Shenzhen, China: The ninth edition of the Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship at Mission Hills attracted a record turnout.
Played on the Jack Nicklaus-designed World Cup Course at Mission Hills Shenzhen, the field for the 54-hole event was made up of more than 120 junior golfers, aged between 11 and 17, representing 10 countries and territories.
Players from Canada, Chinese Taipei, Germany, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand joined an 80-strong China contingent for the tournament – including more than 50 players with a handicap of five or better.
Nicklaus said he was delighted to see the tournament flourishing and be part of the China Golf Association Junior Ranking System and The R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
“I am happy to see players from so many different countries taking part, renewing old friendships and making new acquaintances through the uniquely special game of golf,” Nicklaus said. “Few other sports present youngsters with the opportunity to bond and to build relationships that can last for a lifetime.
“My wife, Barbara, and I have always been motivated by helping children, whether that is in healthcare, education or golf. We like to say that children are our future, and as evidenced by the Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship at Mission Hills, the future of golf looks bright.
“This tournament has established itself as an important junior event, not only in China but throughout Asia. We are very proud of that.”
Overall winners in the Boys and Girls categories at the 2016 Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship were Thai Nopparat Panichphon with rounds of 71-70-66 (207) and China’s Liu Yi-yuan with rounds of 70-68-72 (210).
Tenniel Chu, Vice Chairman, Mission Hills Group, said: “Jack Nicklaus is a true legend of golf. For more than 50 years, he has been a wonderful ambassador for the game all over the world.
“Mission Hills is proud of the fact that our relationship with Mr Nicklaus goes back to the early 1990s. He designed the very first course at Mission Hills and has maintained a strong relationship with us through the Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship. Everyone at Mission Hills salutes Mr Nicklaus for the immense contribution he continues to make on the development of golf.”
The top-three finishers in each age division receive invitations to compete in the Nicklaus Junior Championship at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach. The top three also get to compete in the Mission Hills Golf Series Junior Tour Grand Final 2016.
Furthermore, Nopparat and Liu are invited to play in the 2016 Faldo Series China Championship at Mission Hills Golf Club.
“Like Mr Nicklaus, Mission Hills has always been committed to growing the game and we very much look forward to further strengthening our ties and doing more to popularise the sport in the years ahead,” Chu added. “In line with Mr Nicklaus’ love and passion for junior golf development, it is the aim of Mission Hills to continue creating opportunities for all juniors to develop and compete against each other under tournament conditions.”
Additional appeal to this year’s Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship was a nine-hole Parent-Child event.
“Encouraging parents to play alongside their children added a new and exciting dimension to the week,” Chu said. “We thank all those who supported this initiative, showing that golf is a lifelong sport.”