Hue, Vietnam: Thailand’s Napat Paramacharoenroj produced a grandstand finish to claim a notable victory in the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
Under the gaze of six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo, Napat – nicknamed Toy – drained a 35-foot birdie putt on the final green at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang for a closing three-under-par 68 in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
That gave him a 54-hole total of eight-under 205 and a one-stroke win from Indonesian Jonathan Wijono (69), who was left to rue a double-bogey six at the 16th.
A further stroke back in third was Australian Daniel Gale (69) with first round leader Mohammad Rasel of Bangladesh (70) in fourth on 208 and Chinese-Taipei’s Liu Yung-hau (72) fifth on 209.
“It’s been a memorable week. My thanks to Sir Nick for providing this opportunity,” said 15-year-old Napat, who is only the second Thai winner of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, following in the footsteps Nakarin Ratanakul, who triumphed at Mission Hills China in the inaugural event in 2007.
Sir Nick, who hosted participants from 20 countries at the Laguna Lăng Cô resort, said: “Congratulations to Khun Toy. He showed tremendous skill and composure. To make a birdie to win under such intense pressure at the final hole was commendable. He is a worthy champion.”
In the Girls’ Division, pride of place went to Chinese Taipei’s Hung Jo-hua. She carded a 72 to win the Girls’ Under-21 category and finish as the leading overall female on 213.
Other age group winners were Japan’s Minori Nagano (Girls’ Under-16); Indonesian Almay Rayhan (Boys’ Under-18) and Australian Gale (Boys’ Under-21).
As well as receiving the Faldo Series Asia trophy, Napat will be granted an exemption into an Asian Tour event, while Hung will be given a start in a Ladies European Tour event.
Both have also earned themselves a trip to compete in this year’s Faldo Series Europe Grand Final.
Sir Nick said: “Over the course of the past 11 years, many of the players who have participated in the Faldo Series have gone on to enjoy successful professional careers.
“This week we brought together more than 80 talented young golfers from around the world. The standard of play is improving every year and I’m excited about the future as we continue our effort to grow the game of golf globally through the Faldo Series.”
Faldo also praised the Laguna Lăng Cô venue. He said: “I have truly looked forward to bringing the Faldo Asia Series Grand Final to Vietnam and Laguna Lăng Cô, a course which I visit often and I am most proud of designing. Our hosts at Laguna Lăng Cô and Banyan Tree Resorts are contributing greatly to growing golf and developing tomorrow’s champions. In addition, some of the best young golfers in the world have now had the tremendous experience of visiting and enjoying golf and hospitality in Vietnam.”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign has stretched over 11 months.