Gutsy Gale leads Australian challenge at Faldo Series Asia Grand Final
Hue, Vietnam (March 17): Led by Daniel Gale, the five-strong Australian team at the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final acquitted themselves well.
Gale was among only a handful of players who had the distinction of bettering par on all three days at the Faldo Design Laguna Lang Co course.
Thanks to rounds of 70, 68 and a closing 69, Gale topped the standings in the Boys’ Under-21 category and finished third overall, just two strokes behind the champion, Thailand’s Napat Paramacharoenroj.
Displaying a cool head under pressure, Gale was in the thick of the action all the way down to the wire in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event that boasted a strong international field of 85 players from 20 countries.
Playing in the penultimate flight on the final day, Gale knew he needed an eagle-three at the par-five 18th to reach seven-under for the tournament and give himself a chance of entering a play-off.
After splitting the fairway with a pinpoint drive, Gale had only one thought in his mind – hit it close.
He duly launched a brilliant long approach that flew right over the flagstick. Sadly for him it landed one yard too far and rolled off the side of the green and came rest on a bank.
Under the gaze of six-time Major champion and tournament host Sir Nick Faldo, Gale made a typically gutsy up-and-down for a birdie.
Faldo said: “Congratulations to Daniel on an excellent performance. He pushed the leaders all the way and made a great run at the title. On and off the course, Daniel and his fellow-Australians have made an outstanding contribution to the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.”
Of the other Australians in the starting line-up, Harrison Crowe tied for 11th overall on 214, followed by Kieran Vogels and Bella Kil (both 228) and Christina Kang (247).
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 Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.