PETALING JAYA: Newly-wed Kiradech Aphibarnrat had better win the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia (MCM) after putting off his honeymoon to compete at the Royal Selangor Golf Club, starting Thursday.
The 26-year-old Thai and Thanyathorn Chaiyarat registered their marriage on Valentine’s Day but, barely 24 hours later, he had to leave her back home to travel here for the MCM.
The three-time European Tour winner, however, did give his childhood sweetheart a wedding to remember as they were among 21 couples who tied the knot in a special “Balloon of Love” event that was part of the Singha Park Chiang Rai International Balloon Fiesta last Sunday.
The couple even took a ride on a red heart-shaped balloon which flew across the Singha tea plantation.
But the honeymoon has to take a back seat, for now.
“She teaches in Thailand so she can’t come because her students have an exam next week ... we can only communicate through the social media,” said world No. 44 Kiradech.
“It was supposed to be our honeymoon week ... but I need to get back to work.
“I don’t want to keep reminding my wife about the honeymoon because she will get angry!
“But she understands my work.”
Kiradech is here hoping to boost his confidence with an early triumph as he prepares for a big season ahead.
Having finished last season as world No. 38, Kiradech has secured starts in all the Majors and World Golf Championships for this year.
“You must always try to win every tournament you play in. If you win early in the year, you will have much higher confidence,” he said.
“This is a big event with a lot of great players so I’m very happy to be a part of it. If I win, I will earn a lot of world ranking points.”
Kiradech, who earned his breakthrough win at the 2013 Malaysian Open, will be leading the Asian charge against the European Tour heavyweights like Danny Willett of England, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Germany’s Martin Kaymer.
FIRST ROUND TEE-OFF TIMES
From First Tee
7.40am: David Drysdale (Sco), Niall Turner (Irl), Kenneth De Silva (Mas).
7.50am: Joakim Lagergren (Swe), Keith Horne (Rsa), Arie Irawan Fauzi (Mas).
8am: Morten Orum Madsen (Den), Kalem Richardson (Aus), Angelo Que (Phi).
8.10am: Shiv Kapur (Ind), Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Jeong Jin (Kor).
8.20am: Jason Knutzon (US), Fabrizio Zanotti (Par), Mithun Perera (Sri).
8.30am: Marc Warren (Sco), Hsieh Chi-hsien (Tpe), Siddikur Rahman (Ban).
8.40am: Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), Rahil Gangjee (Ind), Scott Barr (Aus).
8.50am: Anthony Wall (Eng), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind).
9am: Pelle Edberg (Swe), Pariya Junhasavasdikul (Tha), Khor Kheng Hwai (Mas).
9.10am: Eduardo De La Riva (Spa), Richard Bland (Eng), Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha).
9.20am: Gregory Havret (Fra), Lionel Weber (Fra), Brett Munson (US).
9.30am: Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Danthai Boonma (Tha).
9.40am: Ervin Chang (Mas-am), Lu Wei-chih (Tpe), Kemarol Baharin (Mas).
From 10th Tee
7.40am: Robert Rock (Eng), Unho Park (Aus), Paul Peterson (US).
7.50am: Prom Meesawat (Tha), David Horsey (Eng), S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind).
8am: Nathan Holman (Aus), Juvic Pagunsan (Phi), Kim Kyung-tae (Kor).
8.10am: Darren Clarke (Irl), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng).
8.20am: Martin Kaymer (Ger), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Spa), Prayad Marksaeng (Tha).
8.30am: Thomas Pieters (Bel), Nicholas Fung (Mas), Thitiphun Chuayprakong (Tha).
8.40am: Andrew Dodt (Aus), Stephen Gallacher (Sco), Song Young-han (Kor).
8.50am: Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Steve Lewton (Eng).
9am: Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Kristoffer Broberg (Swe), Arjut Atwal (Ind).
9.10am: James Morrison (Eng), Ben Leong (Mas), Richard T. Lee (Can).
9.20am: Joost Luiten (Ned), Lin Wen-tang (Tpe), Chapchai Nirat (Tha).
9.30am: Michael Tran (Vie), R. Nachimuthu (Mas), Anthony Kang (US).
9.40am: Low Khai Jei (Mas), Lee Chieh-po (Tpe), Mohd Iylia Jamil (Mas).
From First Tee
12.30pm: Michael Hoey (Nir), Chawalit Plaphol (Tha), Gavin Kyle Green (Mas).
12.40pm: Wu Ashun (Chi), Rashid Khan (Ind), Shaun Norris (Rsa).
12.50pm: Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha), Danny Chia (Mas).
1pm: Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Danny Willett (Eng).
1.10pm: Matteo Manassero (Ita), Chris Wood (Eng), Felipe Aguilar (Chi).
1.20pm: David Lipsky (US), Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng).
1.30pm: David Howell (Eng), Miguel Tabuena (Phi), Natipong Srithong (Tha).
1.40pm: Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Mardan Mamat (Sin), Sukree Othman (Mas).
1.50pm: Wang Jeung-hun (Kor), Gary Stal (Fra), Marcel Siem (Ger).
2pm: Sam Brazel (Aus), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Mikko Ilonen (Fin).
2.10pm: Alexander Levy (Fra), Oliver Wilson (Eng), Carlos Pigem (Spa).
2.20pm: George Gandranata (Ina), Koh Deng Shan (Sin), Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra).
2.30pm: Wilson Choo (Mas), Zaw Zaw Latt (Mya), Jin Cheng (Chn-am).
From 10th Tee
12.30pm: Chiragh Kumar (Ind), Seve Benson (Eng), Adam Groom (Aus).
12.40pm: Paul McGinley (Irl), Airil Rizman Zahari (Mas), Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind).
12.50pm: Romain Wattel (Fra), Andrew Johnston (Eng), Terry Pilkadaris (Aus).
1pm: Wade Ormsby (Aus), Javier Colomo (Spa), Benjamin Hebert (Fra).
1.10pm: Graeme Storm (Eng), Scott Hend (Aus), Thanyakon Khrongpha (Tha).
1.20pm: Berry Henson (US), Panuphol Pittayarat (Tha), Julien Quesne (Fra).
1.30pm: Peter Uihlein (US), Eddie Pepperell (Eng), Jbe Kruger (Rsa).
1.40pm: Lee Soo-min (Kor), Himmat Rai (Ind), Marcus Fraser (Aus).
1.50pm: Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Hung Cien-yao (Tpe).
2pm: Adilson Da Silva (Bra), Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Gregory Bourdy (Fra).
2.10pm: Jorge Campillo (Spa), Magnus A Carlsson (Swe), Antonio Lascuna (Phi).
2.20pm: Casey O’Toole (US), Edouard Espana (Fra), Jeff Winther (Den).
2.30pm: Shaaban Hussin (Mas), Thriston Lawrence (Rsa), Simon Yates (Sco).