Big-hitting Kiradech widens lead at the Richard Mille Brunei Championships

Fri 09 Mar 2018

Big-hitting Kiradech widens lead at the Richard Mille Brunei Championships


Bandar Seri Begawan, March 9: Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat continued his sensational run of form with a flawless seven-under-par 64, extending his overnight lead to six following the penultimate round of the Richard Mille Brunei Championships on Friday.

The 28-year-old Thai, who started the round with a three-shot advantage, returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by seven birdies to stay atop the leaderboard on 20-under-par 193 total at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.

His playing partner and compatriot Itthipat Buranatanyarat signed for a 67 to sit in second place while Singapore’s Quincy Quek (64) and American John Catlin(69) settled nine shots off the pace in third on 202 at the US$60,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.  

Kiradech, a three-time winner on the Asian Tour and a double winner on the region’s secondary circuit, hopes to boost his world ranking and edge towards his goal of breaking into top-30 with a victory this week.

He attained a career-high 36th position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) following a tied-fifth finish at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship last week.

“I think my ultimate goal is to be in the top-30. I have been inside the top-50 many times. And my current position of 36th is my best ranking. I just want to build up more confidence with a win tomorrow and prepare myself for a couple of big events coming up in the States.

“I played with a great group. I played with John (Catlin) before in Thailand last year and he’s such a nice guy. He’s based in Thailand too so I taught him a couple of Thai words. It was really fun playing with John and Itthipat,” said Kiradech, Asian Tour’s number one in 2013.

“I am having a lovely time in Brunei so far. There were so many fans out here watching me which was very unexpected. I haven’t had the time to do anything fun as I have been busy trying to recover from my jetlag but I think tonight I will spend it with my friends in Brunei and then head into the final round recharged,” added Kiradech.

Itthipat, chasing for a third ADT win, overcame early nerves of playing alongside good friend and world number 36 Kiradech by extending his bogey-free streak to 36 holes.

“Kiradech is my close friend but I was still pretty nervous playing with him today because I know he is world number 36. I got over my nerves after the first couple of holes. My caddy helped me a lot today.

“He told me to just play against the golf course and not against Kiradech and that helped me to focus. I made about seven up-and-downs today from fifty yards. On the last hole, I made a good up-and-down from 70 yards for par. I wasn’t hitting it well but my wedges were very accurate,” added the 24-year-old Itthipat, who fired four birdies for his commendable 67.

Quek, a one-time winner on the ADT but not since 2012, rode on a hot putter to mark his week’s best efforts so far with a 64.

“My putts were dropping today which really helped. I think that has always been the case with my game. I just need to get the putts dropping and then ride on that momentum from hole to hole.

“I didn’t put myself into a position where I was struggling to save par. I would be very happy to play with Kiradech and I think it would be interesting to see how he gets around this golf course and learn a trick of two from him,” said Quek.

The winner of the Richard Mille Brunei Championships will take home a prize purse of US$10,500. The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour in 2019.

For more information on the ADT, please visit

Leading third round scores:

193 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 65 64 64

199 - Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 68 64 67

202 - Quincy QUEK (SGP) 71 67 64, John CATLIN (USA) 66 67 69

203 - Joshua Andrew WIRAWAN (INA) 70 68 65, Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) 69 67 67

204 - Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 68 69 67

205 - Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 68 70 67, Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 71 70 64, Lee SONG (KOR) 67 67 71

206 - Shinichi MIZUNO (JPN) 68 68 70, Danny MASRIN (INA) 65 70 71

207 - Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 71 68 68, Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA) 70 69 68, Thanpisit OMSIN (THA) 67 72 68, Johnson POH (SGP) 71 69 67, Kasidit LEPKURTE (THA) 70 67 70, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 67 68 72, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 66 68 73

208 - Erwan VIEILLEDENT (FRA) 66 69 73


About Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.