FALDO SERIES FINAL TEES OFF WITH MCILROY
12 September 2011: Rory McIlroy joined Sir Nick Faldo at Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland to give a clinic to competitors on day one of the fifteenth Faldo Series Grand Final. Earlier Jordan Smith of England and Ireland’s Victoria Bradshaw both posted two-over-par 74s to share the first round lead.
7 February 2012: England’s Gavin Samuels and Natalia Heckova of Slovakia will be among five winners from the 2011 Faldo Series Europe Grand Final travelling to Mission Hills Golf Club in China to challenge for the Faldo Series Asia title on March 14-16.
McIlroy is a three-time winner of Faldo’s global golf development programme. The reigning US Open Champion won Faldo Series Under-15 and Under-17 titles in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The 22-year-old was also a winner at the 2006 Faldo Series International Trophy in Hong Kong.
“Winning the Grand Final in Europe was by far my biggest achievement in golf,” said Samuels, 21, who claimed the overall title at Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland last September. “The opportunity to compete in China is one of several doors that have been opened for me since my victory. I’m grateful to Sir Nick for all he has done for me and for so many other young golfers around the world.”
“It was tough out there but fun,” said 18-year-old Jordan Smith from Bowood after his round of 74 in strong winds. “I played solid and enjoyed having to hit some unique shots.”
16-year-old Heckova, winner of the Girls’ Under-16 title at Lough Erne, will become the first Slovakian golfer to compete in the sixth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by six-time Major Champion Sir Nick Faldo over 54 holes on the Faldo Course at Mission Hills next month.
“I’m chuffed with the way I battled mentally,” said Victoria Bradshaw, 21, from Bangor who shares a coach with McIlroy. “I managed my way round the course really well and the local knowledge in these conditions helped.”
Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan and another Englishman, Cameron Long will also make their debut at Mission Hills in Shenzhen, located close to Hong Kong and the official Home of the Faldo Series Asia since its launch in 2006.
More than 30 local school children were also in attendance on day one for a grass-roots clinic with Faldo, part of the six-time Major Champion’s drive to create access to the game for a younger audience.
Making her second trip to the World Amateur Golf Ranking event at Mission Hills will be England’s Brogan Townend. The 17-year-old claimed the overall Girls’ title at Lough Erne to add to the Girls’ Under-16 title she won in 2009.
A field of 77 players are competing in this year’s Faldo Series Grand Final at Lough Erne. 16 different countries are being represented by some of the world’s top young golfers, boys and girls, aged 13 to 21.
Following a record season of 17 tournaments in 13 Asian countries, more than 80 boys and girls aged 12 to 21 will qualify for the Asia Grand Final. The five age-group winners from Mission Hills – three boys and two girls – will be exempt for the sixteenth Europe Grand Final in September 2012 and the overall champions, one boy and one girl, will receive a start in a professional Tour event.
Winners of 17 Faldo Series Europe events in 11 different countries across Europe and South America, plus three qualifiers from Asia, are in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland for the World Amateur Golf Ranking event which concludes on 14 September.
The 2011/2012 Faldo Series Asia schedule features five tournaments in mainland China plus others in The Philippines, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brunei, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand.
Competitors are playing over three rounds on the Faldo Course for the Faldo Series title and a start in a professional Tour event. Trophies will be awarded to winners of five age-categories, three for boys and two for girls, all of whom will be exempt for the Asia Grand Final in China in March 2012.
The Faldo Series Asia is supported by major partners ISPS, Mission Hills and The R&A, official golf wear partner UFL and official suppliers TaylorMade and Tricor. It is endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Federation (APGC). The Faldo Series Europe is supported by The R&A, the European Tour and Lough Erne Resort.
Established in 1996, 35 Faldo Series tournaments now take place in 25 countries worldwide with more than 5,000 golfers participating each year. Yani Tseng, Nick Dougherty and Oliver Fisher are also past winners.
Established in 1996, 37 Faldo Series tournaments now take place in 27 countries worldwide with more than 5,000 golfers participating each year. Past winners include Major Champions Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng.
Supported by The R&A, the European Tour and Lough Erne Resort, the Faldo Series Europe schedule covers England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Czech Republic, Russia, Greece, The Netherlands, Brazil, Germany and Slovakia. The Faldo Series Asia visits a further 13 countries, including five tournaments in mainland China, and is backed by The R&A, ISPS, Mission Hills and UFL.
Leading round one scores: Boys’ Under-21: 74 – Jordan Smith (Eng); 76 – Adam Andrews (Eng), Gavin Samuels (Eng), Ondrej Lieser (Cze). Boys’ Under-18: 76 – Bradley Thomas (Eng); 79 – Nathan Kimsey (Eng), Gavin Moynihan (Irl). Boys’ Under-16: 76 – Ben Robinson (Eng); 78 – Ben Amor (Eng); 79 – Cameron Long (Eng). Girls’ Under-21: 74 – Victoria Bradshaw (Irl); 79 – Brogan Townend (Eng); 80 – Sophie Powell (Eng). Girls’ Under-16: 79 – Natalia Heckova (Sk); 80 – Amber Ratcliffe (Eng), Marie Lunackova (Cze), Ellie Goodall (Eng).