Asia dominates Faldo Series Europe Grand Final
Japan’s Masamichi Ito and Yi-Chen Liu of Chinese Taipei re-wrote the record books when they won the Boys’ and Girls’ titles at the R&A-supported Faldo Series Europe Grand Final, played over the Faldo Course at the Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
Ito carded a closing round of two-over-par 74 for a two-under-par, three-round aggregate of 214 to finish four shots ahead of Liu, and six shots in front of England’s Jack Colgate and Poland’s Adrian Meronk.
Ito becomes the first Asian golfer to win the Faldo Series Europe Boys’ title. The Japanese youngster, who is the youngest golfer to have made the cut at a Japan Golf Tour event, also became the first golfer to claim both the Faldo Series Europe and Faldo Series Asia titles, and he superceded European Tour star Nick Dougherty as the youngest golfer to claim the Faldo Series Europe title at the age of 15 years and 46 days.
“It’s a great feeling to win and add this title to the Faldo Series Asia title I won in March,” he said. “I didn’t know until a few minutes ago that I am the first person to win both titles but that makes me very proud.
“I’m very happy.”
Ito will now go on to contest the Asian Amateur Championship, which is being held at Kasumigaseki Golf and Country Club in Japan on 7 – 10 October.
Liu began the day with a three-shot lead over England’s Abi Laker, which she kept hold of to become the first Asian to win the Faldo Series Europe Girls’ title. A three-under-par, final round of 69 saw her finish five shots ahead of English Curtis Cup player, Holly Clyburn.
“I can’t believe I have won,” said Liu, who, along with Ito, will be invited to play in a Tour event. “I came over here to do my best but it wasn’t until we finished on Tuesday that I began to think I could win.
“It’s a great honour to win a trophy with Sir Nick Faldo’s name on it and I’d like to thank him for all he’s done for us this week.”
Three-time Open Champion Faldo congratulated both Champions for their outstanding victories: “Both Masamichi and Yi-Chen played marvellous golf and fully deserved their victories. Golf is now a truly international game and that message was reinforced with the results today.
“I have had a tremendous week,” he added. “It’s been great fun watching the competitors on the course and also helping them off the course. That’s why I set up the Faldo Series and it’s very gratifying to see how much it has grown since we started it back in 1996.”
The final day of the 2010 Faldo Series Europe Grand Final was completed when the assembled field watched Faldo; former Faldo Series winner and Lough Erne Resort touring professional, Rory McIlroy; and the five age-group winners take part in a one-club challenge over the 17th and 18th holes. McIlroy also joined the six-time Major winner for the subsequent gala dinner and prize presentation.
The Faldo Series Europe Grand Final is a World Amateur Golf Ranking Counting Event. This year, the Faldo Series Europe and its Asian equivalent have received a total of £120,000 from The R&A.