Thai star golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat to compete at Hero Indian Open

Kiradech Aphibarnrat 520New Delhi: Thai star golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat has confirmed his participation for the upcoming Hero Indian Open, to be held in Gurugram from March 9 to 12, it was announced on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old big-built Thai has six professional titles, three of which came in 2013, when he was crowned Asia No.1.

Former Asia No.1 Kiradech, who is now ranked 76th in the world -- his best was 37th in December 2015, is no stranger to India, having played a few times till 2013. In 2011, he won his first Asian Tour title at the SAIL Open in India.

Kiradech, who spent 2016 playing three Tours -- Asian, European and US Tours, has had a great start to the season with two Top-10 finishes in the Middle-East, where he was tied fourth in Abu Dhabi and T-9 in Qatar.

Former World Junior champion Kiradech, ended the 2013 season as the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, on the strength of one victory and five other top-five finishes.

Another rising Thai to be seen in Hero Indian Open 2017 will be the 17-year-old prodigy Phachara Khongwatmai, who was runner-up to Brett Rumford at the ISPS Handa World Super Six in Perth last week. Phachara, who has twice finished runner-up -- at Singapore and Perth -- is now world ranked 149.

The Indian Open will be held at the Gary Player course at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

The prize purse has been enhanced to $1.75 million, which is almost six times more than $300,000, which it was when Hero took on the title sponsorship of the Indian Open in 2005.