Jiri Zuska claims victory at Grand Final
14 October 2016: Jiri Zuska closed out a well-deserved victory at Stoke-by-Nayland with a final round 70. The 18-year-old looked composed and in control as he claimed his place as Grand Final Champion by a four shot margin.
Zuska had picked up a few shots on day one and he refused to relinquish his grip thereafter. His final round featured an eagle on the 14th as he built a substantial lead over the field, at one point he was nine under par, a remarkable effort on the Gainsborough course.
‘I feel so proud to have won here and become the first ever Czech champion’. Commented Overall Champion Jiri Zuska. ‘I have played in the Faldo Series for three years now and it is an incredible feeling to win this title. I have to thank my family and those around me who have provided so much support to me. The Faldo Series team and Sir Nick himself have been brilliant and I’m very grateful for their hard work. It’s been a great week!’
‘Firstly I want to extend our thanks to all our supporters who make this possible for these young golfers.’ Six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo commented. ‘It was great for the players to have the PGA on board this week. The standard of play has been as good as I’ve seen in the many years I’ve been involved with youth golf. Tamara Unwin and Susanna Rendall were very welcoming and the venue has delivered brilliantly.’
Zuska was grateful of the lead he had developed as American Frankie Capan posted a new course record. The 17-year-old fired a scarcely believable 64 featuring nine birdies. The spectacular run included four birdies in a row and was a full three shots better than any player this week. Capan’s heroics took him from joint 18th before the final days’ play to finish joint second overall.
In the Under-21 category Henrik Machado of Brazil was locked in a battle with Adam Chapman of England. Machado volunteered at the golf event at his home Olympics this summer and he certainly looked inspired here as he posted 69, 70 and 71 to squeeze ahead of Chapman by a single shot. Chapman went out in 32 but wasn’t quite able to match Machado on the closing straight.
Frankie Capan and Nathan Longley played some terrific golf throughout the week but were unfortunate to run in to the red hot Jiri Zuska in the Under-18 category. The Under-16 division was won by Englishman Harry Goddard. His rounds of 69-70-71 were sufficient to defeat Kiet Van Der Weele by two shots. The win here continues a fine run for Goddard in the Faldo Series and at just 16 his future looks very bright.
In the Girls’ competition Sara Zrnikova emerged triumphant. She drew swathes of compliments regarding her consistent excellence in the process. Slovakian Zrnikova was able to evade the courses many traps with aplomb. The 18-year-old shot 71, 71 and 73 to fend off Nicola Slater by a single shot for overall victory. Zrnikova enjoyed a four shot victory margin in her Under-21 category over Mary Doyle of Ireland.
Nicola Slater may have been pipped by Zrnikova in the leading girls’ race but she was able to claim the considerable consolation of victory in the Under-16s. Her rounds of 69, 70 and 77 defeated closest competitor Amy Taylor by three shots. Mary Doyle and Nicola Slater were able to post the best rounds of the week in their respective rounds of 69 but more was needed to overhaul the superb Zrnikova.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year. Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.
Leading final scores:
Boys’ Under-21: 210 – Henrik Machado (BRA) (69-70-71)
211 – Adam Chapman (ENG) (67-72-72)
215 – Adam Puchmelter (SK) (70-71-74)
Boys’ Under 18:
206 – Jiri Zuska (CZE) (67-69-70)
210 – Frankie Capan (USA) (72-74-64)
211 – Nathan Longley (ENG) (71-67-73)
Boys’ Under 16:
210 – Harry Goddard (ENG) (69-70-71)
212 – (Kiet van der Weele (NED) (74-67-71)
216 – Esteban Jaramillo (COL) (69-74-73)
215 – Sara Zrnikova (SK) (71-71-73)
219 – Mary Doyle (IRE) (75-69-75)
220 – Jana Melichova (CZE) (77-70-73), Emily Brennan (ENG) (74-70-76)
216 – Nicola Slater (ENG) (69-70-77)
219 – Amy Taylor (ENG) (74-71-74)
221 – Benedetta Moresco (ITA) (77-71-73)
For full scores and results from the 20th Faldo Series Grand Final please visit http://www.faldoseries.info/tic/tmtic.cgi. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.