The talented Thai claimed the last of the 24 spaces available in the final round Super 6 after a play-off on Saturday night saw him return to the 18th tee a staggering four times to qualify for Sunday's finale. Aphibarnrat then went on to defeat Ben Eccles, Japan’s Yusaku Miyazato, American Sean Crocker and Candian Lucas Herbert before beating Australian Nitties in the final. The win gained the 2017 DP World Tour Championship runner-up 218,560 points which takes his season tally to 322,660 and propels him from 30th to 10th place in the Race to Dubai Rankings as he targets a return to the season finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the fifth time.
“Many congratulations to Kiradech on another European Tour victory,” said Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International, Dubai Office. “After coming agonisingly close to victory in the DP World Tour Championship in 2017 I’m sure he will be eager to finish in the top 60 so he can have another shot at glory in Dubai this year.”
Aphibarnrat now has four titles on the European Tour to his name including a previous match play win at the 2015 Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play.
He made that experience count when he bounced back from going one down after the first hole to halve the second and win the third to bring it back to all square. An eagle on the fourth hole put him in prime position for the win and when Nitties missed his putt on the fifth it opened the door for Aphibarnrat to seal victory with a 10-foot putt.
"It's just been an awesome week, I don't know how to explain but I'm so happy,” said Aphibarnrat who becomes the third Asian player to win on the European Tour in three weeks after victories for Haotong Li and Shubhankar Sharma in Dubai and Malaysia respectively.
"I'm working so hard. The last few months I've been getting really close and finally, I've done it. It means a lot. When you focus on something, you try this hard, then I kept finishing second and then I'm not giving up. I'm trying so hard until I get it.”
Meanwhile, Lucas Herbert took third place after winning the third/fourth play-off against Englishman Sam Horsfield 3 and 1. The fourth-place finish for Horsfield sees him win 65,569 points to make a significant move up the Race to Dubai Rankings from 164th to 42nd with 77,907 points for the season.
Thorbjørn Olesen also broke into the Race to Dubai’s top 60 after a 10th place finish saw him climb from 92nd to 46th. The Dane now has 72,335 points for the season.
Prom Meesawat of Thailand leapfrogged from 142nd to 52nd after his ninth-place finish gained him 32,784 points, leaving him a season tally of 69,189 points.
The top three in the Race to Dubai Rankings remain the same despite all three players missing the event. Shubhankar Sharma remains top on 748,0730 with last year’s Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood on 628,753 points and China’s Haotong Li making up the top three with 523,650 points.
The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, open to the top 60 players on the Race to Dubai Rankings, takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 15-18.