Kuala Lumpur, March 19 (IANS) Asian number one golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat feels he is ready to rise to the occasion at the inaugural EurAsia Cup and take Team Asia, which has two Indians Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri, to success.
The talented Thai, who won the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown last season thanks largely to his victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open and a joint third finish in the CIMB Classic, feels that match play golf fits his natural aggressive style of play as he prepares to be part of Team Asia to face Team Europe at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club from March 27-29.
“Malaysia is like my second home,” said the 24-year-old Kiradech.
“I won the Maybank Malaysian Open and finished third in the CIMB Classic which helped me win the Order of Merit. It will be fantastic to see our fans decked in red colours (Team Asia colours) at Glenmarie to support Team Asia.”
Kiradech, who has enjoyed several other top-10s in Malaysia, is excited to go head-on against Team Europe, which will be led by captain Miguel Angel Jimenez and includes established Ryder Cup stars such as Thomas Bjorn and Graeme McDowell.
He believes his attacking game will fit perfectly for match play golf. The EurAsia Cup will see five fourball matches being staged on the first day (March 27, Thursday), followed by five foursomes matches on day two (March 28, Friday) and 10 singles matches on the last day (March 29, Saturday).
“I think my game is well suited for match play as I’m always aiming for birdies and eagles. I think match play will come naturally for me and I’m looking forward to playing in the fourball and foursomes with any partner.
“It doesn’t matter who I partner as I believe all the Team Asia players are great players. I think the format is very exciting for fans as there will be a lot of amazing shots being played by the golfers,” said Kiradech.
“Team Europe will have several players with a lot of Ryder Cup experience but Team Asia will have home ground advantage. Our players have also become very strong over the years following the opportunities to compete in the co-sanctioned tournaments and we have many really good young and experienced players who will provide a good mix in our team.
“It will be a close match but at the end of the day, I have every confidence that Team Asia can defeat Team Europe. We have this belief in our hearts and mind that we can do it.”
Thongchai Jaidee (Captain, Thailand), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Gaganjeet Bhullar (India), Nicholas Fung (Malaysia), Kim Hyung-sung (Korea,) Anirban Lahiri (India), Prayad Marksaeng (Thailand), Koumei Oda (Japan), Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh), Hideto Tanihara (Japan).Team Europe:
Miguel Angel Jimenez (Captain, Spain), Thomas Bjorn (Denmark), Jamie Donaldson (Wales), Victor Dubuisson (France), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain), Stephen Gallacher (Scotland), Pablo Larrazabal (Spain), Joost Luiten (Netherlands), Graeme McDowell (N. Ireland), Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark).Published 19 Mar 2014, 17:15 IST