22nd June 2015 | IGT Challenge Tour
Kruse in control at Pro Squad Classic
TSWANE, 22 June 2015 – After watching Jordan Spieth go toe-to-toe with his other golfing idols Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen in the US Open, Tshwane amateur Phillip Kruse was so inspired that he produced a little magic of his own to rock into the first round lead of the IGT Tour’s Pro Squad Classic on Monday.
The 19-year-old Woodhill golfer wiped out a double bogey start with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on his front nine at Centurion Country Club. He added a pair of birdies at the second and third holes to finish at the top of the pile with a five-under-par 67.
Kruse leads by one from Derik Ferreira, Juan Swart and Zimbabwean Sheldon Steyn, while fellow amateur Simon Kruger and Paul de Beer are a further shot back.
Conway Kunneke and amateur Michael Jooste tied for seventh on two under, while recent Big Easy Tour winner Bryn Flanagan joined a host of other IGT Tour winners on one under, including Bryandrew and Tyron Roelofsz, Pieter Kruger and last week’s BDGA Academy Classic champion, amateur David McIntyre.
Kruse, who ranks 16th in the South African Golf Association’s Open Amateur standings, represented South Africa against the Scots in the Leopard Trophy last year, but his game has been off the boil this season.
“My mental game was in a slump,” The TuksSport Golf Academy player admitted.
“I’ve been playing well, but my mind-set just wasn’t in the game. It’s tough when you go down that negative spiral and it becomes a habit.
“I’ve been working hard at turning things around mentally and I was really motivated by Spieth. He is so strong mentally and I just fed off that.
“I duffed my second shot at the 10th in the bunker, my opening hole. I thinned the trap shot and three-putted from the front of the green for double bogey, but when I walked to the 11th hole, I told myself to shrug it off. It’s the first time in months I was able to just let the bad shots go.”
Kruse shifted gears with a great par-save at the par-three 11th.
“I hit it 30 meters over the green and the pin was back right,” he said. “I pitched it just in the rough and it rolled to eight feet and I boxed the putt. That was a real momentum changer.”
The young Turk followed the gain at 12 with a string of birdies at 14, 15, 16 and 17.
“I just played really well, especially my short game and my putter was hot,” Kruse said. “I made some amazing putts and holed a couple of long ones to save par coming home.
“I still left a few out there, though, but the greens are incredibly firm. You can’t afford to get too aggressive with the pins. It’s great to be in an attacking position again, but I’m not going to get over-confident. It’s still early days, but I’m moving in the right direction.”
ROUND ONE SCORES
67 – Phillip Kruse (AMA)
68 – Derik Ferreira, Sheldon Steyn ZIM, Juan Swart
69 – Simon Kruger (AMA), Paul De Beer
70 – Conway Kunneke, Michael Jooste (AMA)
71 – Bryn Flanagan, Gideon Pienaar, Bryandrew Roelofsz, David McIntyre (AMA), Pieter Kruger, Tyron Roelofsz, Jeff Inglis ENG, Rupert Kaminski (AMA)
72 – Jandre Fullard (AMA), CJ Levey (AMA), Siphiwe Siphayi, Ian Ansett (AMA), Dylan O’Leary, Andi Dill (AMA)
73 – Hanko Bothma (AMA), Brendan Britten NAM, Carrie Park (AMA), Stephan Erasmus (AMA), Jaco Mouton, Mpho Mafishe, Johan de Beer, Jacques Kruyswijk
74 – Michael Kok (AMA), Joubert Van Eeden (AMA), Herman Minnie
75 – Wim Grobler, Ryan Ciapparelli, Clinton Cheia (AMA), Danie Pretorius, Francesca Cuturi, Heindrich Erasmus (AMA), Desvonde Botes, Norman Beggs, Christiaan Pretorius
76 – Matthew Vogel, Carlos Arroyo (AMA), Gary Daoust (AMA), Jason Ackerman (AMA), Ockert Strydom, Rikus Oosthuizen (AMA)
77 – Kyle Beattie (AMA), Dean O’Riley, Tyrone Ryan, Juan Langeveld, Dougie Meijer, Terence Boardman, Matthew Adams (AMA), Stefan Jordaan (AMA), Eric Nel (AMA)
78 – Jason Diab, Bartjie De Klerk (AMA), Keanan Aysen (AMA), Juran Dreyer (AMA)
79 – Owen Grobler, Ryan Wingrove (AMA), Henning De Jager (AMA), Divan Marais (AMA), Nicholaus Frade (AMA), Cameron Nesmith (AMA)
80 – Michael Armstrong (AMA), David Ashley (AMA), Jacques de Villiers, Alex Krebs (AMA)
81 – Rhoan Gardiner, Peetie Van Der Merwe (AMA), Pieter Muller (AMA), Gerard Du Plooy, Daniel Slabbert (AMA), Nicolaas Erasmus (AMA)
82 – Bernard Hattingh (AMA), Shaun van Tonder, Adriel Poonan (AMA), Angus Ellis-Cole (AMA)
83 – Wesley Baptiste (AMA), Ibraheem Badat (AMA), Ricky Hendler (AMA)
84 – Sean Graham (AMA), Cole Dodgen (AMA), Renier Venter (AMA), David Lamprecht, Michael Petersen (AMA), Albert Venter (AMA)
85 – Morne Wolmarans (AMA)
86 – Shaun Bernstein (AMA), Marais Visagie, Jabu Radebe
87 – Jason Thomas (AMA)
88 – Justin Levy NLD
89 – Thabi Ngcobo (AMA), Khaya Jika
90 – Duan Nagel (AMA)
92 – JP Basson (AMA)
94 – Ramon Rigney
RTD – Tyron McComb