Kiradech impresses Choi with short game

Fri 11 Oct 2013

Kiradech impresses Choi with short game

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Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, October 11: Kiradech Aphibarnrat impressed Korean star K.J. Choi with his solid short game when he seized the second round clubhouse lead in windy conditions at the CJ Invitational on Friday.
The Thai, who started from hole 10, enjoyed a hot start when he was five-under through 10 holes before stumbling in the closing stages to settle for a one-under-par 71.
Kiradech, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, totalled seven-under-par 137 and was three shots ahead of compatriot Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand, who posted a 71 at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event.
Kim Tae-hoon of Korea was on eight-under through eighth holes before play was suspended due to darkness. A total of 59 players will resume the second round at 7am on Saturday.
K J Choi of Korea K J Choi of Korea
Kiradech’s solid game around and on the greens earned plaudits from Asian Tour honorary member Choi, who carded a 74 to trail the big-hitting Thai by eight shots at the magnificent Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club on the outskirts of Seoul.
“His short game and putting were very good early in the round. I kind of learnt a lesson from him! He made all the putts inside 10-feet on the front nine. However, his irons were a little bit shaky. If he keeps practising his iron shots, I think he will be a very good player,” said the eight-time PGA Tour winner Choi.
The burly Thai, known as one of the most exciting talents in Asia due to his grip-it and rip-it style of play, returned this morning to complete five holes before heading out again to finish round two.
Playing from the 10th tee, he turned in 32 before his putter went cold and resulted in two bogeys and a double bogey on the par three eighth hole. He ensured that his score was in the red when he holed a huge 50-footer par putt on the last.
“It was perfect golf in really strong wind. I holed a lot of putts and made no mistakes on the front nine. I started to struggle after my bogey on the second hole. I three putted on the eighth hole from close range and that was bad,” lamented the 24-year-old Kiradech.
“I would be very proud if I can win this title from K.J. Choi. He is the first top player which I played with three years ago (in the third round of the 2010 Malaysian Open). I remember how he played and everything he did. Until today, I still hold on to those memories,” said the Thai.
Chawalit, winner of the season-opening Zaykabar Myanmar Open, mixed his card with four birdies against two bogeys to put himself within three shots from Kiradech.
“It was a tough day but I’m glad that I put myself in good position. I haven’t been playing well since I won so I hope that I can maintain this form and be in contention for the title on Sunday,” said the 39-year-old Chawalit.
Kim Tae-Hoon of Korea Kim Tae-Hoon of Korea
Choi, who is aiming for an historic treble of wins in his own event, was caught off-guard by the blustery conditions but was happy to be positioned in the middle of the leaderboard.
“I’m currently in a very relaxed position! It sort of gives me a chance to make a charge up the leaderboard. This is the first time we had these windy conditions in three years! The weather is usually very calm here so it was quite difficult to play out there,” said Choi.
“I didn’t practice much this week and this is the third time I’m playing this golf course this year. The wind was blowing very strongly and I couldn’t control my shots. I’m aiming to shoot a pair of six-under in the weekend and see if I can win again,” he smiled.
The CJ Invitational Hosted by KJ Choi is title sponsored by the CJ Group, Korea’s food-to-entertainment conglomerate and is promoted by IMG.
Scores after round 2 of the CJ Invitational Hosted By KJ Choi being played at the par 72, 7226 Yards Haesley Nine Bridges GC course (a- denotes amateur):
137 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 66-71.
Rikard Karlberg of Sweden Rikard Karlberg of Sweden
140 - Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 69-71.
141 - KIM Gi-whan (KOR) 69-72, KANG Kyung-nam (KOR) 69-72.
143 - PARK Sang-hyun (KOR) 71-72.
144 - MOON Kyong-jun (KOR) 72-72, Zaw MOE (MYN) 70-74, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 72-72, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 72-72, HONG Soon-sang (KOR) 69-75.
145 - Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 71-74, HWANG Jung-gon (KOR) 72-73, K.J. CHOI (KOR) 71-74.
146 - LEE Kyoung-hoon (KOR) 69-77, RYU Hyun-woo (KOR) 68-78, LEE Ki-sang (KOR) 70-76, Unho PARK (AUS) 70-76.
147 - MO Joong-kyung (KOR) 75-72, LEE Dong-hwan (KOR) 69-78, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 70-77, Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 72-75, Javi COLOMO (ESP) 74-73, Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 68-79, Andrew TSUCHIDIN (AUS) 71-76, Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 69-78.
Ends.
About the K.J. Choi Foundation
K.J. Choi, one of the most successful golfers to come from Korea, did not want to stop with his own personal success, but felt a strong social responsibility to give back to society and realized he needed a reliable means of doing so. Joining together with other community leaders in Korea who share the common idea, he established the K.J. Choi Foundation in 2007 for this purpose. K.J. Choi Foundation conducts major charitable projects for those who are faced in hopeless situations in Korean domestic and International communities. The Foundation especially focuses in the support of underprivileged children by lovingly providing welfare services and professional help, thus providing young people with hopes and dreams. K.J. Choi also works closely with many community leaders to help support junior golfers in difficult financial and environmental situations fulfil their dreams through his junior golf program, K.J. Choi Dream Team. K.J. Choi Foundation’s vision is to be a community leader that provides hope and happiness for all, and its purpose is to be a Foundation for everyone.
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.