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Marathon Effort From Aphibarnrat Claims Perth Super 6

Kiradech Aphibarnrat survived a marathon weekend to win the World Super 6 Perth (Photo: Getty Images)
Don’t try telling Kiradech Aphibarnrat Super 6 is a short form of the game. The Thai super star claimed his fourth European Tour title in Perth but it took 34 holes to achieve the feat Sunday.

That came on the heels of a 22-hole Saturday where he was locked in a four-hole play-off for the final spot in the 24-man matchplay field, a position he somehow parlayed into victory over James Nitties on a miraculous Sunday at Lake Karrinyup.

Aphibarnrat only committed to play the tournament seven days ago and arrived in Perth Wednesday, teeing up in competition Thursday having never seen the course before.

Four straight birdies to begin his week were an indication of what was to come but the magnitude of his achievement is still breathtaking.

Aphibarnrat easily survived the 36-hole cut to the low 65 and ties but was one of nine players vying for eight places in the final 24 on Saturday afternoon.

He and Anthony Quayle both made bogey at the first extra hole then made another three trips down the 18th before Aphibarnrat finally claimed the last spot.

A 1UP victory over Ben Eccles in the opening round of six-hole matches was followed by an epic 10 hole battle against Japan’s Yusaku Miyazato.

Sean Crocker was his next victim, another 1UP result after the American made bogey at the 18th to Aphibarnrat’s par.

With the business end of the tournament fast approaching Aphibarnrat found his rhythm and despite the extraordinary amount of golf he had already played somehow managed to focus in an enthralling encounter with Australia’s Lucas Herbert.

Taking the lead at the first he survived a late onslaught from the 22-year-old Victorian who squared the match with a stunning three wood to just feet for eagle at the short par-4 fourth hole.

Herbert took the lead at the next with an exquisite iron to tap in range but a bogey at the last let Aphibarnrat back in and he grabbed his opportunity with a near ace at the 89-metre shootout hole.

Despite going one down at the first hole of the final against James Nitties the result soon looked all but assured as the Australian self-destructed with the driver over the next three holes.

A miraculous half from the trees at the par-5 second couldn’t be replicated at the third and Aphibarnrat put the result beyond doubt with an eagle-birdie run of his own to close out the match in five holes.

After playing the 18th a total of 15 times over the course of the week Aphibarnrat was relieved to have finally ended a match before reaching Lake Karrinyup’s 18th hole.

“It’s the most 18th hole that I’ve ever played,” he said with a laugh when asked about it at the presentation.

“15 times in a week! I’m saying before (the final) I’m trying to finish at 17 which I did with a nice birdie putt.

“I’ve been playing solid golf the last two months and this is a present for me.”

Aphibarnrat impressed not only on the course but off it, his comments after his semi-final victory over Lucas Herbert showing a touch of class.

“I’m very happy with the result,” he said, “but I have to say it was really unlucky for Lucas.

“I played with him the first two rounds, he’s such a great player and has a bright future.”

The result will be bittersweet for losing finalist Nitties who will be pleased to have made it so far in the tournament though devastated to come up shy.

With no international Tour to play on, a ticket to Europe would have been just the tonic to regenerate a career which showed so much promise in his early years.

Also leaving Perth with mixed feelings will be Herbert whose recent form has seen him secure both a berth in this year’s Open courtesy of a T8 finish in Singapore as well as a card on the PGA Tour China through the qualifying school last week.

The long hitting Bendigo native looked among the likely contenders from early in the week and while making the semi-finals is a positive result he will feel the win, and the associated playing rights in both Europe and Asia that would have come with it, got away from him.

Also disappointed will be local amateur Min Woo Lee who crashed out in the quarter finals after a blistering start.

The 19-year-old cruised through the opening two rounds with an incredible 10 birdies in the 11 holes he played but never found any momentum in round three against England’s Sam Horsfield.

He went down 3&2 in that encounter which will have been hard to take after the form he showed early in the day.

The second staging of the World Super 6 Perth again proved a hit and with two worthy winners in its first two years its immediate future looks secure.


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