Carnoustie - Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be looking to produce his best outing at The Open when he tees off for his fifth appearance in the world’s oldest Major Championship on Thursday.
Kiradech, Asia’s number one in 2013, has never made the halfway cut in his last four appearances at The Open, which is also the only Major championship that he has yet to make it to the weekend rounds.
Placed 30th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), Kiradech hopes to set the record straight when he plays alongside World number three Justin Rose and defending champion Jordan Spieth in the opening round on Thursday.
“I will try and play my best this week. If I can put up a good showing, it will be a perfect birthday gift for myself,” said Kiradech, who turns 29 on Monday. “I am playing with Rose and Spieth tomorrow. I want to make the Asians feel proud by playing well alongside them.”
The big-hitting Kiradech has enjoyed a superb season so far, claiming his third Asian Tour title and fourth European Tour victory at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth in February and taking home his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory in Brunei the following month.
Kiradech also came in tied-fifth at both the WGC-Mexico Championship and the WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play in March. In his last Major appearance at the US Open in June, Kiradech enjoyed a 15th place finish, which matched his best ever result in a Major championship.
The popular Kiradech will spearhead the Thai challenge alongside debutants Jazz Janewattananond and Danthai Boonma at The 147th Open at Carnoustie.
“I am looking forward to this week. I will just stay focused and try to keep the ball in play. Carnoustie is one of the toughest courses for The Open. I have to make sure I missed at the right spots to give myself opportunities to get up and down and avoid the bunkers out there,” he said.
Kiradech sang high praises for compatriot Jazz, who recently claimed his second Asian Tour victory at the Queen’s Cup presented by Bangchak on home soil by four shots.
“I played with Jazz yesterday and we enjoyed a good round. We’re sharing a house this week. Jazz is one of the up and coming golfers from Thailand and I think he has a bright future. This boy has the game and the skills to challenge at the highest level.
“I like the way he carries himself on the golf course. I feel like he has no fear at all, although he’s playing his first Major championship this week. I would love to see him play well. He just need to get used to the course, learn more about it and he will have a good chance,” he added.
Danthai, a one-time Asian Tour winner, is hoping to make it a week to remember when he tees off for his first Major championship this week.
“I am enjoying the experience so far. This is my first time in Scotland and also my first time playing on a links course. The course’s pretty intimidating with the strong winds and firm greens but I will focus on playing shot by shot and stick to my strategy,” said the 22-year-old Danthai.
Danthai, a double-gold medalist at the 2012 South East Asia (SEA) Games, earned his Asian Tour breakthrough at The World Golf Classic Championship in Singapore three years ago. He has also notched back-to-back top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour, two weeks prior to his Major debut.
“I’m very excited to play in my first Major this week. My parents are here in Scotland for the first time and they are enjoying themselves too. A lot of superstars are here. I would love to see Tiger Woods, for sure.
“I played my practice round with some top players like Louis Oosthuizen and Gary Woodland yesterday and it was a great experience. I learned a lot from them. I am not thinking much about the results. I just want to enjoy myself this week,” Danthai added.