Aphibarnrat looking to reignite his career on home soil

Former Asian Tour No.1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat feels this week’s International Series Thailand, at Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, could help reignite his career.

The Thai superstar, who is without a win in five years, nearly walked away from the sport last year due to his loneliness in the United States.

Now ‘happier than he’s been in the last two years’, competing on home soil, at a venue where he has won before, surrounded by family and friends, and on the Tour where it all began for him, the 33-year-old is hoping it will provide the much-needed inspiration he is looking for.

“This week is very special,” said Aphibarnrat

“Playing in front of my family, all my fans coming over to support, being with my friends on tour – I really want to win this week. I’m going to try as hard as I can to get the job done.

“I feel this week is quite important. It might be a key to bringing me back to where I belong, help build my confidence. I don’t think I’m far off my A game. This title might be a big turning point.”

Winning became a habit for Aphibarnrat after he turned professional in 2008 – he has triumphed three times on the Asian Tour and four on the DP World Tour – and in 2018 he became the first player from his country to secure a card on the PGA Tour.

However, his career has stalled since then with his last victory on one of the game’s main Tour’s coming at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth in 2018, an event co-sanctioned by Asia, Australasia and Europe.

“This Tour is where I belong” he said.

“I’ve played international golf events worldwide, but I started in Asia. Every time I come back, even when not on my A game I find it more comfortable playing here.

“I have a lot of good friends here in the field – I feel like I’m back home and I enjoy playing. The Asian Tour staff too – I’m like a kid when I come back to this tour – we’re all family and friends.”

One of the friends he is particularly happy to be hanging out with here is fellow Tour star Prom Meesawat, whose hometown is Hua Hin.

“We shared a room at the International Series Morocco and he wasn’t quite happy with his game but he said to me: “You know, bro, this is my best week of the year. It’s my happiest week,” he added.

“Prom and I grew up together. Same coach, same schools but we hadn’t spent a lot of time together. To do so was fantastic. Neither of us had our A games but we understand each other quite well and push each other the whole time. We don’t want to let each other down.

“We spend a lot of time together, sharing rooms, eating together, etc. – that’s when I feel happiest.”

And while the Thai star still has ambitions to succeed on the world stage, being successful on the Asian Tour has once again become a priority.

“I changed my mind around, I want to come back to Asia and play where I feel comfortable. I want to build up my confidence and talent – that’s what I am looking forward to,” he said.

“Although my schedule isn’t set for the year, I will try to play as much Asian Tour as I can.”

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