Oscar out to retain Faldo Series New Zealand Championship Title
Christchurch, New Zealand (January 13): Oscar Cadenhead will face a stern examination of his golfing credentials when he defends his title in next week's Faldo Series New Zealand Championship, presented by the Canterbury Golf Development Trust.
The big-hitting Cadenhead swept to a six-stroke success in last year's inaugural event at Clearwater Golf Club, his home course. He went on to finish third in the Boys' Under-21 category at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
However, with a strong field assembled for the second edition of the 54-hole World Amateur Golf Ranking tournament, Cadenhead knows he'll need to be at his best if he's to repeat as champion.
In the boys' segment there is an average handicap of 3.2. Among the girls, the average handicap is 2.9 in what is the 19th and penultimate leg of the record-breaking 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia season.
With handicap indexes of +2.3, the low handicappers are Matthew McLean [Under-21], Inia Logan, the reigning South Island Under-19 and Under-17 champion, and 13-year-old prodigy Rose Zheng, a member of the Auckland provincial team and a rising star nationally.
Also in the girls' grade, 15-year-old Amelia Garvey is a local favourite and is part of the New Zealand Golf High Performance Academy. Garvey and 13-year-old Juliana Hung were both part of the Canterbury team which recently won the 2015 Toro Inter-Provincial title, New Zealand premier women's team golf tournament.
Other potential challengers to Cadenhead's crown include Dominic Bretkelly, last year's Under-16 winner, and Charlie Smail, son of New Zealand touring professional David Smail.
All of them will be vying for victory in their respective age groups which would earn them a trip to Mission Hills China for the 10th anniversary Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo from March 2-4.
The Clearwater course, meanwhile, will be in tip-top shape as the venue prepares to stage the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open next month, an event sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and Australian Ladies Professional Golf.
Six-time Major championship winner Sir Nick, Britain's most successful golfer, said: "All New Zealand youngsters can be drawing inspiration from what Lydia Ko and Danny Lee are achieving on the LPGA Tour and PGA Tour now. It should be a great incentive for all those participating in the Faldo Series New Zealand Championship.
"I want to thank Clearwater Golf Club for their support and Canterbury Golf Development Trust for making it all happen."
Maryanne Marlow, Chair of the Canterbury Golf Development Trust, said: "The Canterbury Golf Development Trust believes the Faldo Series is the pre-eminent event for young elite golfers in our region.
"The Trust is delighted to be able to support the New Zealand title tournament at Clearwater Golf Club. Furthermore, to be able to help some of our region's young golfers to compete on a world stage and possibly be taught or mentored by Sir Nick Faldo is tantamount to the Trust deed. The Trust is looking forward to its association with the Faldo Series."
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and has included 20 events in 17 countries.
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 champions who have held the world number one ranking.