Gale storms to victory in Faldo Series Australia Championship
Sydney, Australia (December 22): Daniel Gale produced one of the finest rounds in Faldo Series Asia history to blow away his rivals in the second Faldo Series Australia Championship.
Capitalising on his intimate knowledge of the Castle Hill Country Club course at which he is a member, the 20-year-old blazed his way to a stunning, bogey-free opening round of nine-under-par 63 – and an eight-stroke lead.
Despite windy afternoon conditions, Gale’s advantage proved unassailable in what was the 19th leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
Thanks to a second round of 74 he ended the one-day, 36-hole event with a nine-shot overall winning margin from Bella Kil and will now spearhead the Australian challenge in the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017.
“To play 36 holes in a day was definitely an energy grind,” said Gale, who has a handicap index of +1.4 and recently won the Castle Hill Country Club Colts Championship as well as being a member of the triumphant New South Wales Men’s State Team.
“The wind made it really difficult and the afternoon pin placements were also tougher. But I managed to keep my bad shots to a minimum and overall I’m very happy,” he added.
Kil also had reason to be cheerful after a closing 68 saw her soar to success in the Girls’ Under-16 category, continuing an impressive sequence of results, highlighted by wins in the Castle Hill Country Club Girls’ Junior Championship, the Brett Ogle Junior Masters and the Bonville Champions Trophy at the start of December.
She said: “I came into the tournament without expectations and maintained my own game. I knew I had to play against the winner of the Greg Norman Junior Masters, Grace Kim, and 36 holes in one day is tough. I was nervous regardless … but I didn’t expect anything from myself. I just wanted to have a good day.”
Joining Gale and Kil for the trip to Vietnam will be Harrison Crowe (Boys’ Under-16 champion), Christina Kang (Girls’ Under-21 champion) and Joel Wheatley who edged out James Conran and Jordie Garner in a tense sudden-death play-off to take top honours in the Boys’ Under-18 segment.
Melissa Ellis, General Manager at Castle Hill Country Club, had glowing praise for champion Gale, whose 63 matched his best-ever round and was his lowest score at Castle Hill. She said: “Daniel is a great advocate for golf, a great player who is dedicated to his future career, polite and conscientious … and a young man that gives back to the club at every opportunity. We are lucky to have such a great Junior Development Squad here at Castle Hill.”
Since its inception in 1950, Castle Hill Country Club has been a frequent tournament venue. As well as holding the 2013 New South Wales (NSW) Open, the club has staged two Australian PGA Championships, three NSW PGA Championships, four Canon Challenges and the 2013 Men’s and Women’s NSW Medal.
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “On their first appearance in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final this year, the Australian contingent made quite an impression. Based on some of the low scores at Castle Hill, I’m looking forward to seeing Daniel, Bella and their fellow-Australian qualifiers as they vie for top prize at the Grand Final in Vietnam.”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are being 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 Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.
Faldo Series Australia Championship, leading final scores:
137 – Daniel Gale (63-74)
147 – Joe Kim (73-74)
149 – Joel Wheatley (78-71); James Conran (72-77); Jordie Garner (71-78)
147 – Harrison Crowe (74-73)
149 – Christopher Fan (73-76)
159 – Christina Kang (76-83)
163 – Lucy Harris (85-78).
146 – Bella Kil (78-68)
147 – Stephanie Kyriacou (76-71)
148 – Kirsten Rudgeley (76-72)
149 – Grace Kim (76-73)