Sydney, Australia: For the second year in a row, Jordan Garner was pipped at the post in the Faldo Series Australia Championship. This time, though, there was considerable consolation for the talented 18-year-old.
In 2016, Garner, a +4 handicapper, was beaten in a play-off for the Boys’ Under-18 title at Castle Hill Country Club. With only the age group winners qualifying for the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, Garner suffered the anguish of missing out.
Returning to the same Sydney venue as a heavy favourite in 2017, this time Garner topped the standings in the Boys’ Under-21 category in the 14th leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season, a one-under-par 71 giving him a one-shot margin of success from Tom Gill.
However, in the weather-hit event that was reduced to 18 holes, Garner had to settle for second spot overall, edged out on a countback by Camran Walton, the Boys’ Under-18 winner.
Although it was Walton who claimed top prize, as winners of their respective age group segments both have earned themselves starting spots 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.
Also representing Australia in the Grand Final will be Marco Nocera (Boys’ Under-16 winner), Lucy Harris (Girls’ Under-21 winner) and Yerin Kim (Girls’ Under-16 winner).
As had been the case last year, organisers planned for a one-day tournament consisting of two 18-hole rounds. However, inclement weather meant that it was only deemed possible for the morning 18 to take place.
A tournament spokesperson said: “The Tournament Committee made the decision to reduce the competition to 18 holes. This was disappointing to the club and the players but we had no choice given Sydney experienced extreme heat of 43 degrees and severe storms were forecast for the afternoon.
“We received complete support from all parents and players who were affected by the extreme conditions in the morning round.”
Winner of the Federal Amateur Open Championship in November and runner-up in the Bonville Champions Trophy and Tasmanian Amateur Open at Royal Hobart Golf Club within the past month, Garner was quickly into his stride at Castle Hill, a birdie at the par-five first followed by eight straight pars to turn in one-under 35.
That was one ahead of scratch-handicapper Walton who made birdies at 11 and 13 to draw level with Garner. Although Garner regained the lead with his fourth birdie of the day at the long 15th, his narrow advantage was wiped out with a dropped shot on 16.
Both made bogeys at the par-three 17th and settled for pars at the home hole. Back in one-under 35 to Garner’s even-par 36, Walton was declared the winner on a countback over the final nine holes.
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.
Singapore: The spotlight will return to conditioning of golf course putting surfaces when the Asian Golf Industry Federation’s Sustainability Series of webinars continues next week.