Sydney, Australia: In-form Jordan Garner will be the player to beat in the third edition of the Faldo Series Australia Championship.
Stung by a play-off defeat last year that denied him a place in the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, the 18-year-old is determined to book himself a passage to the 2018 gathering at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam.
With last year’s Faldo Series Australia Championship winner Daniel Gale having now joined the ranks of the professionals, Garner is tasked with spearheading the challenge from Sydney’s Castle Hill Country Club, host venue for the third year in succession.
“Jordan is our new number one now,” said David Northey, Head Professional at Castle Hill. “We are extremely hopeful of him qualifying … and going on to win the Grand Final in 2018.”
Northey’s confidence is well-founded with Garner having risen to 370th in The R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking on the back of a series of impressive performances.
Buoyed by top-10 finishes in the IMG Academy Junior World Championship and Northern Amateur in America, Garner has recently struck a rich vein of form in tournaments on home soil.
Last month there was no stopping him in the Federal Amateur Open Championship when he posted a four-round total of 15-under-par 273 to claim a notable success.
Since then he’s also been runner-up in the Bonville Champions Trophy and was pipped for victory at the fourth hole of a sudden-death play-off in the Tasmanian Amateur Open at Royal Hobart Golf Club.
Now his sights are set on the 14th leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season where he will be driven on by the vivid memories he retains from his appearance in the 10th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills China in 2016.
Garner said: “The Faldo Series Asia Grand Final was such an awesome experience! Meeting Sir Nick Faldo was a jaw-dropping experience in itself. The whole atmosphere of the tournament and the organisation of the Faldo Series Asia was outstanding. It really felt like I was a professional for that week.”
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Australia has been a welcome addition to the Faldo Series Asia. The enthusiasm of their contingents at the Grand Final these past two years has been infectious.
“Daniel (Gale) came close to winning the overall title at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final this year and I’m sure it won’t be long before we have the first Australian winner.”
Since its inception in 1950, Castle Hill Country Club has been a frequent tournament venue. As well as holding the 2013 New South Wales (NSW) Open, the club has staged two Australian PGA Championships, three NSW PGA Championships, four Canon Challenges and the 2013 Men’s and Women’s NSW Medal.
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.