Kunming, China: Players and officials at this week’s 11th edition of the Faldo Series Kunming Championship could be forgiven for casting anxious glances at the skies.
With wintry conditions and snow showers forecast for the weekend, the prospect of a reduction in the number of holes that are able to be played looms large for the second time in three years.
In 2016, unwanted Faldo Series Asia history was made when, for the first and only time to date, two full rounds of a tournament were wiped out by snow which blanketed the award-winning Lakeview Golf Club course, sculpted by Faldo Design.
The modern capital city and transportation hub of China’s south-western Yunnan Province, Kunming is known for its temperate year-round climate.
Yet, according to those who predict the advanced weather patterns, a repeat of that chilling cold snap is possible, if not probable in the 17th and penultimate leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the bad weather stays away until the championship finishes on Friday (February 2),” said a spokesperson from the club that is located just 10 kilometres from downtown Kunming.
No matter how many holes the players are able to squeeze in, there’s likely to be high drama at the course that was lovingly carved out of the natural land formation in a region renowned for its beauty and rolling terrain.
Six-time Major championship winner Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “The setting is visually very stunning. The beautiful Xishan Mountain dominates the skyline and, as the club’s name implies, our layout hugs the shores of Dianchi Lake.
“It was an inspirational place and I always thought it would inspire golfers to produce their very best. In terms of the design, we were very sympathetic to the surroundings, with gently rolling fairways and striking bunkers that patrol the fairways and guard the greens. It’s a course that rewards the ‘thinking golfer’ and is both challenging and interesting to players of all abilities.
“I’m delighted with how the course has matured and I’m especially proud that we’re able to stage the Faldo Series Kunming Championship there again this year.”
With Zong Zenghaoqi, last year’s champion, ineligible to compete after leaving the ranks of the juniors, Yang Ruyao will be among the favourites in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
Yang led heading into the final round 12 months ago, but dropped a shot on the par-five 18th that meant he suffered the anguish of missing out by one stroke on joining Zong and Wang Siyu in a sudden-death play-off.
All age group winners at Lakeview Golf Club will qualify for the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in the first week of March.
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.
Tokyo, Japan: The Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan, one of Asia’s eldest and most respected sporting organisations, has joined the Asian Golf Industry Federation.