Hong Kong: National team player Kho Tai-chi clinched Hong Kong’s national Junior Open on the third hole of a sudden-death play-off, capping a dramatic final day at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling.
As the leading local player, Kho will experience the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions in Shanghai later this year, courtesy of the Hong Kong Golf Association’s Exclusive Banking Partner, HSBC.
The 15-year-old held his nerve on the 54th and final hole of regulation play, sinking a four-foot par putt to shoot a brilliant two-under 68 and finish tied with Ryota Nakao of Japan on 212. Kho’s compatriot Lou Tan was also in the mix, having stormed up the leaderboard with a final-round 67 on the New Course, but ultimately he fell one short on 213.
The historic Hong Kong Golf Club, permanent home to the Hong Kong Open, is a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
The pair of Kho and Nakao could not be separated over the first two play-off holes but the Hong Kong national team player needed only a tap-in putt for par on the third extra hole to win his first Hong Kong Junior Open title.
In doing so, he topped a record field that featured 105 junior golfers, 40 of whom were from overseas. The 46th edition of the championship also featured on the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking for the first time.
“This week has been amazing – not just winning but meeting so many players from different countries and making new friends,” said Kho. “I was proud of the way I parred the last two holes and then kept my focus in the play-off.”
“I can’t wait to go to the HSBC Champions,” added Kho. “I heard from Leon [D’Souza, last year’s champion] that it was an awesome experience so I’m going to make the most of every minute!”
Thailand’s Kan Bunnabodee, 14, was crowned girls’ champion, finishing with a one-over 73 for a three-round total of 220. Virginie Ding was Hong Kong’s leading girl, finishing in a three-way tie for second on 225.
The leading local girl in the 15-17 age division was Queenie Lai, so she will join Kho for the final two days of the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club on October 29-30. There they will get an inside-the-ropes look at how a World Golf Championship event is staged and be treated to a coaching clinic with one of the world’s top golfers.
On the Monday following the final round they will then have the opportunity to play on the tournament course in a match against their peers from the CGA-HSBC China Junior Golf Programme. The HKGA team won the inaugural edition of the match in 2015.