NEWS
02/19/2012 07:11 EST | Updated 04/20/2012 05:12 EDT

South African Jbe Kruger wins Avantha Masters for 1st European Tour victory

NEW DELHI - Jbe Kruger of South Africa won his first European Tour title on Sunday, protecting his overnight lead by shooting a 3-under 69 for a two-shot victory at the Avantha Masters.

The 25-year-old Kruger made four birdies and overcame a bogey on the 17th to finish with a 14-under total of 274.

Jorge Campillo of Spain and Marcel Siem of Germany were two shots back in a tie for second.

Jose Manuel Lara of Spain and Australian Marcus Fraser finished joint fourth at 11 under.

Kruger finished second on the Asian Tour three times in 2010, while his best previous result on the European Tour was third at the Africa Open the same year.

His best on this year's European Tour has been ninth at the Joburg Open in South Africa.

"I'm relieved to have finally won, but I think I needed those second positions to appreciate this victory," Kruger said. "I kept my feet to the ground and by the time I was on the 14th I knew victory was inevitable. I had kept an eye on the leaderboard because I like to know what's going on," Kruger said.

"There was no pressure even when I made my only bogey of the day on the 17th. The wind probably switched directions as I hit a pretty good shot and it flew about 19 yards off the fairway,"

Kruger said he hoped to improve his performance in the coming months.

"I aim to finish in the top 60 of the European Tour and get as far as I can in the world rankings," added Kruger, who had finished tied 16th here last year.

Meanwhile, Peter Whiteford of Scotland, who held the lead after two rounds, was disqualified for signing a card with an incorrect score in the third round.

While playing his approach shot on the 18th fairway, Whiteford felt his ball may have moved but neither incurred a penalty nor brought it to the notice of officials while signing his card for a 72 that had kept him in joint-second position.

On Sunday the rules committee reviewed the events and determined that Whiteford's ball had moved and he was "disqualified for signing for a score lower than taken."