Hong Kong: Fresh from a successful American summer tour, Leon D’Souza swept to a wire-to-wire victory in the Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship.
In so doing, the Hong Kong resident earned himself another shot at regional glory in the 10th anniversary Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
“I was pretty calm. I didn’t worry too much and just stuck to my gameplan,” said D’Souza after signing for an accomplished closing four-under-par 68 over the demanding North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Course.
“I’ve been feeling confident with my game. My swing was pretty good. I missed a couple of putts … but I made quite a few and had some birdies. I got lucky with a couple of tee shots but they were safe and I made par on those holes,” added D’Souza, who turned 17 in May.
D’Souza, a Philippines national, moved to the top of the lederboard with an opening 71 and maintained his one-stroke advantage from Emily Leung following a second-round 75.
Thanks to four birdies in a five-hole final-day streak on the back nine, D’Souza posted a 54-hole aggregate of two-under-par 214 – nine strokes clear of second-placed Mimi Ho.
Winner of the male division at April’s Hong Kong Junior Close Championship, D’Souza’s latest triumph saw him extend his advantage atop the standings in the Hong Kong Golf Association’s [HKGA] 2015 Junior Order of Merit.
D’Souza said he reaped the benefit of the HKGA’s Summer Tour to the United States where he not only had a string of strong performances on the West Coast but also worked hard on his game.
Among his future targets is the 2016 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Mission Hills China next March.
In this year’s Grand Final, D’Souza had the distinction of finishing as the leading Hong Kong representative in a tie for 14th place. Yet he was left to ponder what might have been after struggling to a final-round 77 that saw him drop from fourth spot overnight.
D’Souza said: “The first two rounds I played really well and was in contention. Hopefully I can improve on that next year. It was a great experience and I look forward to spending some time again with Nick Faldo and learning from him.”
Other age group winners at Kau Sai Chau who will line-up at Mission Hills China were Mimi Ho [Girls’ Under-21]; Ku Lung-hei [Boys’ Under-16] and Selina Li Yuen-yuet [Girls’ Under-16].
National squad member Ho entered the final round in third place, four shots behind Emily Leung and three adrift of Isabella Leung.
While Emily ran up two double-bogeys on the front nine en route to a 77 and Isabella had a nightmare triple-bogey seven at the 13th as she soared to an 80, Ho held firm with a closing even-par 72, highlighted by an eagle-two at 13 and a birdie-three at 15.
The Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship was played in conjunction with the 2015 Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Junior Open presented by now TV and included categories for players aged between six and eight and also nine and 10.
A HKGA spokesman said: “The Kau Sai Chau double-header continues to go from strength to strength with more players every year and now expanded to three rounds. More than 30 younger kids were also in action over nine holes from forward tees. The emphasis was on fun.”
Results from the Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship, the sixth leg of the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia season, counted for the World Amateur Golf Ranking system.
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and will include a minimum of 21 events in 17 countries including, for the first time, Australia.