Sentosa, Singapore, January 7: If his form guide over the last six seasons is somewhat of a trend, then watch out for big-hitting Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat in 2017.
The 27-year-old Thai has made it a habit of winning titles in alternate years, his first on the Asian Tour in 2011, followed by a second triumph in 2013, and three more victories around the world in 2015.
While 2016 would prove disappointing in many ways for the burly Thai, much is expected of him when he returns to action on the Asian Tour and also European Tour this season where he holds a playing card.
Kiradech was probably a victim of playing in too many tournaments in 2016, amassing 30 events throughout the year which yielded five top-10s. And from a high of 38th place on the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of the 2015 season, he has now slipped down to 80th place.
His main highlight last season, apart from getting married, was a tied fifth place finish at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He was also top-five at the BMW International Open in Germany and equal sixth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bayhill, a venue which he suits his big-hitting game.
His performance stats on the European Tour last year showed Kiradech struggling with his driving accuracy, hitting only 58% of fairways while his iron play yielded a 66.56% strike rate for Greens in Regulation. Both these figures are good barometers of his overall form last year.
Once he fixes his driving, Kiradech will start firing low rounds again to contend in tournaments in 2017. Watch out for him as we expect him to win a couple of times in Asia and Europe.