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Focused Hanako Retains Faldo Series Vietnam Championship Crown

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18 July 2018

Ho Chih Minh City, Vietnam (July 18): Hanako Kawasaki has always possessed abundant quantities of focus and patience. In the 11th edition of the Faldo Series Vietnam Championship those attributes carried her to a successful defence of her title.

In demanding conditions at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, Kawasaki produced an admirably consistent performance to top the standings in the third leg of the 2018-19 Faldo Series Asia season that was staged in conjunction with the third Vietnam Junior Open.

While her rivals struggled to stay out of trouble on the Greg Norman-designed links course, 18-year-old Kawasaki, a student at the British International School in Ho Chih Minh City, rolled up her sleeves and embraced the challenge.

Displaying the steely determination that has served her so well in her fledgling golfing career, the scratch-handicapper posted two rounds of 73 and a closing 75 for a three-day aggregate of five-over 221 in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking-counting event.

That gave her a five-shot success from three-time Faldo Series Vietnam Championship winner Nguyen Thao My with Nguyen Vu Quoc An a further four shots back in third spot.

As well as cementing her position as Vietnam's leading female amateur, Kawasaki's victory underlined her qualities of control and course management.

Asked recently what makes golf unlike any other sport, Kawasaki said: "It requires focus and patience. I enjoy the challenge of spending hours just to perfect an action that happens within a second – the swing."

Her focus and patience were tested to the full at The Bluffs where high winds and heavy rain forced a one-hour suspension on the final day. But Kawasaki coped better than anyone to add more silverware to go with the trophies she collected in winning the Vietnam Ladies Match Play Championship at the end of 2017 and the Vietnam Ladies Amateur Championship last month.

Now she will have a chance to showcase her blossoming talent in the 13th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Vietnam's Laguna Lăng Cô in March, 2019.

There, Kawasaki, whose mother is from Vietnam and father is Japanese, will be looking to improve on her joint sixth finish in the Girls' Under-21 Division in the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final four months ago.

Also qualifying for the Laguna Lăng Cô showpiece were Girls' Under-21 runner-up Nguyen Thao My, Boys' Under-16 winner Nguyen Vu Quoc Anh, Boys' Under-16 runner-up Nguyen Nhat Long, whose closing 72 was the low round of the tournament, and Boys' Under-21 winner Nguyen Hung Dung, the leading Vietnamese overall at the last Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.

Meanwhile, Tran Le Hung's disappointment at narrowly missing out was offset by the fact that he scored a hole-in-one at the par-three 15th in the opening round. He eventually finished runner-up in the Boys' Under-21 category.

The 2018-19 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.

As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships will be 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 champions include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners, while 2016 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Girls' champion Nasa Hataoka has won on the LPGA Tour this year.

Faldo Series Vietnam Championship, leading final scoresBoys' Under-21:

232 – Nguyen Hung Dung (75-77-80)

241 – Tran Le Hung (74-83-84)

249 – Nguyen Phuong Khang (83-89-77)

Boys' Under-16:

230 – Nguyen Vu Quoc An (76-78-77)

233 – Nguyen Nhat Long (80-81-72)

235 – Tran Lam (81-78-76).

Girls' Under-21:

221 – Hanako Kawasaki (73-73-75)

226 – Nguyen Thao My (74-77-75)

237 – Tran Chieu Duong (76-79-82)

Girls' Under-16:

235 – Doan Xuan Khue Minh (80-79-76)

276 – Pham Tha Yen Vy (94-92-90)