Faldo Series India Champion Madappa sets Mission Hills target
Bombay, India (November 11): Viraj Madappa is hoping it’s a case of third time lucky after racing to a runaway victory in the Faldo Series India Championship for Boys.
Underlining his outstanding potential, the 16-year-old compiled a four-round aggregate of 15-under-par 265 at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club, the 11th leg of the 2014-15 Faldo Series Asia.
That meant he finished no fewer than 13 strokes ahead of his closest challenger, Shubham Narain, winner of the Under-16 category. Remarkably, the winning margin was the same as Madappa enjoyed last year.
This time, Madappa is keeping his fingers crossed that he’ll be able to claim his spot in the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, an R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Mission Hills Shenzhen next March.
Twice previously, Madappa has qualified for the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final. However, on both occasions he has reluctantly been forced to withdraw due to school exams.
He said: “It’s a shame I haven’t been able to make the trip to Mission Hills in China for the final. This time I hope I’ll be able to participate.”
Winner of the West Bengal Junior championship at the start of October, Madappa continued his good run of form by making the cut in the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia a fortnight ago.
Over the 6.121-yard, par-70 Bombay Presidency layout he took control from the outset, an opening five-under-par 65 giving him a two-shot cushion. Karandeep Kochar halved the deficit after 36 holes but a sparkling third-round 64 gave Madappa a six-stroke buffer to take into the final round.
Any faint hopes his rivals may have had of catching him evaporated during a remarkable eight-hole mid-round stretch which Madappa negotiated in six-under thanks to birdies at the fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th.
Six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Congratulations to Viraj on a spectacular performance. To win by 13 shots at any level is a tremendous achievement. To have now done it twice in succession is remarkable.
“We look forward to welcoming Viraj to next year’s Faldo Series Asia Grand Final and to watching him showcase his talent at Mission Hills.”
The Faldo Series India Championship for Girls is scheduled to take place at Bombay Presidency from December 9-11.
Supported by The R&A, ISPS and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2014-15 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and is made up of a minimum of 20 championships.
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 Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at July’s Open Championship and August’s US PGA Championship.
Faldo Series India Boys Championship, leading final scores:
265 – Viraj Madappa (65-70-64-66)
285 – Yuvraj Sandhu (71-72-66-76)
286 – Jairaj Singh Sandhu (73-71-72-70)
293 – Mohan Sardar (72-74-74-73)
300 – Alammgir Grewal (75-74-73-78)
278 – Shubham Narain (68-73-64-73)
279 – Karandeep Kochar (67-69-69-74)
284 – Jaiveer Singh (73-69-69-73)
287 – Aadil Bedi (69-73-72-73)
290 – Daksh Shokeen (74-72-72-72); Saarthak Chhibber (72-74-71-73)