Joy of 6 for as Kiradech Aphibarnrat as Grant Forrest hails '˜great week'
Aphibarnrat, who won the inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play at Murcar Links in 2015, prevailed once more in a head-to-head format as the event in western Australia concluded with a series of six-holes shoot-outs.
The 28-year-old Thai player had secured the final spot among the 24 players involved in that exiting last-day action in a play-off on Saturday but that didn’t stop him from coming out on top in this unique event.
After beating Ben Eccles, Yusaka Miyazato, Sean Crocker and Lucas Herbert to reach the final, Aphibarnrat recovered from losing the first to triumph by 2&1 against home player James Nitties, climbing to tenth in this year’s Race to Dubai with the fourth victory of his career.
“It’s been an awesome week,” said Aphibarnrat, who won around £160,000. “I don’t know how to explain, but I’m so happy .The last few months I’ve been getting really close (to winning) and finally I’ve done it.”
Against Miyazato, Aphibarnrat was one down with two to play before scraping through at the fifth extra hole. “It was really tough to get in the last 24 and then it was also tough in every single match,” he added after a success that will lift him back into the top 50 in the world rankings.
Forrest, who only got into the event late on, lost to Australian Matthew Millar in the opening round on the last day after comfortably being among the qualifiers in joint-ninth, having carded rounds of 69-68-72 in the stroke-play phase for a seven-under-par aggregate.
The pair were separated by a birdie-2 from Millar at the fifth hole, leaving Forrest satisfied with his week’s work in what was his first event of the year.
“Great week,” said the 24-year-old Craigielaw man on social media of his effort, which earned him around £13,500 in just his sixth start as a professional on the European Tour. “Played solid golf, so a good way to start the season.”
Forrest’s next outing is likely to be in the Barclays Kenya Open, the first event of the year on the Challenge Tour, towards the end of March as his ranking won’t get him into upcoming tournaments such as the Bank of Oman Open or Qatar Masters on the European Tour.