Kiradech Aphibarnrat, seen as one of the most talented rising stars from Asia, has confirmed his participation for the Hero Indian Open next month.

The 27-year-old big-built Thai is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and has won three times on the European Tour. He was also crowned the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion in 2013.

Kiradech, who is now ranked 76th in the world – his best was 37th in December 2015 – is no stranger to India, having played a few times till 2013. In 2011, he won his first Asian Tour title at the SAIL Open in India.

Kiradech, who spent 2016 playing three Tours – Asian, European and US Tours, has had a great start to the season with two top-10 finishes in the Middle-East, where he was tied fourth in Abu Dhabi and tied ninth in Qatar.

Kiradech, one of the most exciting players on the Tour, will lead a strong contingent from Thailand.

A little over three years ago, when Kiradech was the rise, he defeated a host of stars including Major winners Charl Schwartzel and Padraig Harrington to win the 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open.

He went on to eclipse some of the PGA Tour biggest stars at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia by finishing third. Former World Junior champion Kiradech, ended the 2013 season as the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, on the strength of one victory and five other top-five finishes.

Another rising Thai to be seen in Hero Indian Open will be the 17-year-old prodigy Phachara Khongwatmai, who was runner-up to Brett Rumford at the ISPS Handa World Super Six in Perth last week. Phachara, who has twice finished runner-up – at Singapore and Perth – is now ranked 149 in the world.

The Hero Indian Open will be held at the Gary Player course at the DLF Golf & Country Club fromMarch 9 to 12, 2017. The tournament has been played at the club only once before – back in 2009, when C. Muniyappa won the title – but at the Arnold Palmer course.

The prize purse has been enhanced to US$ 1.75 million, which is almost six times more than US$300,000, which it was when Hero took on the Title Sponsorship of the Indian Open in 2005.

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