Homeward-bound Kiradech extends lead

Mon 14 Oct 2013

Homeward-bound Kiradech extends lead

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Singapore, October 14: A home fix might just be the right antidote for Kiradech Aphibarnrat to cement his position atop the Asian Tour Order of Merit as the region’s premier Tour heads into its lucrative and thrilling stretch of the season.
An equal fourth place finish at last week’s CJ Invitational Hosted by KJ Choi saw the Thai extend his merit lead by over US$300,000 and Kiradech has fired a warning to his closest rivals that he will only get better after he fine tunes his game at home.
“I’m feeling confident with my ball striking. I just have a couple of mistakes with my tempo. But that’s something I can fix when I’m back in Thailand,” said Kiradech, who has amassed a total of US$711,074 this season.
While the rest of the chasing pack will attempt to play catch-up with the 24-year-old at this week’s US$800,000 Venetian Macau Open, Kiradech will be taking a week’s break before resuming his merit charge.
“I’ll be home and taking a week’s rest before preparing for the CIMB Classic. There are a lot of big events coming up so I really want to get ready for these events,” said Kiradech, who is bidding to become the third Thai after Thongchai Jaidee (2001, 2004 and 2009) and Thaworn Wiratchant (2005 and 2012) to win the Order of Merit crown.
Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun made another big move up the rankings to fifth place after a tied-fourth finish in Korea.
The Bangkok-based Korean however conceded he has to improve on his fitness regime if he wants to break into the winner’s circle anytime soon.
“I need to plan my game better and I need to get fit! When I get too tired, I can’t think and I mess up my shot. I also need a little bit more luck. I’m feeling very confident and I know that I will win soon,” said Baek.
India’ Jyoti Randhawa meanwhile soared to 18th place on the merit rankings courtesy of his tied-second finish, which was also his best result since his last victory on the region’s premier Tour in 2009.
“I’ve been taking it easy for the last two or three months. For me to come back and finish in the top-five is really good for my confidence,” said Randhawa.
While he has been winless since 2009, the 2002 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner believes it is only a matter of time before he gets back into the swing of winning again.
“There are a couple of things that’s been holding me back from getting another win. I made a few swing changes and I wasn’t feeling confident under pressure. Today I did that and it felt good,” said Randhawa of his final round heroics in Korea.
“You got to have at least three good rounds and one mediocre round to win. I’ve had two or one good round so it is getting there. I’m feeling very good with my swing so hopefully I can hold it until the end of the season,” added the 41-year-old Indian.
Australia’s Scott Hend, who has already won twice in Thailand and Chinese Taipei this season, is in second place on the Order of Merit after his season haul of US$397,464 while India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar is in third place on US$279, 193.
The Asian Tour heads to Macau for the Venetian Macau Open this week. The popular event will boast its strongest ever Asian Tour field with an ensemble of six Order of Merit champions and no fewer than 40 other Tour winners.
Asian Tour Order of Merit Top-20
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1 Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $711,074.36
2 Scott HEND   (AUS) $397,464.38
3 Gaganjeet BHULLAR   (IND) $279,193.59
4 LIANG Wen-chong   (CHN) $250,318.35
5 BAEK Seuk-hyun   (KOR) $246,843.97
6 Thongchai JAIDEE   (THA) $238,391.48
7 Wade ORMSBY   (AUS) $199,279.84
8 Anirban LAHIRI   (IND) $156,973.24
9 Prayad MARKSAENG   (THA) $150,458.44
10 SIDDIKUR   (BAN) $149,533.93
11 KIM Gi-whan   (KOR) $147,292.70
12 Berry HENSON   (USA) $140,227.90
13 KANG Sung-hoon   (KOR) $135,000.00
14 Shiv KAPUR   (IND) $133,294.57
15 Angelo QUE   (PHI) $130,344.43
16 Arnond VONGVANIJ   (THA) $127,702.45
17 Thaworn WIRATCHANT   (THA) $126,634.62
18 Jyoti RANDHAWA   (IND) $124,704.43
19 Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL  (THA)  $123,311.97
20 Rikard KARLBERG   (SWE) $117,095.59
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.