Aphibarnat entered the week tied for 72nd on the Finals eligibility points list, with a T56 at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron followed by a missed cut at the Children’s Hospital National Championship.
He needed a big week in Southern Indiana to regain TOUR status through The Finals 25 — probably a top 10 at the very least — and he knew it.
The four-time DP World Tour winner was undeterred, racking up 16 birdies in two rounds at the Victoria National against four bogeys. He is now able to deliver this big week when he needs it most.
“I needed a Thai caddy on the bag…I needed to speak some Thai,” Aphibarnrat said after his second run at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. “I didn’t like my job at all over the last year… when you play well, you don’t party with anyone. When you play badly, you can’t explain anything to anyone. It was not a good time for me, all year.
“But after getting (my new caddy) at Rocket Mortgage, I feel like I’m enjoying golf more. Playing well at Wyndham, and I can still say I’ve been playing well for the past two weeks; I was hitting the ball really solid.
Aphibarnrat has made 104 career PGA TOUR starts, highlighted by two third-place finishes, and he said a season on the Korn Ferry Tour could perhaps prove beneficial in revamping his game at the highest level. He has a high regard for the level of competition on the TOUR, and he doesn’t see that element going back anytime soon.
A strong weekend at the Victoria National GC, however, would hasten the timeline for a comeback.
“I struggled for quite a while,” admitted Aphibarnrat, who made 104 career TOUR starts, picking up two third-place finishes. “For me, my back is against the wall and I have nothing more to lose.
“I saw Tiger play in 1999, and see him dominate every event… I dreamed that one day I would be on the PGA TOUR. And then 12, 13 years later, I realized my dream.
“There’s a lot of competition, so you can’t just stand still. You have to keep working and improving every day.