England and America head global Faldo field in China
11 March 2014, Shenzhen, China: Paul Kinnear fired a stunning 66 to take a first-round lead in the eighth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills Golf Club in China. The 20-year-old from England is three ahead of American Zachary Bauchou who went round in three-under par despite missing the practice day and never having stepped on the course prior to the competition.
Kinnear carded four birdies and two eagles in a superb six-under-par round on the Faldo Course in Shenzhen. The England squad member from Lancashire is bidding to become the first European winner of a Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
Local boy Bai Zheng-Kai from Guangdong is leading the Boys’ Under-16 division and 14 Faldo Series competitors who also qualify to win the Mission Hills Trophy. This special category is awarded to the highest-placed Chinese golfer and was won in its inaugural year by Guangzhou’s Guan Tianlang. Guan, 14 at the time, went on to finish as the low amateur in the 2013 US Masters Tournament after spending time with three-time Masters winner Faldo at Mission Hills last March.
In the Girls’ division Ridhima Dilawari leads a strong chasing pack by one shot after an opening round of 71. The 15-year-old from Delhi is hoping to become the third Indian after two-time winner Rashid Khan (2007 and 2009) and Abhijit Chahda in 2010 to win the Faldo Series Asia title.
With the field at Mission Hills divided into five age-categories, three boys and two girls will each receive a trophy and an exemption into the eighteenth Faldo Series Grand Final later this year. The leading boy and girl will also be invited to play in a professional Tour event and the title of Faldo Series Asia Champion will go to the player with the lowest gross score, regardless of age or gender.
Established in 1996, 40 Faldo Series tournaments now take place in 30 countries worldwide with more than 7,000 golfers participating each year. Past winners include Major Champions Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng.
In September 2014, Faldo will begin taking students at a full-time residential academy for education and golf development in America. The first ever Faldo Series Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona is also home to the Faldo Series USA and marks the next significant step in the programme’s history.
The 2013/2014 Faldo Series Asia schedule featured a record 19 tournaments in 15 countries, including four in mainland China, two in India and others in The Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand.
The eighth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final is supported by ISPS Handa, Mission Hills, The R&A, Audemars Pigue, CBS, Golf Channel, MasterCard, Tricor, PGA Tour and PGA of America. It is endorsed by the Asian Tour, the Asia Pacific Golf Federation and the Guangdong Golf Association.
Leading final scores:
66 – Paul Kinnear (ENG)
70 – Mikumu Horikawa (JPN)
75 – Syed Saqib Ahmed (IND)
69 – Zachary Bauchou (USA)
70 – Marc Ong (SIN)
71 – Simon Zach (CZE)
73 – Bai Zheng-Kai (CHN)
74 – Shota Seki (JPN), Jakub Hrinda (SVK)
75 – Wang Mei-Xing (CHN)
76 – Zhu Kai-Lin (CHN), Shina Kanazawa (JPN)
71 – Ridhima Dilawari (IND)
72 – Minami Hiruta (JPN), Pauline Del Rosario (PHI), Princess Mary Superal
Click here for live scores and results during the eighth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final on March 11-13. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.