SHANGHAIThailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat is fired up to repeat his heroics again when he faces off the world's best players at the WGC-HSBC Champions which will tee off at the Sheshan International Golf Club today.
The 24-year-old captured the imagination of golf fans worldwide after a battling performance where a mere shot would have seen him enter the play-off for a chance to win the biggest title of his career in Malaysia last weekend.
With more than 40 of the world's top 50 players lining up for the US$8.5 million showpiece in Shanghai, Kiradech, who virtually has one hand on the Asian Tour Order of Merit title, is excited with the prospect of showcasing the best of Asian golf to the world again.
''I'm playing my best golf at the moment and hopefully I can carry my form over from last week,'' said Kiradech.
''My game has improved tremendously because of the opportunities given by the Asian Tour to compete on the world stage. I've learnt a lot from all these world class players and gained lots of experience,'' he added.
Kiradech will play his opening two rounds alongside England's Paul Casey and Peter Ulhlein of the United States and hopes to stay calm under pressure this week.
''The key difference between Asian players and the other world-class players lies in our mental ability,'' said Kiradech.
''When they need to make that decisive shot, they can make it almost 90 percent of the time. But for us, we lack the confidence. They know how to handle the pressure but if we can do that as well as them, the gap between us will be closed,'' added Kiradech.
Kiradech will lead the Asian challenge alongside five of the region's finest players who include India's Gaganjeet Bhullar, Australia's Scott Hend, China's Liang Wen-chong, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Korea's Baek Seuk-Hyun.
For the first time, the HSBC Champions will become part of the PGA Tour's FedExCup schedule, with money earned counting as official money on the PGA Tour, and the winner earning a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour.
The HSBC Champions will also award full FedExCup points, plus the 10 percent premium awarded by all World Golf Championships compared to a regular PGA Tour event.
With these changes the HSBC Champions is now in line with the other three World Golf Championships played in the United States and is also a key part of the 2013 European Tour's Final Series.
The WGC-HSBC Champions prize fund has increased to $8.5 million from $7 million and is one of four World Golf Championships sanctioned and organised by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour.
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