with the second arriving when he holed a putt from off the green for a two at the driveable 15th.

While Kruger enjoyed smooth progress over a flawless round, Siem got off to a nightmare start and had to dig deep to overcome double bogeys on each of the first two holes. Whiteford also double-bogeyed Nos. 6 and 17, but remained in contention thanks to his work over the first two rounds.

Lara catapulted himself into contention and shares fifth spot, two strokes off the pace, along with Ireland's Paul McGinley (68), Scotland's Marc Warren (68), Thailand's Prom Meesawat (71), Italy's Andrea Pavan (67) and Australia's Marcus Fraser.

With a total of 14 players within three shots of Kruger, the leader knows he still has it all to do to get over the line on Sunday.

"I'm going to try to play how I played today," he said. "If it's meant to be my week, it'll be mine, so I don't want to think too far ahead yet.

"The putts need to go in and I think that's what defines the winner," he added. "I've been reading the greens a little better as I've been struggling with it during the week.

"My putting has been good and if I can see the line, I'm confident my putts will go in," he added. "I'm improving and I'm a lot more experienced, and I think that will give me the edge."