Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is pumped-up to win the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM as he makes his third appearance at the team match-play event which begins on Thursday.
The world number 49 is not ready to settle for anything less than a win having drawn and lost the last two editions to Team Europe in 2014 and 2016.
Kiradech, who enjoyed a sparkling run of form especially towards the end of 2017 where he ended the year inside the world’s top-50, is hopeful of carrying his winning form into his first event of 2018.
The Thai will also have the assurance of Japan’s Hideto Tanihara and Korea’s Sunghoon Kang of putting the points on the board for Team Asia when the contest gets underway on Friday.
Tanihara was part of the inaugural team event that earned a 10-10 draw with Team Europe in 2014 while Kang will be making his debut at the EurAsia Cup this week.
The EurAsia Cup will feature 24 matches, with day one showcasing six Fourball matches, followed by six Foursomes matches and 12 Singles matches on the third day.
Did you know?
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat is playing in his third EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM. He is among three players – Anirban Lahiri and Nicholas Fung – to play in three editions since the tournament’s inception in 2014.
- He has contributed a total of 2 ½ points for Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup.
- Kiradech is the second highest ranked player in Team Asia where he sits in 49th position on the Official World Golf Ranking. Yuta Ikeda of Japan is the highest ranked as he occupies 36th place in the world.
- He is enjoying good run of form ahead of the EurAsia Cup. He finished tied fifth at the Asian Tour’s season-ending Indonesian Masters in 2017 after playing through a back injury and eagled the 72nd hole to finish inside the top-50 in the world and qualify for The Masters in April.
- Prior to that, he won on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and also finished second at the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Champions and Italian Open.
- At the age of 29, Kiradech is seen as the ‘senior’ in team where there are six debutants.
- Tanihara was part of the 2014 EurAsia Cup team which forced a dramatic 10-10 draw against Team Europe after losing 0-5 on the first day. He contributed one point in the inaugural edition.
- He is a 14-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour. He did not win in 2017 but recorded six top-10 results. The highlight of his year was finishing third at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. He was defeated in the semi-final to Dustin Johnson who won 1-up.
- Kang, a regular on the PGA Tour, is playing in his first EurAsia Cup. He is ranked 81st in the world following a solid 2017 season where he finished runner-up twice. He also finished tied third in Malaysia at the CIMB Classic.
- He won on the Asian Tour in 2013 and as an amateur represented Korea in the Eisenhower Trophy in 2006.
We have a strong team this year and I hope to use my experience from the first two editions to lead this team to victory. I know there are a lot of top players in the field this week, especially Team Europe. But if the 12 of us can play to our full potential, it might be a tough week for them. Anything can happen. I never look at the world rankings of my opponents or whether they have won a major or whatever. We are all very good players and if you’re not good enough, you will not even make it to the team this week. I was very nervous during the first year and I felt really young then. But it’s a new generation now and we’re hungry for a win.
It’s a big honour for me to be in the team again and I will try my best and hopefully we can win. It’s always exciting to be part of a match-play team event where you play not for yourself but for the team. Anything can happen in match-play and I believe the Team has the ability to win.
I played the course today and I think it’s a really fair course. I think the Europeans may hit it a little bit further, because they are bigger and taller than us. But this course is perfect for Team Asia too as it is kind of short and you need to hit the fairways. You got to be very sharp on the greens too. So having said that, the course conditions are very familiar to us, Asian players and I’m confident we can do well.