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Monday October 28, 2013 MYT 8:14:00 PM
Monday October 28, 2013 MYT 8:15:32 PM
by ashreena pillai
Kiradech Aphibarnrat thanks the crowd after the fourth round at the CIMB Classic. He tied at third place with a 13-under 275.
KUALA LUMPUR: After a stellar performance at the CIMB Classic last week, there’s surely bigger things in store for Thai wonder Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
If you haven’t heard of the 24-year-old golfer prior to this, after four rounds of fantastic golf at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC), he has simply become a guy you can’t help but root for.
“I’m very proud of the way I played this week. My goal was to finish in the top five or 10, so I’m happy enough,” said Kiradech, who finished tied third at 13-under 275 with Australia’s Chris Stroud to pocket US$406,000 (RM1.27mil).
“The way I was striking the ball this week was simply brilliant. I haven’t played this well since the Malaysian Open, and I have my mum, dad and sister here and a lot of the fans came out to support me as well. It feels like home here in Malaysia. I love it,” he added.
So now that Kiradech has proven he can hold his own against a tough field inclusive of the likes of world No. 3 Phil Mickelson, Masters champion Bubba Watson and four-time Ryder Cup winner Sergio Garcia, does he feel ready to take on the elite on the PGA Tour?
“I cannot say I’m good enough. I have to improve my game a lot more if I want to play on the Tour. Every part of my game has to be strong,” said Kiradech earnestly.
“Right now, I’m hitting the ball really well, but my putting and short game aren’t good enough to win the PGA Tour events. But with the way I’m going right now, it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” he added.
His impressive finish at the CIMB Classic has not only seen him jump to world No. 64 in the official world golf rankings, but it also almost guarantees him the Asian Tour Order of Merit title.
He nows leads the race with US$1,11mil (RM3.5mil) ahead of Australia’s Scott Hend with US$569,464 (RM1.78mil). India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar is third with US$327,379 (RM1.03mil).
Moreover, Kiradech now also has another stab at playing on the PGA Tour when he competes in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (Oct 31-Nov 3) which offers temporary membership that will allow him to take up the sponsor’s invitation.
“Yes, I think my schedule will change. If I have any chance, even just 1%, of playing on the PGA Tour, I’ll try and do it. After that, I’ll focus on my world ranking. If I can make the PGA Tour money list, I will try,” he said.
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golf, CIMB Classic, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, PGA Tour
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