Kiradech Aphibarnrat headed to Texas after T-6 at Bay Hill

ORLANDO, Fla. – Kiradech Aphibarnrat has never been to Texas before. That will change next week.

Thanks to a T-6 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Aphibarnrat earned an exemption into next week’s Valero Texas Open. The 26-year-old from Thailand will gladly accept the invitation.

“Rich Beem came and talked to me before I teed off on Saturday, and he said that if I finish top 10 this week then I will love the golf course next week and the city was real nice, that I would enjoy it,” Aphibarnrat said. “I look forward to seeing Rich Beem next week and saying, ‘I did it.’ “

Aphibarnrat closed with a 3-under 69 Sunday at Bay Hill to finish at 13-under 275. He eagled twice on Sunday and made two birdies to run his tournament total to 21.

Before Thursday, not many people knew the name Aphibarnrat. By Sunday, the U.S. television audience had been introduced to the promising talent from Thailand and learned about his several nicknames – “Arm,” “The Big Unit” and the “Asian John Daly” – and his big golf game.

With luck and love at his side, Aphibarnrat returns to form at Bay Hill.

“I always say, I’m just a little player from a little country in Asia, and I’m just a small player in this field compared to the PGA Tour players,” Aphibarnrat said. “What I did this week, I’m really proud of myself.”

Aphibarnrat, who will make his 14th PGA Tour start next week at TPC San Antonio, said he wants to play more on the PGA Tour. Right now, he’s making the most of his opportunities.

“I’m going to try to make top 10 again (next week),” Aphibarnrat said. “I’ll stay out here (on Tour) as long as I can.”

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