Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is determined to put up a better showing when The Open tees off at St Andrews next week.
The 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion received a late exemption to the world’s oldest Major by virtue of his top-five ranking on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai after the completion of the BMW International Open last month.
Kiradech, who is a two-time Asian Tour winner, struggled to hit top form in his two previous appearances at The Open where he missed two straight cuts 2013 and 2014.
But after a string of impressive results including a win in Shenzhen and a tied-fourth finish in Munich, Kiradech believes he is ready to shine against the world’s best players at the Home of Golf.
“I’ve learnt how to play The Open through the hard way. Both times, I was very determined to make the cut but missed them especially last year where I fell short by only one shot. However, those two Open appearances have given me lots of experience.
“I’m certainly faring a lot better this year. I had one win and several strong finishes on the PGA TOUR, European Tour and Asian Tour. So, I’m quite satisfied with my progress as they exceeded my own expectations,” said Kiradech.
Playing consistent golf has been Kiradech’s Achilles’ heel of late especially in 2014 where he had several hits and misses.
However, the 25-year-old is confident he is beginning to turn the corner after he claimed four straight top-10s to end the year on a high note in eighth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
“I’m enjoying my game a lot better this year with more consistency and accuracy in my driving and putting. I’m confident I’ll be able to do better this year. In golf, you need to find your rhythm and once you have that, it keeps getting better,” said Kiradech.
Kiradech will be joined by compatriot Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee who is one of the most decorated players on the Asian Tour with three Order of Merit titles and 13 victories as well as current Merit leader Anirban Lahiri from India.
He is excited to be spearheading the region’s charge alongside these heavyweights from the region’s premier Tour.
“Thongchai and Anirban are both very talented players and this is our chance to make not only our country but Asia as a whole proud.
“Thongchai has been very consistent for years and Anirban is fast becoming one of the strongest Asian players we have seen in recent times. I’m definitely looking forward to make everyone proud together with them,” said Kiradech.
Other Asian Tour members who will feature at The Open include 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion David Lipsky of the United States, American Jonathan Moore, Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Scott Hend, a six-time Asian Tour winner as well as China’s Liang Wen-chong.