Pattaya, Thailand: Thonsaeng ‘Nua’ Nunya and Sebastian Sawtell served up a dramatic denouement to the Faldo Series Pattaya Championship.
In what proved to be a fitting finale to the final leg of the inaugural Faldo Series Thailand trilogy, Rugby School Thailand’s Thonsaeng and British International School Phuket’s Sawtell staged a thrilling head-to-head duel in the Boys’ Under-16 category that went down to the wire.
Needing to defeat Thongsaeng at Burapha Golf Club to claim the overall Order of Merit title, Sawtell set up a grandstand finale with an inspired late charge that saw him cover holes 13 to 16 in five-under-par.
Ultimately, however, he was undone by a double-bogey six at 18 that meant he signed for a closing 73 and a two-day aggregate of 145 in the 15th event of the 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season. That was two strokes behind Thonsaeng, who returned a rock-solid second-round 71, made up of two birdies, one bogey and 15 pars.
But Sawtell’s disappointment was short-lived when it was confirmed that he’ll join Thonsaeng in the starting line-up at the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Vietnam’s Laguna Lăng Cô from March 4-6.
Also qualifying for the Danang showpiece were Shrewsbury International School Bangkok’s Victoria Tip-Aucha and Norwich International School Bangkok’s Pimpisa ‘Fai’ Rubrong, who topped the standings in the overall Girls Under-21 and Girls’ Under-16 divisions respectively.
Also at Laguna Lăng Cô next month will be the winners from the standalone Faldo Series Thailand Championship, led by Weerawish Narkprachar who claimed top honours at Bangkok’s Watermill Golf Club & Resort in June.
The trio of Faldo Series Thailand Championship qualifiers were run by Golf Development Asia (GDA) and Fore Management Group, both Bangkok-based companies that specialise in organising junior tournaments.
Each of the three events allocated a maximum of 100 spots to international schools in Thailand and 40 for other entries. International schools teams that are part of the existing International Schools’ Golf Tour (ISGT) have also been able to win team Order of Merit points towards the ISGT season.
Regents International School Pattaya (RISP), who hosted the Burapha Golf Club leg, had the distinction of winning the overall team competition.
Fredrik Edmunds, Director at GDA, said: “It was great to see junior golfers from across the different regions of Thailand come together for our final event of the Faldo Series Thailand.
“Burapha Golf Club was a great venue with the championship course challenging the players in all disciplines of the game. Congratulations to all the individual winners. All the players conducted themselves in a good manner and represented their schools with pride.
“We feel this unique format over three events has selected some truly talented golfers with a bright future ahead of them. We wish them the best of luck at the Asia Grand Final, and beyond.
“I’d also like to thank our sponsors and venues – Laguna Phuket and Angsana Hotel, Banyan Golf Club and Holiday Inn Hua Hin, Burapha Golf Club and Resort, and host schools British International School Phuket, Shrewsbury International School Bangkok and Regents International School Pattaya. Without these key relationships we would not be able to support the junior golfers across the International Schools within Thailand.”
The 2019-20 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.