Kiradech claims supersized win

Sun 24 Mar 2013

Kiradech claims supersized win

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Kuala Lumpur, March 24: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat completed a sensational wire-to-wire victory at the weather-shortened Maybank Malaysian Open when he overcame a host of stars with a gutsy performance on Sunday.
The big-hitting 23-year-old held his nerve for a battling two-under-par 70 to lift his second Asian Tour title by one-shot from Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari of Italy, who signed off with a 67, at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Anders Hansen of Denmark shot a 66 to finish two shots back while 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa settled for tied fourth position following a 71 in the US$2.75 million championship sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Kiraech, who is the fourth Thai after Thongchai Jaidee, Thaworn Wiratchant and Chapchai Nirat to win a co-sanctioned tournament, said: “I’m so happy this week. I’m proud of myself and for my family. I almost won here a few years ago (2010) and finally I made it. I’m so happy.
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With a winner’s cheque of US$458,330, Kiradech jumped to the top of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit with his season’s haul of US$594,230.
The burly Thai, dubbed Asia’s John Daly due to his physique and style of play, had to overcome tiredness because of a thyroid problem and four days of weather disruptions to prevail at the Maybank Malaysian Open which was reduced into a three-round tournament.
He led by one shot through 15 holes of the third and final round when play was suspended for two hours because of a lightning storm and came back out shaking at the prospects of winning his career’s biggest title yet.
He birdied the 16th hole upon the resumption of play from four feet to open up a two-shot advantage and then enjoyed a stroke of fortune when his approach into the 17th green ended just a few feet from the water hazard. After leaving his chip some 15 feet short of the flag, Kiradech drained his par putt and celebrated with a clenched fist.
Playing it safe with an iron off the tee on the last, a closing bogey did not matter as his three-day total of 13-under-par 203 was one clear of Molinari.
“After I made birdie on 16, I knew I had a chance to win. But in golf, you can’t say you can win when you’re not finished. I was lucky my ball was still safe (on 17). If it rolled into the hazard, it would be tough to win. But I concentrated hard on 18. I’ve played here for about 20 times, and on 18, I think I’ve birdied it more than 10 times. Bogey was so tough but it was good enough to win,” said a beaming Kiradech
“During the suspension, I couldn’t eat anything. I was so excited. When I walked out, everything was shaking, even my voice. My caddie told me to just concentrate, just two more holes. I’m lucky that I played only 54 holes. Otherwise, I am so tired due to the weather and the golf course.”
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Molinari, who was getting ready to warm up for a possible play-off, was disappointed he only made par at the closing 18th hole after a wayward drive. “I felt if I birdied the last I might have won outright because it puts a lot of pressure on the guy coming up behind,” said the Italian.
“It’s mixed emotions because I’m very happy to have a good week for the first time in a long time. The swing changes (with new coach Sean Foley) are starting to pay off which is surprising because I thought it would take a lot longer. But I’m disappointed because I had a lot of chances on the back nine. The 18th is only the second fairway I missed all day which is very disappointing.”
Schwartzel, playing in the last group with Kiradech, rued the missed opportunity to emulate countryman Louis Oosthuizen, who won the Maybank Malaysian Open last season. “It was disappointing. It’s a hard week with being on and off the course the whole time. It’s difficult to find any rhythm. I feel like I swung the club pretty well, but I didn’t play that well today,” said the South African, who was searching for his second title in Asia after winning the Thailand Golf Championship last December.
“I was hitting terrible iron shots from the middle of the fairways. That’s my strength. For some reason I was hitting short irons all over the shop. What can I do? Kiradech did well. I would’ve liked to have applied a bit more pressure on him.”
China’s Wu Ashun was the next best Asian in tied 11th place on 208 after closing with a 73 while Malaysian amateur Gavin Green enjoyed a creditable equal 22nd place finish after a closing 69 fir a 210 total.
20130324486136569489_260Scores after round 3 of the Maybank Malaysian Open being played at the par 72, 6967 Yards Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club course (a- denotes amateur):
