(Reuters) - Kiradech Aphibarnrat still remembers the cheers each time he reached for his driver at last year’s PGA Championship and the big-hitting Thai has no plans to curb his aggressive style after earning a return invitation for the year’s final major.
Aphibarnrat will join Anirban Lahiri of India, compatriot Thongchai Jaidee as well as South Koreans K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang and Noh Seung-yul of Korea in the Asian contingent at the Aug. 7-10 tournament at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.
The burly Thai, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, finished tied for 25th place last year in his PGA Championship debut.
“It was fun. I remember the fans cheering me on at the tee boxes and they liked to see me use my driver,” the 25-year-old told the Asian Tour website (www.asiantour.com).
Fans at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York really took to the Thai last year, with some holding up placards supporting ‘Team Kiradech’.
“I love it when they asked about Team Kiradech. I‘m really pleased as they are all part of my team too,” he added.
Kiradech struggled with his short game at this month’s British Open, where he missed the cut, and was aware that he had to be better on the greens in Kentucky.
“The course will be challenging for sure and I’ve to improve on my putting game. But I‘m confident in my driving and irons and hopefully it’ll all work out next week,” Kiradech, currently ranked 114th in the world, said.
”I love playing in the United States as the course conditions there really suit my game.
“It’s tough but I’ve learnt how to play on it. I always feel that I have a good chance each time I play in the States.”
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford