Phuket, Thailand: Napat Paramacharoenroj recovered brilliantly from a nightmare start to claim victory in the inaugural Faldo Series Thailand Championship – South 2016.
One of the pre-tournament favourites, Napat, a 15-year-old two-handicapper, ran up a triple-bogey seven on the opening hole followed by a bogey-four at the short second in the first round at Laguna Golf Phuket.
Displaying commendable skill and mental strength, the Laguna Golf Phuket member – nicknamed Khun Toy – then proceeded to play the remaining 52 holes in 12-under-par.
Bouncing back from his early disaster, Napat signed for an even-par 71 in the first round of what was the ninth leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
He followed that with a 68 on day two before closing out the tournament with a stylish 66, the low round of the tournament which attracted entries from all over Thailand, India, Malaysia and Singapore.
With a three-day aggregate of eight-under 205, Napat topped the leaderboard in the Boys’ Under-16 category. He also led the way in the overall standings in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event, earning himself an exemption into the forth-coming Singha Phuket Open at Laguna Golf Phuket, part of the All Thailand Golf Tour.
This year marked the first time that Thailand has hosted two Faldo Series Asia qualifiers with Putt Sridama triumphing in the Faldo Series Thailand Championship – North at Watermill Golf and Gardens in May.
Putt will now be joined by Napat in the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017. Laguna Golf Lăng Cô is the sister club of Laguna Golf Phuket.
Also winning through to the Grand Final via the Phuket qualifier were Thais Phaiboon Phumkliang and Phisitkhwan Pooratanaopa, Indian Varun Parikh and Malaysian Audrey Tan.
Seven shots ahead of Parikh with six holes remaining in the Boys’ Under-21 segment, Phaiboon limped home with four late bogeys and a double-bogey for a round of 74. His 210 total was one shot ahead of Parikh, a top-10 finisher in April’s Northern India Amateur, won by Arjun Prasad, the reigning Faldo Series Asia champion.
Meanwhile, Phisitkhwan was a model of consistency as she scored a runaway victory from Tan in the Girls’ division.
Tan’s brother, Bryan, also finished runner-up in his age group. However, with only one ticket to the Grand Final on offer from the Boys’ Under-16 section, he will miss out on a trip to Vietnam.
Due to the number of entries, the Girls’ Under-16 and Under-21 and the Boys’ Uner-18 and Under-21 were merged into one division each. Two Grand Final invitations were made available for those categories.
Paul Wilson, Laguna Golf Assistant Vice President/Group Golf Director, said: “What a fantastic three days of competitive golf we enjoyed.”
“As part of the Banyan Tree Group, Laguna Golf shares a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. Working with like-minded partners, we are honoured to have Sir Nick as our Laguna Golf Ambassador as we develop aspiring youths, give back to the game and elevate golf to another level.”
“Our team at Laguna Golf is proud to have the association with Sir Nick Faldo and his Faldo Series. To welcome such amazing young talents has been our pleasure and we are already looking forward to next year’s tournament!”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships will be staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ja-pan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winners include Tseng Yani and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.
Faldo Series Thailand Championship – South, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 210 – Phaiboon Phumkliang (69-67-74). 211 – Varun Parikh (69-69-73). 213 – Natchapon Eaksen (70-71-72). 227 – Noppasit Paramacharoenroj (74-78-75). 233 – Anshul Patel (79-77-77). Boys’ Under-16: 205 – Napat Paramacharoenroj (71-68-66). 211 – Bryan Tan (69-75-67). 214 – Kittiphong Phaithuncharoensuk (69-73-72). 234 – Tamm Pawornsit (74-81-79). 244 – Mohnish Shah (80-85-79). Girls’ Under-21: 210 – Phisitkhwan Pooratanaopa (69-69-72). 229 – Audrey Tan (74-77-78). 248 – Chanisara Kruakaew (79-84-85). 268 – Aditi Vakharia (92-87-89).