Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Kiradech Aphibarnrat  (Getty Images)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Getty Images)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat insists he will not be changing his game-plan as he looks to bury the ghost of last season's final round at the KLM Open.

The Thai entered Sunday at The Dutch with a one-shot lead and was still right in the mix on the back nine before finding water when going for the green in two at the par five 15th and last.

That resulted in a pair of double-bogeys as he finished three shots behind winner Romain Wattel.

The result did not halt his momentum, however, as he finished in the top ten in Rolex Series events at three of his last five tournaments of the season en route to finishing a career-best 11th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

The 29 year old currently sits 12th after a win at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth and three top fives at Rolex Series events and World Golf Championships, so it is understandable that he is not looking to change a successful formula.

“A lot of people still talk about what happened to me on 15 and 18 last year but in my mind I was always going to go for it,” he said. “I didn’t care what the result was I just thought, ‘I don’t want to lose myself’.

“I am still going to play my own game this year and we don’t have many more chances to play this well-conditioned golf course. It might be a little bit strange playing those holes again in the Pro-Am but I’m going to try and hit the ball in the same spots that I did last year to make sure I can carry that water.”

Despite last season's disappointment, Aphibarnrat is a huge fan of the layout at The Dutch and believes he has the game-plan to be as successful as he was for 68 holes last season.

“I really love the course and the conditions,” he said. “I don’t feel great with my golf swing at the moment but I have taken a couple of weeks off and last week I was starting to warm up for this week. Anything can happen, though, and if my swing is right I feel that I can come back again.

“This course is all about putting and position. If you can put yourself in the right position then it is fine, but some spots are very tough and you have to make sure that if you miss, you miss on the right side.

“I still love the shape of the course and think playing against the wind this week will be a good challenge.”

Lee Westwood finished a shot ahead of Aphibarnrat last season and he brings some decent form to Spijk having lost a play-off at the Made in Denmark and finished in a tie for 12th at the Omega European Masters.

The Englishman claimed the seventh of his 23 European Tour wins at this event 19 years ago and with four other top fives, he clearly enjoys teeing it up in the Netherlands.

“I played really well here last year and had a chance to win - so I am looking forward to this week,” he said. “It’s a nice golf course, it was very wet last year but it is a very good design and let’s hope the sun comes out.

“I’ve always played well in this event. I won around Hilversumsche which is a very tight tree-lined course in 1999. It is very different to here but it is always nice to come back to a country where you’ve won before as it always gives you a good feeling.

“My game is good. I am trying to roll a few more putts in and I’m starting to shape the ball a lot better - I’m starting to flight the ball a lot better too.”

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5HARRINGTON, PadraigIRL18-13

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