Christchurch, New Zealand: Hiroki Miya defied heavy rain and strong winds to fly high in the third Faldo Series New Zealand Championship, presented by the Canterbury Golf Development Trust.
The promising 16-year-old from Canterbury made light of the tough conditions to emerge triumphant by three strokes in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event that was reduced to 36 holes following the cancellation of the first round due to inclement weather.
Nonetheless, Miya was a worthy winner, following up an outstanding opening three-under-par 69 at the award-winning Clearwater Golf Club with a second round of 74.
With a two-round aggregate of one-under 143, Miya finished three shots in front of second placed Jordan Woodall in the overall standings in what was the 18th leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
Victory set the seal on a memorable year for Miya, who won the South Island Under-19 title in April and the Canterbury Match Play Championship in October. He currently boasts a handicap index of plus 1.6.
Now, Miya will have the chance to lock horns with many of the region’s leading young amateurs when he spearheads the New Zealand contingent 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.
Joining him there will be Oscar Cadenhead (Boys’ Under-21 winner); Woodall (Boys’ Under-18 winner) and Amelia Garvey (Girls’ Division winner).
For Clearwater Golf Club member Cadenhead it will be a third successive Grand Final appearance, having won the inaugural New Zealand Championship title in 2014 and finished runner-up in the Under-21 category last year, beaten in a sudden-death play by Matthew McLean, who could only manage a fourth-place finish this time.
Trailing Andrew Drummond by one shot going to the last, Cadenhead appeared set for another second placing. But Drummond ran up a costly double-bogey on 18, enabling Cadenhead to prevail by the narrowest of margins.
It was a not dissimilar situation in the Girls’ Division where Juliana Hung looked on course to successfully defend her title only to come unstuck with a late double-bogey as she came back in 40 for a second-round 79.
Her total of 159 was three more than New Zealand Golf High Performance squad member Garvey, who covered the back nine in even-par 36 to sign for a 76.
In future years, both Garvey and Hung will be anxiously looking over their shoulders at Lee Jeong-hyun, New Zealand’s latest golfing prodigy. Although she was an unofficial entrant in this year’s tournament, the nine-year-old underlined her exceptional talent as she finished just one shot behind Garvey.
Maryanne Marlow, Chair of the Canterbury Golf Development Trust, presented the age-group winners with their prizes.
“Once again our gratitude is extended to the Canterbury Golf Development Trust for their support and vision,” said Andrew Bell, General Manager at Clearwater Golf Club, host to the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open and recently named Best Course in New Zealand for the second consecutive year at the World Golf Awards.
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.