Girl from Taiwan leads Faldo Series Final after day one
13 March 2013, Shenzhen, China: Cheng Ssu-Chia fired a stunning 65 to take a first-round lead in the seventh Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills Golf Club in China. The 15-year-old girl from Chinese Taipei is one ahead of a record field who ended the day with a short-game clinic from Sir Nick Faldo.
Cheng carded seven birdies in a faultless seven-under-par round on the Faldo Course in Shenzhen. The teenager from Taoyuan County is bidding to go one better than her compatriot and current ladies world number one Tseng Yani by not only claiming the girls’ title but by becoming the first female winner of a Faldo Series Grand Final.
The largest-ever field for an Asia Grand Final is competing at Mission Hills for the 2013 title. 83 players from 17 countries are playing over three rounds in the World Amateur Golf Ranking event that concludes on March 15. Off the course they are spending time with Faldo, his personal coach Keith Wood and experts from TrackMan.
The youngest player in the field, 12-year-old Ye Wo-Cheng is leading 16 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 last year by Guangzhou’s Guan Tianlang. 14-year-old Guan was at Mission Hills this week to receive a Faldo Series Special Achievement Award and spend time with the three-time Masters winner ahead of his departure for the US this week and his debut at Augusta National next month.
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 seventeenth Europe 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.
Local school children are also attending during the week to enjoy clinics with Faldo and watch the competitors in action, part of a joint drive with Mission Hills to help grow golf at the grass-roots level.
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 current world number ones Rory McIlroy and Tseng.
In September 2013, 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 2012/2013 Faldo Series Asia schedule featured a record 18 tournaments in 15 countries, including four in mainland China and others in The Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand.
The seventh Faldo Series Asia Grand Final is supported by major partners ISPS, Mission Hills and The R&A. It is endorsed by the Asian Tour, the Asia Pacific Golf Federation and the Guangdong Golf Association.
Leading round one scores:
66 – Shohei Hasegawa (JPN)
72 – Fahmi Reza (INA)
66 – Marc Ong (SIN)
67 – Joshua Gibbons (ENG)
68 – Jordan Irawan (INA)
69 – Wo-Cheng Ye (CHN)
70 – Jack Singh-Brar (ENG)
71 – Guo-Zhen Xu (CHN), Sen Cao (CHN)
71 – Mei-Xing Wang (CHN)
72 – Chi Wang (TPE)
74 – Zi-Yi Wang (CHN)
65 – Ssu-Chia Cheng (TPE)
72 – Yu-Hsin Chang (TPE), Clare Legaspi (PHI), Mimi Ho (HKG)
Click here for live scores and results during the seventh Faldo Series Asia Grand Final on March 13-15. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.