Liu Yan outlasts rivals in Faldo Series Kunming Championship
Kunming (February 6): A 4,000-kilometre round trip paid rich dividends for Liu Yan as she outplayed her rivals in the eighth edition of the Faldo Series Kunming Championship.
Showing no signs of fatigue following a gruelling 2,000-kilometre journey from Xiamen, the 14-year-old swept to a commanding victory at the award-winning Lakeview Golf Club course that nestles along the shores of Dianchi Lake and beneath a beautiful mountain area.
Joint leader after an opening two-under-par 70, Liu fired a second-round 73 to ensure she topped the standings in both the Girls’ Under-16 Division and overall in what was the 19th and final stop in a record-breaking season for the Faldo Series Asia.
It was a fine effort from the teenager who skilfully navigated her way around the Faldo Design, par-72 parkland-style layout that has frequently appeared on lists of China’s top-10 courses and is rated as one of the premier golfing venues in Yunnan Province.
Liu’s one-under-par 143 aggregate was four strokes clear of Xiong Ruiheng, whose closing 77 was seven shots worse than his first-day effort at the venue which is located in the heart of the Kunming Dianchi national tourism and vacation zone.
Nonetheless, his performance was good enough to see him finish on top of the leaderboard in the Boys’ Under-16 Division to confirm his place alongside Liu in the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, a World Amateur Golf Ranking event, to be held at Mission Hills Shenzhen next month.
Also making the journey down south for the Grand Final will be the three other age-group winners – last year’s overall champion Tsai Yuan-hong [Boys’ Under-21], Yang Ruyao [Boys’ Under-18] and Singapore-based American Monica Matsubara [Girls’ Under-21].
Matsubara’s battle with He Xinyi was one of the highlights of the tournament. He held a one-stroke lead after an opening 78 but found herself level with Matsubara with just eight holes of the final round remaining.
While Matsubara reeled off three successive pars from the 11th, He dropped four shots over the same stretch to hand the advantage to her opponent and leaving herself with too much ground to make up.
In keeping with Sir Nick Faldo’s drive to grow the game, a mixed under-12 category attracted more than 30 players. Pride of place went to Zhang Zhongyu with a 27-hole score of 119.
Six-time Major championship winner Sir Nick, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “To be able to give these kids an opportunity to play in a tournament environment at such a young age will hopefully inspire and encourage them to pursue this wonderful game.
“It is my hope that in the not too distant future, many of them will be challenging for honours in the Faldo Series Kunming Championship.”
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 stretches over 11 months and has been made up of 19 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.
Faldo Series Kunming Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21:
160 – Tsai Yuan-hong (80-80)
163 – Wang Sulei (83-80)
172 – Gong Chenxin (82-90).
167 – Yang Ruyao (82-85)
177 – Ma Shouneng (87-90)
185 – Zhang Yifei (86-99)
147 – Xiong Ruiheng (70-77)
160 – Li Jiakun (76-84)
163 – Li Naike (82-81)
155 – Monica Matsubara (79-76)
158 – He Xinyi (78-80)
143 – Liu Yan (70-73)
161 – Yin Ruoning (84-77)
167 – Yang Yifei (83-84)
119 – Zhang Zhongyu (40-38-41)
121 – Zhou Yaoting (43-39-39)
131 – Li Xinyang (47-43-41)
For the full results click here.