PONTE VEDRA BEACH: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat has a score to settle at the Players Championship this week.
At last year’s showpiece, he bravely launched a final day charge up the leaderboard at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, getting to eight under for the day before a quadruple bogey seven at the famous par-three 17th signature hole sank his hopes.
The first Thai to hold a PGA Tour card, Kiradech is fired up to launch another strong challenge especially when he is fresh from a tied-third finish at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
“I’m confident with my golf swing. I had a good week in Mexico and last week at Bay Hill [Arnold Palmer Invitational] was also a good week [he finished tied 23rd]. We’ve got a tough field here and a tough course to manage. However, I think I’ve almost secured my card for next season, so it releases some stress a little bit and this will allow me to play my own game. Now, I can go for it,” said Kiradech, who is ranked 48th on the FedEx Cup points list.
Kiradech, 29, recalled his horror show on the 17th hole last year where he was six over on that hole alone during the weekend rounds.
If he had made pars on both days, he could have theoretically finished tied-second behind winner Webb Simpson. Instead he finished tied-30th.
“Just one hole I didn’t play good,” said Kiradech. “I’ve forgotten already what I did last year and it’s a new tournament this week.”
Kiradech and his wife Tunyatorn Chaiyarat have quickly settled down in Orlando with the Thai star relishing the opportunity to compete against the world’s best every week.
He believes a maiden PGA Tour win is within his grasp.
“On the PGA Tour, you have to play against great players but it’s good being here. If I can win one event, everything will be easier. You have to hit the ball well, have a good mental game and have some good luck to beat these guys,” he said.