Johor, Malaysia: Back on home soil, Zubair Firdaus will be angling to make his mark in the 12th edition of the Faldo Series Malaysia Championship.
Just a matter of weeks after watching Gavin Green create history by becoming the first Malaysian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit, 15-year-old Firdaus will not be short of inspiration when he tees-off in the 13th leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season.
The trajectory of Firdaus’ golfing career changed course in 2016 when he won the rain-hit AmBank SportExcel International Junior Championship, earning a one-year scholarship to study and train at the prestigious Hills International College in Brisbane, Australia.
Among a long list of famous golfers to have trodden that path are Major champions Jason Day and Tseng Ya-ni, a past Faldo Series champion.
Clear indication of Firdaus’ improvement and self-belief comes from the fact that he’s won five times this year, two victories in Brisbane to go with impressive successes in the Al Ain Junior Open in the United Arab Emirates (January), the Ciputra World Junior Golf Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia (June) and the China Junior Classic in Hainan (October).
If he can transfer that form to the Allamanda Course at the Palm Resort Golf & Country Club in the southernmost Malaysian State of Johor, then there’s every chance that Firdaus will book himself a place in the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2018.
Among those in the 77-strong field most likely to pose a threat to Firdaus are national junior team representatives Rhaasrikanesh Kanavathi and Liyana Durisic.
Winner of the Kedah Amateur Open and Malaysian Amateur Closed this year, 16-year-old scratch-handicapper Kanavathi is already being touted as a contender for a spot in his country’s team for next year’s Asian Games in Indonesia.
Durisic, meanwhile, will also be full of confidence in the wake of her triumph in the ninth Albatross International Junior Championship in Delhi last month.
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “It’s good to see the progress of young golfers from Malaysia and I’m especially pleased that Gavin Green and Nur Durriyah Damian are doing so well.
“Gavin had a top-10 finish in the 2010 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills while Durriyah played in six Faldo Series Asia Grand Finals. It’s satisfying to watch them now making their mark in the professional game.
“It should also act as an inspiration to all those lining up at Palm Resort for this year’s Faldo Series Malaysia Championship.”
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. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
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