Parker primed to pounce at Faldo Series New Zealand Championship
Christchurch, New Zealand (December 9): Tom Parker will be seeking to deliver a fitting finale to a memorable year in his golfing development when he tees-off in next week’s Faldo Series New Zealand Championship, presented by the Canterbury Golf Development Trust.
Having excelled at home and abroad in recent months, the 16-year-old Christchurch Boys' High student is expected to challenge for top honours in the 18th leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
Parker set the tone for what has been a banner season by topping the standings in the Boys’ Under-16 category at the 2015-16 Faldo Series New Zealand Championship at Clearwater Golf Club.
And he returns to the same venue in the final month of 2016 boosted by a series of outstanding performances, highlighted by a joint sixth place finish in the 10th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills China in March and a notable victory at the South Pacific Junior Open in Noumea in August.
Thanks to those efforts, Parker has been elevated into the New Zealand Development Squad and also was a key member of the Canterbury team that participated at last week’s Toro Inter-Provincials, New Zealand's premier men’s team event.
Provincial team players from Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Otago are also in the 59-strong Faldo Series New Zealand Championship starting field in which the average handicap index is 2.7.
As such, Parker will need to be at his best to secure his spot in the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017.
Among his main rivals in the boys’ segment will be Hiroki Miya, winner of the South Island Under-19 Championship, and Shaun Campbell, the top qualifier in the New Zealand Amateur Championship who went on to make the semi-finals of the match play section.
Meanwhile, Clearwater Golf Club member Oscar Cadenhead, the inaugural Faldo Series New Zealand Championship winner in 2014, will be making his final appearance in the event before leaving the junior ranks. The same applies to Matthew McLean, who edged out Cadenhead in a play-off in the Boys’ Under-21 category at the second Faldo Series New Zealand Championship.
An exceptionally powerful contingent of girls is spearheaded by 14-year-old Juliana Hung, who is aiming to make a successful defence of the overall title she won so emphatically in the 2015-16 Faldo Series New Zealand Championship.
Hung is joined by Amelia Garveyand Hillary O’Connor, her team-mates in theCanterbury Inter-Provincial Women’s Team.
This year has seen 16-year-old Garvey enter the New Zealand Golf High Performance squad of five female players. As well as winning the Muriwai Open, Garvey last month added the Australian Federal Amateur Open title to her growing list of prizes.
For her part, O’Connor is a member of the New Zealand Development Squad and only missed out on a countback on winning the New Zealand Women’s Age Grade Championship.
Maryanne Marlow, chair of the Faldo Series New Zealand’s presenting partner, the Canterbury Golf Development Trust, said: “I’m thrilled at the quality of the field for the third Faldo Series New Zealand Championship. The fact that we have players coming from all corners of New Zealand is an endorsement of the investment that the Trust has made in supporting the event once more.”
Andrew Bell, General Manager at Clearwater Golf Club, host to the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open and recently named Best Course in New Zealand for the second consecutive year at the World Golf Awards, said: “Our gratitude is extended to the Canterbury Golf Development Trust for their continued backing.
“We are honoured that the World Golf Awards have again recognised the focus that the Clearwater golf course team put into all aspects of our visitor experience. The course itself has an outstanding record as the premier venue for international professional championship golf with 15 events staged since opening in 2002. By focusing on treating every visitor as a member of the club for the day, we believe that we now offer a unique product which the travel and tourism industry are clearly supporting."
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are being 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.