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Kiradech keen to prove a point for Asian golf

Wentworth – Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat says he wants to prove that Asian golfers can mix it with their European rivals as he hunts down the frontrunners at the top of the PGA Championship leaderboard.

The well-built 28-year-old shot a fine three-under-par 69 on Friday to add to his first-round 68 and lies five shots off clubhouse leader Rory McIlroy at the midway point.

Despite a fine round he regretted dropping a shot on the par-five 18th after finishing his first round in similarly disappointing fashion.

“Obviously I’m playing so well in the last six to eight months, and looking forward to having a big win,” said Kiradech, who has enjoyed three top-five finishes in recent months.

“This week might be a good week to make the top, with a lot of players coming, great players in the world to support the European Tour.

“But I just want to play my best golf and show them how Asian players are strong enough to play against them.”

Kiradech, who has four wins on the European Tour, said he was especially pleased with his putting, which gives him hope he can deny four-time Major winner McIlroy a second PGA success after his victory in 2014.

“I’ve been putting so good,” said Kiradech. “I hole everything inside 15 feet, which is phenomenal. Just have to keep doing that until the last two rounds to catch Rory.”

Kiradech, who has yet to make an impression at the Majors, with a best result of tied-15th in the 2016 Masters, said he was happy with his performance on such a demanding course.

“Yes, I’ve been really happy with the result of the first two rounds,” he said. “Every time you play under this golf course, they are very tough conditions. You have to be really pleased with it.”

And he said he was optimistic about the weekend.

“I was quite disappointed the way I finished two days in a row just the par 5 (18th) but I’m hitting the middle of the fairways and got an iron in your hand and walk away with bogeys, which is a little bit disappointing,” he said. “But overall, still really good shape.”

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