Kiradech Aphibarnrat seemed to secure his 2018 Masters ticket last week with a solo fifth place finish at the Indonesian Masters. But apparently he needed to do one more thing, and it involved not hitting a golf shot at all.
The Thai player has withdrawn from the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship, an Asian Development Tour event, with a back injury, but there’s likely a tactical reason to this as well.
The fact that Aphibarnrat accepted a spot in the event (played in his home country) in the first place was curious because all he needed to do this week was not play to get what he wanted.
Aphibarnrat is currently No. 51 in the Official World Golf Ranking and would finish No. 49 by year’s end by not playing in any more 2017 events – with the top 50 in the world at the end of 2017 earning Masters invites for the following April.
What would happen, though, if Aphibarnrat did play this week, in the final tournament offering OWGR points in 2017?
Well, he would need a top-12 finish … or else he would fall out of the top 50 and lose his guaranteed Masters spot!
Wow. Imagine how agonising that might’ve been, especially if Aphibarnrat fell out of the top 50 and never got back in, failing to gain Masters entry.
Thankfully, his withdrawal ensures he’ll finish 2017 ranked 49th and be in the 2018 Masters.
So breath a sigh of relief, Barnrat fans. Your man is getting his Masters invite soon. We’re sure this time