Kiradech Aphibarnrat: 'It will be fantastic to see our fans decked in red (Team Asia colour) at Glenmarie to support us.' – AFP Photo
PETALING JAYA: Asian number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat is ready to rise to the occasion for Team Asia at the inaugural EurAsia Cup next week at a place he calls “my second home”.
The talented Thai, who won the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown last season thanks largely to his victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open and a joint third finish in the CIMB Classic, feels that match play golf fits his natural aggressive style of play.
Team Asia face Team Europe at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club from March 27-29, in a Ryder Cup-type tournament.
“Malaysia is like my second home,” said the 24-year-old Kiradech, whose grip-it-and-rip-it style of play has won him many admirers all over the world.
“I have a lot of friends and fans in Malaysia and I’m looking forward to their support when the EurAsia Cup starts. It will be fantastic to see our fans decked in red (Team Asia colour) at Glenmarie to support us.”
Kiradech, who has enjoyed several other top-10s in Malaysia, is excited to go head-on against Team Europe, which will be led by captain Miguel Angel Jimenez and includes established Ryder Cup stars such as Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.
He believes his attacking game will fit perfectly for the EurAsia Cup, which will see five fourball matches being staged on the first day followed by five foursomes matches on day two and 10 singles matches on the last day.
“From a very young age, I was taught to play aggressively and aim for the pins. Therefore, I think my game is well suited for match play as I’m always aiming for birdies and eagles. I’m looking forward to playing in the fourball and foursomes.
“It doesn’t matter who I partner as I believe all the Team Asia players are great. I think the format is very exciting for fans as there will be a lot of amazing shots being played by the golfers,” said Kiradech.
“Team Europe have several players with a lot of Ryder Cup experience but Team Asia will have home ground advantage. Our players have also become very strong over the years following the opportunities to compete in the co-sanctioned tournaments and we have many really good young and experienced players who will provide a good mix in our team.
“It will be a close match but at the end of the day, I am confident that Team Asia can defeat Team Europe. We believe in our hearts and minds that we can do it.”
Kiradech expects the EurAsia Cup to grow in stature after its launch next week.
“I’m really excited to play. I believe it will be a great and I’m up for the challenge. Admittedly, I haven’t been shooting low scores this season as I’ve been playing in new events on new courses in the US over the past few weeks. Since the start of the year, I’ve switched to Callaway clubs and I now feel that it’s 90% there.
“I’ve been practising hard to prepare my game for the EurAsia Cup. I’m looking forward to it and I hope to contribute to a victory for Team Asia.”
Tickets for the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM can be purchased at www.ticketpro.com.my or by calling (03) 7880 7999.
Tickets are priced at RM78 (for Day 1 and Day 2 each) and RM98 for Day 3. The season ticket (for all three days) is RM158. Entry is free for children under 16. It is also free to all golf fans on March 26, which is the pro-am day.