Koreans keyed Up for Faldo Series Asia Grand Final debut
Hue, Vietnam (March 14): Korean golfers are determined to make an instant impression when they contest this week’s 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
Among the highlights of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season was the staging of the inaugural Faldo Series Korea Championship, won is stunning style by rising teenage star Ryu Hae-ran.
Now Ryu is spearheading a potent, five-pronged Korean challenge for glory in the 54-hole R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking Grand Final over the acclaimed Faldo Design layout at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam from March 15-17.
“Over the past 20 years, Korea has emerged as one of the world’s most powerful golfing nations,” said six-time Major championship winner Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer. “Korean women have been a dominant force on the LPGA Tour while we’re seeing a growing number of Korean men making their mark on the PGA Tour.
“Korea hosted the Presidents Cup in 2015 and the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2016, while a fully-fledged PGA Tour event will take place in Korea for the first time this year. These are exciting times for golf in Korea and I’m delighted that the Faldo Series has now become part of the golfing calendar for the country’s elite junior players.
“Last year we watched Korea sweep to victory in the World Women’s Amateur Team Championship for the Espirito Santo Trophy as well as celebrating Park In-bee’s gold medal winning performance at the Rio Olympics and Kim Si-woo’s triumph in the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour.
“There is so much incredible talent among Korean golfers and we hope the Faldo Series Korea Championship will provide another opportunity for the country’s rising stars to showcase their talent at home and here at Laguna Lăng Cô this week.”
Park Ju-ik, Tournament Director for the Faldo Series Korea Championship, said: “There was tremendous excitement among junior golfers in our country that Korea had joined the Faldo Series.
“The Faldo Series Korea Championship made a great debut and we look forward to seeing the players who qualified for the Grand Final do Korea proud. In the longer term, we are hopeful that the Faldo Series Korea Championship will become one of the most important events on our annual junior calendar.”
At the inaugural Faldo Series Korea Championship, national squad member Ryu raced to a wire-to-wire victory. Joining her in flying the Korean flag in Vietnam are age-group winners Oh Se-young (Boys’ Under-21), Park Hyung-wook (Boys’ Under-18), Yoon Kyung-sik (Boys’ Under-16) and Uhm Kyu-won (Girls’ Under-21).
All eyes, though, will be on Ryu whose notable achievements include victory in the 2015 Evian Championship Junior Cup. She was the leading amateur in last year’s Korea Women's Open on the Korea LPGA Tour and also qualified for the 2016 US Women’s Open Championship and tied for sixth at the World Junior Girls Championship in Canada. A strong showing at Laguna Lăng Cô will enhance her chances of breaking into the top-200 in The R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
The Faldo Series Asia was launched by Sir Nick in 2007 with a view to growing the game around the world and unearthing the next batch of global golfing superstars.
“It promises to be another memorable tournament,” said Faldo, who will be present at Laguna Lăng Cô throughout the week. As well as conducting golfing clinics, Faldo will mingle with the 80-plus players from no fewer than 20 countries.
“Our thanks go to our sponsors, The R&A, European Tour, Asian Tour, PGA Tour and the PGA of America who all support us every day to grow the game of golf around the world," he said.
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 a trip to the United Kingdom to compete in the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final.
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.