Kiradech finishes fifth at World Cup of Golf
Melbourne, Nov 24 (IANS) Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat cemented his growing reputation as a rising star by finishing equal fifth in the individual category of the $8 million World Cup of Golf here Sunday.
Tied with Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa as the top Asian finishers at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, the 24-year-old Kiradech, who currently leads the Asian Tour Order of Merit, ended his impressive campaign with a battling one-under-par 70 and a three-under-par 271 aggregate.
It was Kiradech’s third top-five finish over the past two months which included a third place finish at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
“Finishing top five again, I’m happy. I tried to shoot under par every day. I stuck to my game plan and focused on my game. The greens here, it’s not easy to make birdies or to make a move,” said the Thai, who earned $270,000 for his second World Cup appearance.
With the magnificent Royal Melbourne showing its teeth with swirling winds and lightning-quick greens, Kiradech was only one of 11 players who completed under par.
Kiradech finished seven strokes behind individual champion Jason Day of Australia, who wrapped up a double by teaming up with Adam Scott to lift the team title by a massive 10 shots from the United States team of Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman. Day won $1.2 million for his individual triumph and shared $600,000 with Scott.
Ishikawa and teammate Hideto Tanihira finished joint third in the team category with Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Oleson. Bjorn finished runner-up in the individual category, two behind Day with Scott a further shot back.
Kiradech birdied the second and sixth holes before dropping a double on eight but remained patient throughout the final day to shoot two more birdies on 11 and 15 before dropping his last bogey on 16. He missed two birdie chances coming home.
“I’ve improved a lot. I had birdie chances the last two holes but I wasn’t nervous. I’ve gotten better on this than before. Previously, after being in top-5, I wouldn’t be able to do my normal things. This week, I think I’ve become better playing with the top players,” said World No.67.
“Hopefully I’ll jump up in the world rankings. About 10 or 15 steps more to get into the top-50. I’ll try to win one at the Thailand Golf Championship.”
With one hand on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, where he leads by nearly $550,000, Kiradech is hoping to receive invitations to compete in PGA Tour early next year to move closer to a 2015 card following his high finish in Malaysia several weeks ago.
Kiradech’s show also helped Thailand finished ninth in the team competition, where countryman Prayad Marksaeng ended the week in joint 50th in the individual competition.