Wednesday, 09 March 2016
Kiradech Aphibarnrat  (Getty Images)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Getty Images)

Kiradech Aphibarnrat is hoping home comforts can inspire him to victory as he looks to kick-start his season at the True Thailand Classic Presented by Chang.

The event makes its second appearance on The European Tour International Schedule after last year's debut at Black Mountain Golf Club when Aphibarnrat finished two shots behind winner Andrew Dodt.

That result was one of five top fives for the 26 year old, who claimed victories at the Shenzhen International and Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play on his way to a 13th-placed finish in the 2015 Race to Dubai.

His best finish so far in the new campaign was a tie for 16th at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, but he feels his game is starting to come round and would love nothing more than to overcome his travel weariness after the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Florida and claim a win on home soil.

"It's great to be back to play in your home country and to play in front of your fans, family and especially my wife who will come this week," he said. "I think she'll come on Sunday as she knows about the prize money and she'll come to collect the money!

"It's an honour to come back to Black Mountain as I've played so well on this course.

"I didn't start well like the last couple of years. I played the first five weeks but didn't play on form. I've worked hard last week and this week with my coach. We're very near to getting back into form for this week.

I want to do my best on behalf of Thai people. I'm sure all Thai players will try hard and not let the others take the trophy away easily - Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Aphibarnrat has missed just one cut this season, at the Maybank Championship Malaysia, and could perhaps be forgiven for not being on his game that week as he teed it up at Royal Selangor Golf Club just four days after getting married.

He married his partner Tunyatorn Chaiyarat on Valentine's Day in a ceremony that involved a hot air balloon ride, but admits that due to his globetrotting schedule, he has yet to get a feel for married life.

"After getting married, I haven't spent a night with her!" he said. "I've been travelling, to Malaysia, the States and back here. I arrived here on Monday morning at 7am and was supposed to meet her for 15 minutes but she went out.

"I have no chance to meet her, maybe on Friday."

Another home favourite hoping for a good week in Hua Hin is Thongchai Jaidee, who comes into the event as the highest ranked player in the field at 37th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The 46 year old missed last week's event at Trump National Doral due to a virus picked up in Malaysia that forced him to withdraw from that tournament as well, but he is feeling better now and believes a hot putter could be the key to victory this week.

"The course condition is fantastic, the greens are quicker than last year," he said. "Whoever putts well will win the tournament.

"From tee to green, there's no rough. You have to putt well. It's hard to putt as the slopes can be killing. It's easy to get three or four putts if you're on the wrong side of the pin."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HEND, ScottAUS18-18
2SWANGARUNPORN, PiyaTHA18-17
3PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-15
4UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-14
5EDBERG, PelleSWE18-13
6LUITEN, JoostNED18-12

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