Hoylake, July 15: Asian Tour number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat hopes to prove the old adage that ‘Mothers know best’ by producing a season-changing performance at The Open Championship which starts on Thursday.
The big-hitting Thai has endured a run of lackluster form following a magical 2013 campaign where he won once and enjoyed eight other top-10s to become the region’s top player.
However, words of wisdom from his number one supporter, his mum Supunnikar, has helped the talented 24-year-old regain the self-belief that he truly belongs amongst the world’s elite at Royal Liverpool.
“I’ve got my mum here. When I was a junior golfer, I’ve always travelled around the world with her and we are very close. My parents know I’ve lost some confidence but we’re sticking together and they are trying to push me up,” said Kiradech, who has only one top-10 this season.
“From the start of this year, I’m playing bad golf and I have told them that my swing and feel have changed but mum has reminded me that I’m still the same guy … still the same golfer. She believes I can do it, even win this week.
“With her in the rented home here, we have Thai food every night and I feel comfortable, it feels just like home. Unfortunately, my dad is not here as he doesn’t like to travel too far.”
Kiradeh will make his second appearance at The Open after a disappointing debut last year. He opened with a solid 72 at Muirfield but ballooned to a disastrous 85 after opening his second round with a triple bogey which shook him up.
“The Open was my first Major last year and I made a lot of mistakes. It was a good experience and I believe I will not be so nervous as before,” said Kiradech.
“The main thing this week is the wind and bunkers but I do feel comfortable out here. I’m hitting it sharper than previously and I’ve got my confidence back. I just have to find one good week and hopefully everything will come back.
“I think the second half of the year should be a better one. The way I’m striking the ball in the last couple of weeks, I’m happy. I have a lot of confidence with my swing. My putting is getting better and every part seems to be improving. I’m looking forward to better results and I also want to move back into the world’s top-100 after this week to qualify for the PGA Championship next month,” added the 106th ranked golfer.
Kiradech spent a week in a Thai Buddhist temple in May to learn to become a monk which he said taught him to become more patient with himself.
“From the beginning of the year until now, I felt like I haven’t been mentally strong and focused. I want to learn to be more patient with myself and enjoy my golf and hopefully my time in the temple will help me appreciate what I do for a living,” said Kiradech, who holds two wins on the Asian Tour.
“In the temple grounds, I did a lot of meditation and prayer every day. We also walked without shoes with the other monks for several kilometres daily to collect food which was another experience. I had to work and clean the temple grounds every day,” he said.
Kiradech will play the opening two rounds with Italian Edoardo Molinari and American Books Koepka
Source: Asian Tour