For Kaiapoi Golf Club’s Amelia Garvey and Cambridge Golf Club’s Jordan Woodall it was a case of what might have been after both claimed second place in their respective age grades at the Nick Faldo Asia Series final in Vietnam.
Amelia, who was named in the New Zealand Queen Sirikit Cup team on the morning of the final round in Vietnam, was proud to be in serious contention of claiming both the U16 Girls and the Overall Girls titles with just a few holes to go. A series of uncharacteristic mistakes, coupled with a lost ball penalty (from which she made birdie with her second ball) , meant she came to the last hole needing a par or better to secure the U16 title, and with it a trip to the Faldo Series Asia European Finals later in 2017. Her second shot found a ridiculous lie resulting in a pulled approach to the par 5 which had the assembled Vietnamese caddies scrambling for cover. Her chip onto the green was one of her best of the tournament but she wasn’t able to make the return putt, leaving her tied with Japan’s rising star Minori Nagano, and regretfully missing out for the title on countback.
For Amelia the tournament is one of many international events she is now participating in and she was philosophical on the result. “I came here wanting to win the overall girl’s title and was really annoyed with my finishing holes but that is part of my learning”, Amelia said. Amelia also commented that the tournament was a highlight for the way the players were treated, from the 5 star hotel accommodation to the daily food offerings, and also the unique experience of being allocated local caddies to work with throughout the event. Amelia was quick to introduce her caddy to Snapchat. A practice day video of her ball flick to knock out fellow Kiwi Hiroki Miya’s birdie putt on the 5th hole went viral.
For Cambridge’s Jordan Woodall the whole tournament was a first. Having won his age grade at the New Zealand Faldo qualifying event at Clearwater Golf Club. Jordan surprised his parents by telling them he was travelling to Vietnam for the Asia final in what became a family trip to see him compete on the international stage for the first time.
Jordan played strongly throughout the event but a few missed opportunities in the early rounds left him two back from U18 Boys grade winner, Indonesia’s Almay Rayhan. In a tightly contested age grade he was able to claim second place on a countback following an excellent final round of two under 69.
Jordan was quick to credit the experience as ‘unreal’. “The vibe and energy you got every time you turned up on the course was amazing” he enthused.
The two other Kiwi’s in the final Hiroki Miya (Russley, U16 Boys) and Oscar Cadenhead (Clearwater, U21 Boys) were not able to master the course, or the trying green conditions (which were difficult after torrential rain over previous months) but were grateful for the opportunity and experience.
The New Zealand players were all extremely grateful for the support of The Canterbury Golf Development Trust through whom the funding was made available for the trip to the finals. Whilst the trust itself is now being wound up, their decision to support the event over the past two years following the initial support of three Clearwater members, has helped 13 young Kiwi golfers enjoy the opportunity of a lifetime to play against many nations in a professional format.
All players at the tournament were hosted at clinics by Sir Nick Faldo where the six time major champion shared his ideas on shot making, practice drills and how best to manage your nerves on the big stage.
The 59 year old who will return to competitive golf later this year, revealed he had ‘got the bug again’ and is working on how to maximize his own game again in the future. He was also extremely enthusiastic about golf’s return to the Olympics and expected leading players to be far more involved at the Japan 2020 games.
Sir Nick said, “Over the course of the past 11 years, many of the players who have participated in the Faldo Series have gone on to enjoy successful professional careers.”
“This week we brought together more than 80 talented young golfers from around the world. The standard of play is improving every year and I’m excited about the future as we continue our effort to grow the game of golf globally through the Faldo Series.”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign has stretched over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships were staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winners include Yani Tseng and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.
Faldo Series Asia Grand Final (Leading Final Round Scores)
Overall:205 – Napat Paramacharoenroj (Thailand) 70-67-68. 206 – Jonathan Wijono (Indonesia) 70-67-69. 207 – Daniel Gale (Australia) 70-68-69.
Boys’ Under-21: 207 – Daniel Gale (Australia) 70-68-69. 208 – Mohammad Rasel (Bangladesh) 66-72-70. 209 – Liu Yung-hua (Chinese Taipei) 69-68-72.
Boys’ Under-18: 211 – Almay Rayhan (Indonesia) 71-71-69. 213 – Jordan Woodall (New Zealand) 74-70-69; Yusuke Sakamoto (Japan) 70-70-73.
Boys’ Under-16: 205 – Napat Paramacharoenroj (Thailand) 70-67-68. 206 – Jonathan Wijono (Indonesia) 70-67-69. 212 – Kartik Sharma (India) 71-67-74.
Girls’ Under-21: 213 – Hung Jo-hua (Chinese Taipei) 73-68-72. 218 – Michela Tjan (Indonesia) 76-71-71. 220 – Chen Hsuan (Chinese Taipei) 77-71-72.
Girls’ Under-16: 216 – Minori Nagano (Japan) 72-71-73; Amelia Garvey (New Zealand) 74-68-74. 219 – Geraldine Wong (Malaysia) 70-73-76.