Singapore: Consolidation will be the watchword during the 12th season of the Faldo Series Asia.
Spanning 10 months, the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia campaign will visit 17 countries and comprise a minimum of 21 events, all part of The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Winners of age-group categories at each of the national championships will earn themselves places in the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Vietnam, in March, 2018.
Testament to the popularity of the Series is the fact that over the past three years, championships in Australia, Bangladesh, Korea and New Zealand have been added to the schedule. Meanwhile, last year saw two qualifiers being staged in Thailand for the first time.
Reflecting on the growth of the Series, six-time Major champion Faldo said: “I’m delighted and proud at the progress and expansion that has been made in recent years.
“We had a vision to increase the number of participating countries. We’ve achieved that and now we want to make each of the qualifying events a little bit better. That’s our goal this year.
“If possible we will try to bring in some partners to help educate the golfers in all aspects of the game – the physical side, the technical side, the mental side and the dietary side as well. I want to try and make the Series a little bit better every year.”
Faldo is also anxious to see the progress that is being made by Thailand’s Napat ‘Toy’ Paramacharoenroj and Indonesian Jonathan Wijono, the top two finishers in the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
“I was hugely impressed with the fearless way in which they approached the game,” said Faldo. “Clearly they are among the most talented of the young Asian players. It’s exciting to see them at this early stage of their careers and I think we might just have seen the start of a friendly rivalry that could endure for several decades.
“Young Asian golfers are enthusiastic, engaged and more committed than ever. The sport continues to grow in opportunity and popularity.
“We expect to see many more Faldo Series players rise to success and recognition on the professional Tours and, even more, to continue a lifelong journey with the sport of golf.
“Banyan Tree and Laguna Lang Co, through their support of the Faldo Series and other golf initiatives, are partnering with us to provide opportunity through golf and to develop tomorrow’s champions.”
Napat, aged 15, became only the second Thai winner of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, following in the footsteps Nakarin Ratanakul, who triumphed at Mission Hills China in the inaugural event in 2007.
The 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are being staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.