203 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 65-68-70.
204 - Edoardo MOLINARI (ITA) 66-71-67.
205 - Anders HANSEN (DEN) 66-73-66.
206 - Victor DUBUISSON (FRA) 67-69-70, Charl SCHWARTZEL (RSA) 67-68-71.
207 - Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 69-70-68, Mark FOSTER (ENG) 69-69-69, Alexander NOREN (SWE) 69-68-70, David HOWELL (ENG) 69-68-70, Padraig HARRINGTON (IRL) 69-68-70.
208 - Thomas AIKEN (RSA) 71-71-66, Joonas GRANBERG (FIN) 71-68-69, Peter LAWRIE (IRL) 68-69-71, Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) 70-66-72, Gregory BOURDY (FRA) 66-69-73, WU Ashun (CHN) 67-68-73.
209 - Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) 71-70-68, Mikko ILONEN (FIN) 70-70-69, Matteo MANASSERO (ITA) 69-71-69, Lee SLATTERY (ENG) 68-70-71, Scott JAMIESON (SCO) 66-72-71.
210 - Gavin GREEN (am, MAS) 73-68-69, Joost LUITEN (NED) 69-71-70, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 72-71-67, Rafa CABRERA-BELLO (ESP) 72-67-71, LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 70-68-72, Stephen GALLACHER (SCO) 71-73-66.
211 - Ignacio GARRIDO (ESP) 70-71-70, Alvaro QUIROS (ESP) 75-67-69, Alastair FORSYTH (SCO) 69-70-72, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 68-71-72, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 73-71-67.
About Maybank
The Maybank Group is Malaysia’s regional financial services leader with an international network of over 2,200 offices in 20 countries namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China, Myanmar, Laos, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain and the United States of America.
The Group offers an extensive range of products and services, which includes commercial banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, stock broking, insurance and takaful and asset management. It has over 46,000 employees serving 22 million customers worldwide.
About the Malaysian Golf Association
Founded in 1929, the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) as the sole governing body of golf in Malaysia has been entrusted to promote the game while preserving its traditions and integrity.
It’s a non-government organization that runs by volunteers who are passionate about the game with the help of a team of management staff.
The Association’s portfolios have increased over the years ranging from conducting 14 state amateur opens, national amateur open, national amateur close, Malaysian Open to processing handicaps through its National Handicap System to promoting grassroots programs and training of the athletes to represent Malaysia in the international events.
We take our responsibilities seriously in promoting the game in Malaysia while simultaneously upholding the Rules of Golf as prescribed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A).
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), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), 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.
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The European Tour is committed to celebrating the game of golf from the origins of the professional game, building a proud history of achievement, sportsmanship and integrity as well as showcasing our diverse global talent and rich landscapes. The European Tour's innovative approach enables us to embrace the world, combining championships of tradition with new tournaments in the cities and countries of the future.
The European Tour International Schedule, which from 2009 has incorporated The Race to Dubai, is a thriving global brand which, in 2012, will feature a minimum of 46 tournaments spread across all five continents of the world; the European Challenge Tour focuses on the up and coming players of the future; while the European Senior Tour provides a new start for champions celebrating their 50th birthday.
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About Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) is a member of Sime Darby Property Bhd and a propriety Club wholly-owned and operated by KLGCC Berhad. The club has won numerous accolades from both local and foreign golfing fraternity, the latest being voted the Malaysia’s Golf Club of the Year in Par Golf Awards 2011, No.1 Golf Course in Malaysia and Best Clubhouse in Asia Pacific by Asian Golf Monthly Awards 2011 and HAPA Golf Course of the Year by the prestigious Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards Regional Series 2011 – 2013. Today, it has become a landmark as the most luxurious golf resort development in Malaysia and KLGCC has in recent years hosted numerous international championships such as the Maybank Malaysian Open and the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
About GlobalOne
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