Thailand's Asian Tour No.1 player, Kiradech Aphibarnrat will lead the continent's challenge at the inaugural EurAsia Cup to be held at Glenmarie GCC in Malaysia from March 27-29. - AFP
PETALING JAYA: Newly-crowned Asian Tour No. 1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be among a quartet of talented young guns representing Team Asia at the inaugural EurAsia Cup, presented by DRB-HICOM, in Malaysia from March 27-29.
The burly Thai, the first of four automatic qualifiers from the final 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit which concluded on Sunday, will be joined by Bangladeshi star Siddikur Rahman, who finished fourth on the rankings and Indian duo Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who were third and fifth on the Merit list respectively.
Team Asia playing captain Thongchai Jaidee said: “I am delighted that Kiradech, Siddikur, Anirban and Gaganjeet have qualified as the top-four Asians and also accepted the invitation to represent Team Asia for the EurAsia Cup.
“The four players enjoyed wonderful seasons and I’m confident they will represent Asia with pride and vigour as we seek to beat Europe in the inaugural contest at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
”All four players are in their 20s and have proven themselves to be the new flag bearers for the Asian Tour.”
Kiradech, 24, had an outstanding 2013 campaign, winning the Maybank Malaysian Open and registering five other top-five finishes to be crowned Asia’s new number one. He also finished joint fifth in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf and is ranked 60th in the world.
“I’m really excited to play in the EurAsia Cup. As the Order of Merit champion, I will represent Team Asia with pride and do my very best to fight for the team’s honour.
“The standard of play among the Asian players has risen over the years and we are capable of matching and beating the Europeans,” said Kiradech.
Team Europe playing captain Miguel Angel Jimenez had previously announced his first four players – Graeme McDowell, Victor Dubuisson, Fernandez Gonzalo-Castano and Jamie Donaldson – from the final Race to Dubai rankings.
Jimenez and Thongchai will finalise the remaining five members of their teams in early February through the official world golf rankings and captains’ picks.
Organisers have also made a minor change to the format of play, with the first day (March 27) now showcasing five fourball matches, followed by five foursomes on day two (March 28) and 10 singles matches on the final day (March 29) at Glenmarie’s Garden Course.