THAILAND’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat believes it will be anybody’s game when he takes on Europe’s number one Henrik Stenson of Sweden in his opening match at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship which tees off on Wednesday.
Thanks to one victory and five other top-five finishes, Asia’s number one will go head-to-head with Europe’s best in a match which is expected to provide the fireworks at the US$9million tournament in Arizona.
With little separating the two continent’s best players, Kiradech, who won the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit title in sensational fashion, feels that it may eventually come down to luck in deciding the winner.
“I love to play with the top players because anything can happen in a match play event. You need to be lucky as well. I’ve played with Stenson before and I’ll try my best,” said Kiradech.
“I’ve got lots of distance in my game and I like to attack the pins. If I can make many birdies, I stand a good chance,” added the 24-year-old.
Kiradech qualified as the last man in the field by virtue of his 67th ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking following the withdrawal of Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson. News of his qualification was met with surprise and joy.
“I was spending the week in L.A at my friend’s house when I was told about the news on Friday night. It came as a big surprise as I realised that I was the last player to have qualified. I’m really happy to be here now,” said Kiradech.
While he has cast an eye on mounting a strong challenge in his maiden WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Kiradech is also hoping his match play experience this week will put him in good stead when he represents Team Asia at the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in Malaysia next month.
Captained by fellow countryman Thongchai Jaidee, who will take on American Webb Simpson in his opening match, Team Asia will be represented by Thongchai, Kiradech, Anirban Lahiri of India, Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Kim Hyung-sung of Korea, Japan’s Koumei Oda and Hideto Tanihara.
Thongchai has picked Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung, the 2013 Asian Development Tour Order of Merit champion, as one of his captain’s picks and will name his last pick soon to complete his 10-man side.