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Thursday 14 December 2017

Eagle-eyed viewers sink Whiteford as Kruger is king

JBE Kruger claimed a maiden European Tour victory at the Avantha Masters in New Delhi on a day that saw Scotland's Peter Whiteford disqualified.

Though the rules breach happeneded on the 18th fairway on Saturday, it was brought to the attention of officials by emails sent by television viewers to the European Tour website overnight.

Whiteford, one off the lead at the start of the day, was removed from contention after television replays of his third shot to the 18th showed that his ball had rolled a fraction before he played to the green. As he had signed his card it meant disqualification.

Officials reviewed the matter as the 31-year-old from Kirkcaldy, who had led after the first and second days, began the final round. Whiteford was given the bad news just after bogeying the short third.

It was a happier day for South African Kruger, whose final-round 69 was enough to finish 14 under for a two-stroke victory. He almost lost his nerve at the end, despite carrying a three-shot lead to the 17th tee. A bogey on that hole followed by a loose drive on the 18th gave him cause for concern but he rescued par to take the title.

Spain's Jorge Campillo signed for 67 -- the joint best of the day -- to finish tied for second with Germany's Marcel Siem.

Decision

Reflecting on the decision to disqualify Whiteford, European Tour chief referee John Paramor said: "Peter felt his ball may have moved and for confirmation asked his caddie, a fellow competitor and a TV cameraman, who said they didn't think it had, and so he continued on to finish the hole.

"Overnight several viewers contacted the Tour website. This was reviewed by the Rules Committee, who were able to determine that the ball had in fact moved."

Whiteford said: "I should have reviewed it. I'm not cheating, obviously. It's one of those things, but disappointing."

Paul McGinley tied 14th (worth €26,640) on eight under after his putter went cold during his final round of 73.

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