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Golf: Team Asia count on Malaysia’s ‘home’ advantage in EurAsia Cup

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (right), the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, with Asia teammate Nicholas Fung ahead of this week’s EurAsia Cup against Team Europe in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Asian Tour.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (right), the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, with Asia teammate Nicholas Fung ahead of this week’s EurAsia Cup against Team Europe in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Asian Tour.

March 24, 2014: Kiradech Aphibarnrat hopes that Malaysia will again prove a happy hunting ground for him when he represents Team Asia in the inaugural three-day EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-Hicom, which tees off on Thursday.

 

Last March the young Thai won the Malaysian Open, which was co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, on his way to winning the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit. In October, Kiradech also performed brilliantly to finish third in the CIMB Classic, a PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Kuala Lumpur featuring many top American stars including Phil Mickelson.

 

Having also enjoyed several top-10s in Malaysia since he made his professional debut in 2008, Kiradech is banking on his feel-good factor in the country to steer Asia towards victory over Europe at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

 

“I always feel at home whenever I play in Malaysia,” Kiradech said. “This week is exceptionally special, as my family is here to support me. I think I’ve got a lot of luck in Malaysia, ever since I won the Malaysian Open last year.”

 

Like Team Asia playing captain Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech holds playing rights on both The European Tour and Asian Tour, but is determined to help Team Asia triumph this week and help the circuit to grow like its more established counterparts.

 

“Team Europe has got all the top players, but I think we’ve got good players as well, especially Thongchai Jaidee, who is one of the best players in Asia right now. I think we will be a tough team to beat,” Kiradech said. “I feel very proud that we have a tournament like the Ryder Cup here in Asia and happy that the younger generation like me gets a chance to play in this kind of tournament. I look forward to seeing the Asian Tour grow to be like the European Tour and PGA Tour.”

 

Nicholas Fung, the reigning Asian Development Tour number one, is one of Team Asia’s lower-ranked players, but is determined to put in a performance to justify Thongchai’s faith in him as his first captain’s pick. Fung is also determined to repay the faith shown his entourage of family members who have arrived from Sabah to lend their support.

 

“My parents, my relatives and my sponsors are all flying over from Sabah to KL to support me this week. My form has been good since last year so I hope I can bring forward the good form to this week. It is a good opportunity to gain experience and bring my game up another level as we get to play with the European players,” said Fung, who is also hoping his local knowledge will pay off.

 

“I’ve played here a few times already. The greens are firmer and faster as compared to years ago. Overall, the course is looking good and it is not too long. Hopefully it will be an advantage to us.”

Team Asia: Thongchai Jaidee (Captain, Thailand), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Gaganjeet Bhullar (India), Nicholas Fung (Malaysia), Kim Hyung-sung (Korea,) Anirban Lahiri (India), Prayad Marksaeng  (Thailand), Koumei Oda (Japan), Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh), Hideto Tanihara (Japan).

 

Team Europe: Miguel-Angel Jimenez (Captain, Spain), Thomas Bjorn (Denmark), Jamie Donaldson (Wales), Victor Dubuisson (France), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain), Stephen Gallacher (Scotland), Pablo Larrazabal (Spain), Joost Luiten (Netherlands), Graeme McDowell (N Ireland), Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark).

 

For more information, visit: www.eurasiacup.com

 

Source: Asian Tour

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