Bengaluru, India: Viraj Madappa has made a record-breaking breakthrough – the fourth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final graduate to stamp their mark on the professional game in 2018.
At the age of 20 years and nine months, Madappa created history at the weekend by winning the TAKE Solutions Masters to become the youngest Indian to savour success on the Asian Tour.
Furthermore, Madappa, who came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, is also the first rookie and youngest player to win on Tour this season.
For his victory at the Karnataka Golf Association Golf Course, Madappa earned a cheque for US$63,000 and a one-year exemption on the Asian Tour.
During his amateur days, Madappa had the distinction of winning the Faldo Series India Championship on two occasions. In the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in 2015 at China’s Mission Hills Golf Club, he was runner-up in the Boys’ Under-18 Division.
At the time, Madappa was 79th in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking and already being tipped for a bright future in the game.
“Congratulations to Viraj on his Asian Tour win,” said Sir Nick Faldo, founder of the Faldo Series. “He was clearly an exceptional talent when he played in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final. It’s good to see the progress he’s made in the past three years and I hope this will be the platform for him to go on to further success on the international stage.”
Madappa is the fourth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final graduate to have won on a major professional circuit this year.
In April, Australian Daniel Gale posted his maiden pro win in the SP Papua New Guinea Open at Royal Port Moresby Golf Club, part of the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia.
Last year, Gale won the Boys’ Under-21 Division at the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final and was runner-up to Brazilian Herik Machado in the 2017 Faldo Series Europe Grand Final.
Next into the winner’s enclosure was Japan’s Nasa Hataoka who recorded her breakthrough LPGA Tour triumph at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in June.
A week later, Hataoka defied her top-level inexperience by producing another brilliant performance in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Although Hataoka, winner of the Girls’ Under-16 title in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in 2016, was edged out in a play-off in the third Major of the year, her stunning effort confirmed her status as one of the brightest prospects in the women’s game.
In July it was the turn of Thailand’s Thidapa Suwannapura to gain global headlines.
Winner of the overall girls’ title at the 2010 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, Thidapa scored her maiden LPGA Tour triumph at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I.
Faldo said: “To have had four Faldo Series Asia Grand Final participants winning on major professional Tours this year is a wonderful feat of which I am very proud.
“It’s testament also to the ever-improving standard of play we are seeing in our events in Asia and across the world. I look forward to toasting many more successes in the months and years ahead.”
The 2018-19 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.
Doha, Qatar: The month of April is synonymous in golf for the Masters, and each year Education City Golf Club runs its own version of the tournament over the course which hosts the European Tour’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.