Thai star golfer Kiradech to compete at Hero Indian Open

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Thai star golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat has confirmed his participation for the upcoming Hero Indian Open, to be held in Gurugram from March 9 to 12, it was announced on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old big-built Thai has six professional titles, three of which came in 2013, when he was crowned Asia No.1.

Former Asia No.1 Kiradech, who is now ranked 76th in the world — his best was 37th in December 2015, is no stranger to India, having played a few times till 2013. In 2011, he won his first Asian Tour title at the SAIL Open in India.

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 the Middle-East, where he was tied fourth in Abu Dhabi and T-9 in Qatar.

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 2017 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 world ranked 149.

The Indian Open will be held at the Gary Player course at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

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