Kiradech Aphibarnrat made an eagle on the final hole at last week’s Indonesian Masters to punch a possible ticket to the 2018 Masters. The Thai tour pro didn’t need to do anything this week, however, to ensure he keeps his Augusta travel plans. And that’s exactly what he wound up doing. Nothing.
Aphibarnrat had accepted a spot to play in the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship in his home country. But the AP’s Doug Ferguson confirmed on Thursday that Aphibarnrat was a late WD (“bad back”) from the Asian Development Tour event, which is the final tournament offering Official World Golf Ranking points in 2017.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat has pulled out of the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship with a (very timely) back injury. Will finish year No. 49 and get into Masters.
— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) December 21, 2017
Aphibarnrat, 28, climbed back into the Top 50 of the OWGR thanks to an eagle on the 72nd hole this past Sunday that vaulted him to solo fifth place in Indonesia, where Justin Rose was a runaway winner. But according to OWGR guru Nosferatu, Aphibarnrat not finishing T-12 or better this week would have dropped him outside of the important year-end top-50 list.
Here is what @kiradech is facing if he is playing this week:
– will finish 2017 ranked between #49 & #43 if he finishes #BRChamps T12 or better
— Nosferatu (@VC606) December 20, 2017
Although Aphibarnrat’s decision doesn’t exactly recall Ted Williams not sitting out the final two games of the 1941 season when he could have guaranteed himself a .400 batting average (He went 6 for 8 and finished with a .406 average instead), it’s an understandable choice. Why risk losing the most coveted invite in golf? By playing in an Asian Development Tour event, no less?
Augusta National also happens to be the site of Aphibarnrat’s best career performance at a Major. He finished T-15 in his only appearance in 2016.
And now Aphibarnrat will have a chance to improve on that debut in April. We’re guessing his back will feel better by then.