Zuska and Chapman lay down markers on day one
12 October 2016: Nothing could split Adam Chapman and Jiri Zuska on day one of the Faldo Series Grand Final at Stoke By Nayland. Czech national Zuska carved out birdie opportunities on the front nine before eagling his eleventh hole. His 67 would be enough to claim a lead against almost any field but Englishman Adam Chapman fought superbly to join the clubhouse leader.
The Gainsborough course looked resplendent as it basked in October sunshine, conditions perfect to tackle the challenges the course laid out. The course was designed to provide a rigorous test of all areas of a player’s game. It was fortunate then, that such an array of talented youngsters had assembled to attempt to become the 20th Faldo Series Grand Final Champion.
In the Boys’ Under-21 division Adam Chapman avoided bogeys and chipped away to take the joint clubhouse lead. He was chased hard by Brazilian Henrik Machado. Machado played solidly before lighting up his back nine with four birdies in five holes. His 69 reminds Chapman that even a touch of complacency will prove costly.
Jiri Zuska qualified for the Grand Final by winning the Czech Republic Championship. Here he illustrated again just how bright a talent he is to take a two shot lead in his division. Northern Irishman Peter Cummins has shone brightly and his 69 places him in touch of Zuska. Englishman Sam Bairstow is also well in the mix after day one.
The Boys’ Under 16 features Englishman Harry Goddard. Goddard has shown off an extremely accomplished game for a 16-year-old in his appearances in the Faldo Series. His round of 69 places him in the joint lead in his division with the equally precocious 15-year-old Esteban Jaramillo from Colombia.
16-year-old Nicola Slater of England fired a wonderful 69 to take two shot lead over her fellow girl competitors. Italian Benedetta Moresco sits in second place in the Under-16 category and will look to pressurize Slater on the second day. Malaysian Kim Chiang is also in the hunt three shots back.
The Girls’ Under 21 contains golfers of the highest quality. Slovakian Sara Zrnikova took the lead on day one with a 71 but will surely be wary of the strong chasing pack. Emily Brennan won the Faldo Series England Midlands Championship in August and will be a genuine threat with two days to go.
Away from the pressures of the leaderboard Sir Nick Faldo ran a masterclass clinic for the players. The clinic covered aspects that will hopefully come in helpful in the next few days of play. Faldo was assisted by his personal coach; of world renown, Keith Wood. The players have been tapping into Sir Nick and Keith Wood’s reservoir of knowledge from their experiences operating at the highest level of the sport.
Competitors aged 12 to 21 will compete for the title of Faldo Series Champion over 54 holes at on the Gainsborough course at Stoke-By-Nayland. The field will be split into five age-categories, with three boys and two girls to receive a trophy and an exemption into the eleventh Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in 2017. The leading boy and girl will be invited to play in a professional Tour event.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year. Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.
Leading final scores:
67 – Adam Chapman (ENG); 69 – Henrik Machado (BRA)
Boys’ Under 18:
67 – Jiri Zuska (CZE)
69 – Peter Cummins (NIR), Sam Bairstow (ENG)
Boys’ Under 16:
69 – Esteban Jaramillo (COL), Harry Goddard (ENG)
72 – Pavol Mach (SK)
71 – Sara Zrnikova (SK)
74 – Emily Brennan (ENG)
69 – Nicola Slater (ENG)
71 – Benedetta Moresco (ITA)
For live scoring updates during the 20th Faldo Series Grand Final please visit www.faldoseries.info/tic/tmtic.cgi. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.