Sentosa: Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri of India, Korea’s K.T. Kim and Thai duo Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee have earned their places in next month’s U.S. Open, the year’s second Major.
The talented quartet, who represented Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia earlier this season, qualified by being in the top-60 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of Monday.
Three other Asian Tour stars, current Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser of Australia and Korean duo Soomin Lee and Jeunghun Wang, are currently 68th, 69th and 71st respectively and can tee up at Oakmont Country Club from June 16 to 19 if they break into the top-60 by June 13.
The 26-year-old Kiradech will make his first appearance at the U.S. Open which comes on the heel of an impressive tied 15th finish in his Masters Tournament debut in April.
The 2013 Asian Tour number one is currently 45th in the world and also registered an eye-catching tied sixth finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour earlier in March.
Lahiri, 28, will make his second appearance at the U.S. Open and he will be eager to atone for last year’s disappointment when he missed the halfway cut. Like Kiradech, the tenacious Indian also featured in the Masters Tournament in April where he finished tied 42nd.
Lahiri, who is playing on the PGA Tour this year, has missed only two cuts all season and was joint runner-up in his defence of the Hero Indian Open in March. He will also be eager to repeat an impressive tied fifth result at last year’s PGA Championship, which was the best performance by an Indian golfer at a Major.
The evergreen Thongchai, ranked 48th in the world, will be making his sixth appearance in the U.S. Open and his fourth in succession. The 46-Year-old Thai, the only man in Asian golf history to win three Order of Merit crowns, will be fired up to improve on his best finish of equal 47th place in the U.S. Open when he heads to Oakmont next month.
After winning his third title on European soil last season which helped him finish a career high of 28th place in the world, Thongchai has yet to light up his game this season where a tied 14th finish at the True Thailand Classic remains as his best outing so far.
Kim, 29, is one of the in-form players this season from Asia where he has won twice in Japan to maintain his imperious form in which he also won five times last year. The world number 42 will make his third appearance at the U.S. Open where his best outing was tied 30th in 2011.
Another Thai, Thitiphun Chuayprakong earned first alternate status for the U.S. Open after he finished fifth in the sectional qualifying in Japan on Monday. He carded rounds of 66 and 72 to miss out by two shots.
Japanese quartet Yuta Ikeda, Toru Taniguchi, Yusaku Miyazato and Hideto Tanihara were the top-four qualifiers.