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Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 7:03:00 PM
Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 7:12:12 PM
Get in there. Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat is the dark horse in the CIMB Classic. He sits joint 3rd at eight-under 136 going into the weekend. - AFP
THAILAND’S Kiradech Aphibarnrat maintained his charge for the title after shooting a three-under 69 in the second round to stay joint-third in the CIMB Classic on Friday.
Kiradech’s two-day total of eight-under 136 sees him sharing third spot with American Chris Stroud.
The 24-year-old simply picked up from where he left off on Thursday with stunning triple birdies on the first, second and third holes on Friday, which left him just one stroke behind early leader Ryan Moore of America.
A bogey on the 14th caused him to slip down the leaderboard but he managed to pick up another birdie on the 18th.
“Yesterday (Thursday) on the front nine I was five-under and today (Friday), the way I started on the first three holes – three birdies in a row – made my game easier. I was about one or two strokes behind Moore. But then, I focused on the score too much and it affected my score on the back nine,” said Kiradech.
“Every time I play here it feels like home. I guess it’s due to the weather and also a lot of the fans follow and cheer me on. It gives me the inspiration to play well.
“But I don’t want to attack it too much tomorrow (Saturday). Because this type of greens is quite firm and the pin position is quite difficult so if you attack it too much, you will get into a lot of trouble. I’ll just try to play some easy golf.”
After Friday’s round, the Bangkok-born golfer confessed it got him reminiscing about his win in the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in March and how it would be great to win at the same course again.
“Yes, I did. After the first three birdies at the start, I began to think maybe I can get my second win here on this golf course. And the way I am hitting and striking the ball is really good,” said Kiradech, who took a week off prior to the tournament to rest his injured knee.
“I just try to play my best golf. I don’t want to put pressure on myself by going for a win because it’s not so easy to play with all the top players. I’ll try to finish as high as I can this weekend and, if I can finish in the top-five it would be great.”
Kiradech tees off with leader Keegan Bradley and second-placed Moore on Saturday. So, will he miss playing with world No. 3 Phil Mickelson and defending champion Nick Watney, who were on the same flight with him on Friday?
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