Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam: Nguyen Thao My repelled the challenge of Do Le Gia Dat to claim top honours in the seventh Faldo Series Vietnam Championship.
The promising Vietnamese teenager fired rounds of 73 and 74 over the acclaimed Faldo Design course at Laguna Lang Co near Danang. She will now join Sir Nick Faldo at Mission Hills Golf Club in China for the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in March 2015.
Three shots clear at the top of the leaderboard after a solid opening-day one-over-par, Nguyen appeared to be coasting to victory before running up a double-bogey seven at the 536-yard 15th in round two.
But she quickly regained her composure with a decisive birdie-three at the 17th, rated the most difficult hole on the course that has played a pivotal role in the development of Vietnam’s Central Coast region as a major golf and tourism destination since its opening 16 months ago.
With a 36-hole aggregate of three-over 147, Nguyen ended four strokes clear of Do Le Gia Dat, who was left to rue two double-bogeys on the front nine in the second round. As well as topping the overall gross category, Nguyen ended five shots in front of her closest rival in the girls’ Under-16 category.
Along with Nguyen, Do Le Gia Dat (Boys’ Under-21 winner), Hanako Kawasaki (Girls’ Under-16 runner-up) and Dao Phuc Hung (Boys’ Under-16 winner) had the satisfaction of qualifying for next year’s World Amateur Golf Ranking event in China.
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful ever golfer, said: “Golf in Vietnam is still very much in its infancy. It’s encouraging, therefore, to see more of the local players breaking 80 regularly and several scoring in the low and mid-70s.
“One of the aims of the Faldo Series Asia is to help grow the game by offering playing opportunities. I’m sure we’ll see Vietnamese golfers starting to make a mark on the game in Asia over the course of the next decade.”
Supported by The R&A, ISPS and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2014-15 Faldo Series Asia campaign will stretch over 11 months and be made up of a minimum of 20 championships.
Faldo Series Vietnam Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 151 – Do Le Gia Dat (76-75). 154 – Luong Xuan Phu (78-76). Boys’ Under-16: 153 – Dao Phuc Hung (79-74). 158 – Nguyen Phuong Toan (79-79). Girls’ Under-16: 147 – Nguyen Thao My (73-74). 152 – Hanako Kawasaki (78-74).