In-form Thaworn and Kiradech head to Japan

Fri 20 Sep 2013

In-form Thaworn and Kiradech head to Japan

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Kuala Lumpur, September 20: Thai stars Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, and last season’s number one Thaworn Wiratchant will shoot for a first victory in the Land of the Rising Sun at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open next week.
Kiradech and Thaworn, who have won a combined 18 Asian Tour titles across the region except in Japan, will be determined to shine at the Y150 million (approximately US$1.48 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
They will face strong challenges from a highly rated cast who include Asia’s first male Major champion Y.E. Yang of Korea, 2011 Order of Merit winner Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand, Anirban Lahiri of India, Berry Henson of the United States and Siddikur of Bangladesh.
Defending champion Masanori Kobayashi, Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Hiroyuki Fujita, who won the Japan Golf Tour money list in 2012, Hideto Tanihara and Daisuke Maruyama, who won the event in 2008 and 2009 respectively, and Yuta Ikeda, 10-time winner in Japan, will spearhead the local challenge at the Ibaraki Country Club from September 26 to 29.
The in-form Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea, Angelo Que of the Philippines, Jonathan Moore of the United States, Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand and Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei, who will be travelling to Japan for the first time since recovering from a brain tumour surgery, will also feature in the event.
Angelo Que of Philippines Angelo Que of Philippines
Man-of-the-moment Thaworn, who lifted a record 16th Asian Tour title at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei last week, will be on the hunt for more success at the Panasonic Open which he finished tied 15th in 2011.
“I’m very proud because I can still win at the age of 47 (he turns 47 in December). I thought it would be much harder for me to win at this age but I was lucky. I can’t say that I will go on to enjoy a great season after this win because I’m still struggling with my irons,” said Thaworn, who is a two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner.
Que, a three-time Asian Tour champion, hopes to maintain his good run of form where he has three-top five results this season. The fashionable Filipino reckons that a hot putting streak will lead him to victory next week.
“I’ve been playing really well for the whole year. Every time I’m in contention I seem to keep going unlike before when I sort of slide down when I’m in contention. If I can get everything together, especially my putting, for one whole week then I might have a chance to win,” said the 35-year-old Que.
Baek, ranked fifth on the Order of Merit, will continue his search for a long-awaited Asian Tour victory. The Thai-based Korean has notched four top-five results this season and is determined to sweeten the year by capping a first victory on the region’s premier Tour, which is celebrating its milestone 10th season in 2013.
“I took a long break during the off-season and I feel fresh and ready for the busy end of the year. To be honest, I don’t know why I still haven’t won but I’m happy with the way I’m playing. I’m sure the win will come soon,” said Baek.
The prestigious event is hosted by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, Panasonic Corporation and Japan Golf Association.
Players will also be fighting to be inside the top-10 of the Order of Merit as of October 7 to qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic in Malaysia, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour.
The leading two players on the rankings as of October 14, not otherwise exempt, will qualify for the US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in China. Kiradech has already qualified for the event by virtue of his victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open.
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), Canon (Official Imaging 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.