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Golf: Thailand’s Kiradech joins Japan’s Matsuyama at IMG

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Guy Kinnings of IMG, Renato Paratore and Eddie Pepperell in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Getty Images.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Guy Kinnings of IMG, Renato Paratore and Eddie Pepperell in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Getty Images.

January 15, 2015: Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, has signed with IMG for worldwide management and marketing representation. Last week, IMG announced that it had signed Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama, Asia’s top player.

 

Kiradech, 25, finished fifth in The European Tour’s US$6,500,000 Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa last month and is now competing in the circuit’s Middle East swing, including the ongoing Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and next week’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

 

“I am really looking forward to the fresh start of the new season and to getting back to winning ways,” said Kiradech, who joined IMG along with Italian Renato Paratore, 18, and Englishman Eddie Pepperell, 23.

 

“I am very happy to be signing with IMG. With offices all over the world, I know that wherever I play, I will have everything taken care of off course by IMG while I focus on playing my best golf.”

 

The big-hitting Thai turned pro in 2008 after a strong amateur career that included two World Junior Championship victories. Kiradech won his first title as a pro at the SAIL Open in India in 2009 and has finished inside the top 10 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit in four of the last five years.

 

Kiradech claimed the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit after winning the European Tour co-sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open and posting six top-five finishes during the season. In October 2013, Kiradech also stunned some of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars with a third-place finish at the US$7 million CIMB Classic in Malaysia and finished the year in the world’s top 60.

 

Last March, Kiradech helped Asia draw with Europe 10-10 in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, although his season was later interrupted by injury problems, including a knee injury that forced him to withdraw from August’s PGA Championship, having tied for 25th in the year’s fourth major a year earlier.

 

Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf, IMG added, “We are delighted that Kiradech has chosen IMG as his management company and look forward to representing him. He is a wonderful character, a very exciting young talent and already has many fans around the world after his spectacular performances on the Asian, European and US PGA Tours.”

 

Source: IMG (www.img.com); Editing by SportAsia

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