Aphibarnrat suffered a neck injury in the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM which affected his early season results, but he is now back to full fitness and aiming to hit the heights he reached last year, when he won twice on The European Tour – first in the Shenzhen International and then in the Paul Lawrie Match Play.
Twelve months ago, Aphibarnrat finished tied fourth at Black Mountain Golf Club, now a member of the network of European Tour Properties, following two rounds of 67 with a pair of 70s.
Aphibarnrat will make the long journey to Hua Hin from America, where he finished tied 49th in last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship after following promising back-to-back rounds of 71 with a closing 79 on a windswept final day in Doral.
Also making the trip from Miami are Swede Kristoffer Broberg, a winner in Asia last November in the BMW Masters, and Australian Nathan Holman, who captured his maiden European Tour title on home soil the following month in the Australian PGA Championship.
Last year it was another Australian, Andrew Dodt, who claimed the inaugural title at Black Mountain GC by a single stroke from Thailand’s most successful player, Thongchai Jaidee, and Scott Hend, who is also making the long flight from Miami this week.
After missing the WGC-Cadillac Championship due to illness, Jaidee will be hoping to capture his eighth European Tour title this week and his first on Asian soil since the 2009 Ballantine’s Championship, with his three most recent victories all coming in Europe, including last year’s Porsche European Open in Germany.