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Kinoshita captures second Faldo Series title in Japan

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5 January 2012
Kohei Kinoshita

5 January 2012: Defending champion Kohei Kinoshita successfully retained his title at the fourth Faldo Series Japan Championship, coming through a play-off to triumph over the largest ever field for a Faldo Series event.

16-year-old Kinoshita (67-75) beat Tokyo’s Ryotaro Ogawa (72-70) on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off after the pair had finished tied on two under par after 36 holes at Shizu Hills Country Club in Ibaraki.

With the tournament played over two venues to accommodate the record field, Mai Arai (76-75) from Fukuoka and Ibaraki’s Yu Okamura (78-73) shared the girls’ championship on seven over par at nearby Shishido Hills Country Club.  All 148 participants came together for the prize presentation and a talk from Japanese golfing legend Tommy Nakajima.

Kinoshita from Kumamoto will now return to Mission Hills Golf Club in China for the sixth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final on March 14-16.  He will be joined by boys’ age-group winners, 19-year-old Mikumu Horikawa from Kanagawa (Under-21) and 17-year-old Taiki Sakurai of Yamanashi (Under-18). 

Kanagawa’s Masamichi Ito, 16, who has an exemption to Mission Hills as the only player to win Faldo Series Grand Finals in Asia and Europe, finished third in the Boys’ Under-16 division, four shots behind Kinoshita and 15-year-old Ogawa.

As winners of the Girls’ Under-21 and Under-16 divisions respectively, 19-year-old Arai and Okamura, 14, also qualify for the Grand Final in Shenzhen, a World Amateur Golf Ranking event hosted by six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo.

Established in 1996, 37 Faldo Series tournaments now take place in 27 countries worldwide with more than 5,000 golfers participating each year.  Past winners include Major Champions Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng. 

The Faldo Series Asia is supported by major partners ISPS, Mission Hills and The R&A, official golf wear partner UFL and official suppliers TaylorMade and Tricor.  It is endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Federation (APGC).

The 2011/2012 Faldo Series Asia schedule features 17 tournaments in 13 different countries including five in mainland China plus others in The Philippines, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brunei, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand.

Leading final scores:

Boys’ Under-21:

144 – Mikumu Horikawa (73-71)

152 – Hideaki Kajiwara (73-79)

160 – Rusou Norii (81-79)

Boys’ Under-18:

145 – Taiki Sakurai (71-74)

151 – Arimichi Masano (74-77)

155 – Yuichiro Fujimoto (81-74), Syo Nagasawa (80-75)

Boys’ Under-16:

142 – Kohei Kinoshita (67-75), Ryotaro Ogawa (72-70)

146 – Masamichi Ito (70-76)

Girls’ Under-21:

151 – Mai Arai (76-75)

155 – Miki Nishiyama (79-76)

158 – Rie Tsuji (79-79)

Girls’ Under-16:

151 – Yu Okamura (78-73)

156 – Himawari Orimo (78-78)

157 – Akari Horiuchi (82-75)

For all the scores and results click here.  You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.