Tokyo, Japan: Faldo Series Asia champion Suzuka Yamaguchi’s stock continues to rise.
Six weeks after becoming the first female winner of the Faldo Series Asia title, the Japanese teenager’s reputation as one of Asia’s most exciting golfing prospects has been further enhanced.
Thanks to her triumph in the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Laguna Lăng Cô in Vietnam in early March, the 18-year-old broke into the top-100 in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking for the first time.
Backing that up with impressive performances in the Japan LPGA Tour’s T-Point Ladies Golf Tournament and the ANA Junior Inspiration, Yamaguchi’s upward trajectory has seen her rise to 70th.
“I was hugely impressed with Suzuka,” said six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo. “In winning the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, not only did she display tremendous skill, but also great composure.
“Clearly she is an outstanding talent who has the ability to go a long way in the game – hopefully all the way to the top.
“What has struck me is that she’s fared well in prestigious amateur tournaments around the world, showing she’s able to adapt to different conditions and cultures which are crucial attributes for a young golfer.
“Furthermore, she’s also showing she can compete with the professionals on the Japan LPGA Tour.
“We’re only a third of the way through 2018, but it’s already been a memorable year for Suzuka. I’ll be watching her progress closely in the months ahead.”
Indeed, Yamaguchi has enjoyed a flying start to the year, becoming the first Japanese to triumph in the Australian Women’s Amateur Championship prior to her Faldo Series Asia Grand Final success.
A fortnight after that, Yamaguchi was the leading amateur in the Japan LPGA Tour’s weather-hit T-Point Ladies Golf Tournament. At Ibaraki Kokusai Golf Club, she posted rounds of 70 and 73 to claim a share of 16th spot.
The following week, she headed to America to compete in the ANA Junior Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club, the Pete Dye Challenge Course and the Dinah Shore Tournament Course.
Undaunted by the long journey and the effects of jet-lag, Yamaguchi once more acquitted herself admirably, finishing joint sixth in a world-class field.
The Faldo Series Asia 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 and Thailand, the 2018-19 Faldo Series Asia season will include championships in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.