Krog takes positives from runner-up finish in FNB Eswatini Challenge

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ESWATINI, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 29: Stuart Krog during round 3 of the FNB Eswatini Challenge at Nkonyeni on July 29, 2023 in Nkonyeni, Eswatini. EDITOR'S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

Harare – Zimbabwean professional golfer Stuart Krog didn’t raise the trophy Saturday at the FNB Eswatini Challenge but has a lot to be happy about following his runner-up finish in Eswatini.

With a final-round 3-under 69 at the Nkonyeni Lodge and Golf Estate, Krog finished in solo second at nine under, one shot behind winner Peter Karmis from Greece.

It’s Krog best result since earning his Sunshine Tour card three months ago and almost assures his playing privileges on tour next season.

The gifted 27-year-old Zimbabwean rookie relished the opportunity to be in contention for the first time on the Sunshine Tour as he overcame a six shot deficit to brifely take the lead in the final round before coming short by one stroke.

“The week was an awesome experience,” Krog said in an interview with ZimSportLive.

“It was great to be in contention unfortunately coming up just short. This was a great learning experience and will set up the rest of my year nicely to keep moving up the order of merit.

“Starting the final round six shots back my goal was just to give myself a chance so at the end of the day I did that and I can hold my head high. I am now almost certain to keep by tour card for next season so it feels good to have some security heading into the rest of the season,” Krog said.

Meawhile it was an emotional win for tje 42-year-old Karmis as he celebrated his first Sunshine Tour victory since August 2018.

ESWATINI, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 29: Peter Karmis during round 3 of the FNB Eswatini Challenge at Nkonyeni on July 29, 2023 in Nkonyeni, Eswatini. EDITOR’S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

The experienced South-African born Greek star showed his experience as he finished with three straight pars, while Krog suffered a costly double-bogey on the par-four 16th hole.

“You need a bit of luck and things went my way, especially at the death,” Karmis said. “I was trying not to get too excited and on the last couple of holes I was very nervous,” Karmis said.

“Some guys shy away from nerves, they try and fix it, but that can become very difficult. I prefer to embrace it and enjoy the nerves.

“I know it’s been five years since I won, but we were in lockdown for a long time and I had a struggle with injury. So it feels like I had three years off,” Karmis said.

Karmis fired a two-under-par 70 in Saturday’s final round to finish on 10-under-par overall, edging out Krog (69) on nine-under for his seventh Sunshine Tour title.

Matthew Spacey, who enjoyed a four-stroke lead going into the last day, stumbled to a 76 on Saturday and ended up sharing third place on eight-under-par with Louis Albertse (67), last week’s winner CJ du Plessis (68) and Ruan Korb (69).

 

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