Thai star Kiradech confirms participation in Hero Indian Open

Two-time winner on the Asian Tour, Thailand golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be seen in action at the Hero Indian Open next month. The 27-year-old big-built Thai, seen as one of the most talented rising stars from Asia, has confirmed his participation in the tournament.

Kiradech has won three times on the European Tour and was also crowned the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion in 2013.   -  Getty Images

Two-time winner on the Asian Tour, Thailand golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be seen in action at the Hero Indian Open next month.

The 27-year-old big-built Thai, seen as one of the most talented rising stars from Asia, has confirmed his participation in the tournament.

Kiradech has won three times on the European Tour and was also crowned the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion in 2013.

Currently ranked 76th in the world, the Thai golfer has played a few times in India till 2013. In 2011, he won his first Asian Tour title at the SAIL Open in India.

A former World No. 37th, Kiradech, who spent 2016 playing three Tours — Asian, European and US Tours, has had a great start to the season with two top-10 finishes in West Asia, where he was tied fourth in Abu Dhabi and tied ninth in Qatar.

Kiradech, one of the most exciting players on the Tour, will lead a strong contingent from Thailand.

A little over three years ago, when Kiradech was on the rise, he defeated a host of stars including Major winners Charl Schwartzel and Padraig Harrington to win the 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open.

He went on to eclipse some of the PGA Tour biggest stars at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia by finishing third. Former World Junior champion Kiradech, ended the 2013 season as the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, on the strength of one victory and five other top-five finishes.

Another rising Thai to be seen in Hero Indian Open will be the 17-year-old prodigy Phachara Khongwatmai, who was runner-up to Brett Rumford at the ISPS Handa World Super Six in Perth last week. Phachara, who has twice finished runner-up — at Singapore and Perth — is now ranked 149 in the world.

The Hero Indian Open will be held at the Gary Player course at the DLF Golf & Country Club from March 9 to 12. The tournament has been played at the club only once before — back in 2009, when C Muniyappa won the title — but at the Arnold Palmer course.

The prize purse has been enhanced to USD 1.75 million, which is almost six times more than USD 300,000, which it was when Hero took on the Title Sponsorship of the Indian Open in 2005.