Kruger owns slim lead at Avantha Masters

Jbe' Kruger carded a six-under 66 in the stroke lead after 54 holes of the Avantha Masters.

Kruger finished three rounds at 11-under-par 205, but there are 18 players within four strokes of his lead. Kruger will go for his first European Tour victory on Sunday.

Germany's Marcel Siem posted a four-under 68 to move into a share of second place at minus-10. He was joined there by Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (69) and second-round leader Peter Whiteford (72).

Jose Manuel Lara fired an eight-under 64 to match the low round of the day at DLF Golf and Country Club. He soared 38 spots into a tie for fifth place at nine-under-par 207, joined there by five other players.

Kruger started the day five strokes off the lead and tied for 16th. He parred the first three holes before making birdie on the fourth for the second day in a row.

The South African rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-five sixth to move to minus-eight and cruised to eight consecutive pars from the seventh to the 14th.

Kruger, 25, rolled in another eagle effort from off the green at the short par-four 15th jump to minus-10, then closed with a birdie on the par-five 18th to move into the lead. He has played the 18th at four-under through three rounds.

"I'm going to try to play how I played today. If it's meant to be my week, it'll be mine, so I don't want to think too far ahead yet," admitted Kruger, who has two wins on the Sunshine Tour.

Siem overcame a horrible start that saw him double-bogey the first two holes. He was all the way back to minus-two at the point, but fought back with three birdies in a four-hole span from the third.

The German tripped to a bogey on the seventh, but came back with a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at five-under.

Siem again had three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the 12th. After dropping a shot on 16, he birdied No. 17 for the third straight round and eagled the last to grab a share of second place.

Gonnet bogeyed the first two holes, but came back with birdies on the third and sixth. Around the turn, he bogeyed 11 and 12 to slip to minus-five. However, he birdied five of the last six holes to climb to 10-under.

Whiteford also had an inconsistent round. His front nine included three birdies and a double-bogey on the fifth. He has played No. 5 in four-over par through three rounds.

Around the turn, Whiteford had two bogeys and two birdies in the first five holes. After a birdie on 15 gave Whiteford the lead at 12-under, he faltered to a double-bogey at the 17th and parred the last to end one back.

Lara was joined in fifth place by Paul McGinley (68), Prom Meesawat (71), Marcus Fraser (69), Marc Warren (68) and Andrea Pavan (67).

NOTES: Of the top four players on the leaderboard, only Siem has a European Tour win and that came at the 2004 Dunhill Championships...Defending champion S.S.P. Chowrasia struggled to a three-over 75 to slide into a share of 58th.