Kamasu edges ahead at 9th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final
Shenzhen, China [March 19]: Japan’s Yuki Kamasu snared a final-hole birdie to soar to the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
At 21 the eldest competitor in the elite 82-player field, Kamasu signed for a five-under-par 67 over the acclaimed Nick Faldo-designed Faldo Course at Mission Hills Shenzhen.
That gave him a 36-hole total of six-under 138 – and a one-stroke lead from Czech Republic’s Simon Zach and American Zachary Bauchou heading into Friday’s final round in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
Also in contention in what promises to be a thrilling finale are Hong Kong’s Leon Philip D'Souza , Indonesian Fadhli Rahman Soetarso  and Princess Mary Superal of the Philippines , the leading female.
Among a group of six players within striking distance on 143 are Minami Hiruta, the reigning Japan Women’s Amateur champion, and first-round leader Yuki Shino, who was left to rue a triple-bogey eight at the fourth where he took three off the tee and also found water.
“It’s poised for a memorable final-round shootout,” said tournament host Sir Nick Faldo, who beguiled competitors at a short-game clinic following the second round.
The six-time Major champion, Britain’s most successful golfer, added: “We’ve had several dramatic finishes here before and it looks like it’s going to go all the way to wire tomorrow.”
Kamasu trailed playing partner Bauchou by one shot going to the 516-yard 18th. But while the Japanese secured a closing four, his American rival could manage only a bogey-six as the lead exchanged hands.
Bidding to follow in the footsteps of Masamichi Ito and Mikumu Horikawa and become the third Japanese winner of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in the past four years, Kamasu dropped his only shot of the round at the ninth to turn in two-under 34.
Further birdies at 12, 15 and 18 enabled him to return the joint lowest round of the week.
But he knows he’ll have to be at his best to hold off the threat of Bauchou and Zach, who qualified via the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, USA.
As well as attempting to earn the distinction of becoming the first non-Asian winner at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, Bauchou and Zach will resume their own personal battle.
Five months ago, Bauchou, from Forest, Virginia, edged out Zach in a sudden-death play-off to win the 18th Faldo Series Grand Final at The Greenbrier. There, Bauchou birdied the 18th to force a play-off with Zach and then clinched the title with a tap-in par putt on the first extra hole.
Meanwhile, Sen Cao leads the way in the race to win the Mission Hills Trophy, awarded to the leading golfer from the People’s Republic. With a two-day total of 145, Sen is one shot ahead of Yan Liu and two in front of Jie Hong.
As well as receiving the Faldo Series Asia trophy, the overall winner will be granted an exemption into an Asian Tour event. The Girls’ winner will be given a start in a Ladies European Tour event.
Both will also earn themselves an overseas trip to compete in the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final.
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2014-15 Faldo Series Asia campaign has stretched over 11 months and has been made up of 18 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 last year’s Open Championship and US PGA Championship.
Full scores can be found here.