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.
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".
This I believe is one of the reasons why Thai golfers are so successful on the Asian and Japanese Tours.
They travel as a group and are a close knit family unit, where the older professionals take the younger players under their wing, mentor them and fast track their progress on tour.
Kiradech established himself early in 2013 by winning the Malaysian Open which is jointly sanctioned with the European Tour.
This win together with a 3rd place finish in the CIMB Classic (PGA Tour) held in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia earned him US $864,000 and helped him to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Amassing a total of US $1,127,855.00 in winning the O.O.M he is only the second player to have won more than US $1 million in a season. The other golfer is India's Jeev Milka Singh who was the first to achieve this milestone.
He has given credit to veteran Thai professional Boonchu Ruangkit with the simple piece of advice; "it's all about believing in yourself and your ability" that has allowed him to take his game to where it is presently.
One of his regrets is that his swing coach Natpusit Chokthanasart (Pro Jew) who passed away late last year did not officially see his protege receive the award, but the result was beyond doubt by late last year.
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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