Does Asian Tour Number One Kiradech Aphibarnrat Have the Game to Win a Major Golf Championship in the Near Future?
The twenty four year old from Thailand has followed in the foot steps of his countrymen Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant in winning the 2013 Asian Order of merit.
He changed his name from Anujit Hiraunstanakorn to Kiradech Aphibarnrat because he thought his second name was too long!
Kiradech was a top ranking junior golfer and won his age group (13-14 years) twice at the World Junior Championship held each year at Torrey Pines golf course in California.
Turning professional in 2009 it didn't take him long to win his first professional tournament, the Singha Pattaya Open on the Thailand local tour.
Solid performances on the Asian Tour followed and in 2011 he won the Sail Open in India to seal his first victory on the Asian Tour.
He is one of those players that has the game to shoot really low scores, but it's his"swash buckling" style that on occasions causes him to throw over par rounds in at crucial times in a tournament that stops him from winning more often.
But keep in mind he's young and will learn how to win multiple times a year as he is mentored by the best professionals from Thailand.
Kiradech said recently, "growing up in the company of Thailand's golf legends has been the biggest influence, I continually learn something from the other top Thai professionals".
At 104 kilograms and standing 5' 8" and with a current World Golf Ranking of 60 he is quoted as saying, "I cannot say I will win a major, but it is my goal to win one for sure".
Kiradech's immediate goal is to play himself into the top 50 in the World Golf Rankings in the next month which will guarantee him invites to play all golf's majors this year.
With his Malaysian Open win gaining him two years playing privileges on the European Tour he will have ample opportunity in the tournaments played in the Middle East and South Africa to achieve his top 50 World Golf Rankings goal.
Now with the opportunity to play full time on the European Tour and to also travel with Thongchai Jaidee (who will show him how to plan his year effectively) he is on the cusp of becoming one of the best Asian players, and it is likely that he will have a long and successful career.
We will follow his progress this year and report back to you on how Asia's top "young gun" progresses.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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