Kiradech edge Nitties to win ISPS HANDA World Super 6

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Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand beat James Nitties of Australia 2&1 to win the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth on Sunday.

The 28-year-old golfer recovered brilliantly from being 1-down after two holes to win three consecutive holes and beat his opponent in the grand finals of the A$1.75 million (approximately US$1.25 million) event.

Kiradech progressed to Sunday after winning a tense, four-hole playoff over Australia’s Anthony Quayle at the end of round three.

After besting Ben Eccles of Australia 1-up in the first round, Kiradech beat 2017 Japan Golf Tour number one Yusaku Miyazato in a close match that stretched to the fifth Knockout Hole.

He went on to defeat Sean Crocker of the United States 1-up in the quarter finals and Lucas Herbert of Australia in the semi-finals at the first Knockout Hole.

Nitties beat fellow Australians Nick Cullen, Dimitrios Papadatos and Callan O’Reilly as well as England’s Sam Horsfield at Lake Karrinyup Country Club before meeting Kiradech in the finals.

In the match for third place, Herbert beat Horsfield 3&1. 

Asian Tour players Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Poom Saksansin, Prom Meesawat and Yi-keun Chang also played in the knockout matchplay rounds of the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth.

In the first round, Thailand’s Pavit established the pace with a birdie at the second hole, but he eventually lost to Australia’s Callan O’Reilly 2&1. Compatriot Poom was narrowly eliminated by Marcus Fraser of Australia at the sixth Knockout Hole.

Prom, who received a bye into the second round, got knocked out of the competition by amateur golfer Min Woo Lee 2-up. Lee was in irresistible form, scoring five birdies against Prom.

Chang of Korea made it to the second round after defeating Zander Lombard of South Africa 3&2. However, he was eliminated by Australia’s Brad Kennedy at the first Knockout Hole.

Did you know:

  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat did not get a chance to practice at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club as he flew into Perth the evening prior to the tournament.
  • He was the last player to enter the competition, the last player to enter the matchplay knockout rounds and the last man standing.
  • Kiradech has won a matchplay event in his professional career previously, at the 2015 Paul Lawrie Matchplay.
  • He will be competing at the Brunei Championships, an event on the Asian Development Tour, from March 7 to 10.
  • James Nitties’ most recent professional win was the South Pacific Open Championship in 2015. He beat the field by six shots.
  • Nitties played the Knockout Hole only once enroute to the finals, in round one against Nick Cullen.
  • He finished tied-68th in last year’s ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth after carding 70 73.
  • Prom Meesawat earned A$25,000 by virtue of finishing in first place after 54 holes. Sean Crocker of the United States, Lucas Herbert of Australia and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark split another A$25,000 for their tied-second finish.
  • The Knockout Hole was played from a new tee box located approximately 80 to 90 metres from the 18th green on the right-hand side of the 18th fairway.

Players’ Quotes:

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha)

It has been an awesome week. In the last few months, I’ve been getting really close at winning a tournament and I’ve finally I’ve done it.

Every single shot counts especially in matchplay. Every single match was tough. James (Nitties) was playing so well, and he was just unlucky at the end. The drive at the fourth matchplay hole was one of the best tee shots in my life so far.

I’ve played the 18th hole so many times, I can recognise almost every single feature there. And, to play with a young and talented player like Lucas (Herbert) was an honour. He hits the ball miles and his confidence is massive. I did not look beyond James, of course, but I felt that I have one hand on the trophy after beating Lucas. The young golfer is definitely one of the strongest in the field and one to watch.

There were many times when I felt that I would be eliminated from the tournament. Winning any event is never easy. I pushed myself and I’m glad that things turned out the way it did.

I knew that I made a mistake at the first hole of the final, but in matchplay, things can turn around very quickly. James is pretty unlucky for the day. The shots he missed, he found it difficult to recover. I pushed myself to make the putt at the fourth hole, and I’m glad I managed to do it.

The most difficult aspect of this golf course are the bunkers. If you can avoid them, you can put together a pretty good score.

The concept is great. I’m sure you would have attracted more fans after this tournament.

This victory means a lot to me. It is particularly rewarding when you focus on something and try very hard.

James Nitties (Aus)

It’s a sad way to go down, considering a win might have got me some playing rights somewhere in the world because I currently have no status. But, it was a great week. 

Tricky lies is a good way of saying I was hitting it badly. I wasn’t hitting my driver well off the tee, but I managed to Houdini my way out of a couple of lies and get a couple of birdies.

Kiradech was too good. He eagled and birdied down the stretch, so pretty much, he got it done for him. His performance of the week was amazing. All credit to him. He’s a good bloke and he played really well.

Perth has been just absolutely fantastic.  The weather’s perfect and it has beach views every day most of the time. It’s a fun week and I love this tournament.

Prom Meesawat (Tha)

I started birdie-birdie. In fact, I birdied three times over six holes. But Min (Woo Lee), he was playing awesome golf. He hit four birdies in a row in my match and there was nothing I could do about it. He’s a great player!

The tournament is good fun. Six holes is pretty short and you have to really get your game going. It opens the doors for all the players who made it to the matchplay knockout to win. Just look at me. I finished first after 54 holes, but got knocked out. But don’t get me wrong; I like the format.

I’ve been playing well. I’m striking the ball well and putting well. This week, after playing in this tournament, I understood my process a lot better. I will make more notes and improve on the things that I have observed during the World Super 6 Perth.

Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha)

I scored the first hole-in-one in my life and I made it to the knockout matchplay. So, it has been a great tournament for me. I’ve done my best. But, on a matchplay day, anything could have happened. I played well, birdied the second hole, but he went on to sink two birdies in a row. I can’t do anything about that.

I like the matchplay format. As I’ve found out, you have to be in form, especially with your putting. You’ll get a huge advantage with that.

Poom Saksansin (Tha)

I’m really happy with what happened at the tournament. I could have gone home early! In the second round, I nearly missed the cut, but I got through. Similarly, in the third round, I was on the line again and I made it through to Sunday after a playoff.

The format is really fun and very fast-going as it is just six holes. The shootout was a little too long, though. I did the best out there. I’m really happy for my opponent, Marcus Fraser, he did very well there.

Yi-keun Chang (Kor)

I played well in my first match. But in the second match, I’m really disappointed with myself. I’m not mad about my loss, just a bit disappointed. The golf I played was pretty bad. I’ll go home and work on a few things and sharpen my game up. Things like, my wedge shots and my distances. Even at the Knockout Hole. It was only 100 yards, but I hit it too far.

This tournament has been fun. I hope to be able to come back again.

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