Phuket, Thailand: Napat Paramacharoenroj recovered brilliantly from a nightmare start to claim victory in the inaugural Faldo Series Thailand Championship (South).
One of the pre-tournament favourites, Napat, a 15-year-old two-handicapper, ran up a triple-bogey seven on the opening hole followed by a bogey-four at the short second in the first round at Laguna Golf Phuket, a Golf Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Displaying commendable skill and mental strength, the Laguna Golf Phuket member – nicknamed Khun Toy – then proceeded to play the remaining 52 holes in 12-under-par.
Bouncing back from his early disaster, Napat signed for an even-par 71 in the first round of what was the ninth leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
He followed that with a 68 on day two before closing out the championship with a stylish 66, the low round of the tournament which attracted entries from all over Thailand as well as India, Malaysia and Singapore.
With a three-day aggregate of eight-under 205, Napat topped the leaderboard in the Boys’ Under-16 category. He also led the way in the overall standings in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event, earning himself an exemption into the forthcoming Singha Phuket Open at Laguna Golf Phuket, part of the All Thailand Golf Tour.
This year marked the first time that Thailand has hosted two Faldo Series Asia qualifiers with Putt Sridama triumphing in the Faldo Series Thailand Championship – North at Watermill Golf and Gardens in May.
Putt will now be joined by Napat in the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017. Laguna Lăng Cô is the sister club of Laguna Golf Phuket.
Also winning through to the Grand Final via the Phuket qualifier were Thais Phaiboon Phumkliang and Phisitkhwan Pooratanaopa, Indian Varun Parikh and Malaysian Audrey Tan.
Seven shots ahead of Parikh with six holes remaining in the Boys’ Under-21 segment, Phaiboon limped home with four late bogeys and a double-bogey for a round of 74. His 210 total was one shot ahead of Parikh, a top-10 finisher in April’s Northern India Amateur, won by Arjun Prasad, the reigning Faldo Series Asia champion.
Meanwhile, Phisitkhwan was a model of consistency as she scored a runaway victory from Tan in the Girls’ division.
Tan’s brother, Bryan, also finished runner-up in his age group. However, with only one ticket to the Grand Final on offer from the Boys’ Under-16 section, he missed out on a trip to Vietnam.
Due to the number of entries, the Girls’ Under-16 and Under-21 and the Boys’ Under-18 and Under-21 were merged into one division each. Two Grand Final invitations were made available for those categories.
Paul Wilson, Laguna Golf Assistant Vice President/Group Golf Director, said: “What a fantastic three days of competitive golf we enjoyed.
“Our team at Laguna Golf is proud to have an association with Sir Nick Faldo and his Faldo Series. To welcome such amazing young talent has been our pleasure and we are already looking forward to next year’s tournament!”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
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