Faldo Series Europe Grand Final
A superb final round 68 saw England’s Gavin Samuels win the 15th Faldo Series Grand Final yesterday at the Lough Erne Resort , County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
The three-day tournament - past winners of which include US Open Champion Rory McIlroy and Korean five-time major winner Yani Tseng - brought together 77 golfers from 16 countries to compete in a range of age groups and for the overall Faldo Series title.
Backed by R&A funding of £55,000, the event was won by Samuels despite starting the day six shots behind. England’s Brogan Townend won the girls’ title while players from Slovakia and Ireland were also among the winners.
“This is by far my biggest achievement in golf,” said a delighted Samuels. “I won the Faldo Commemoration Jug in Sir Nick’s hometown of Welwyn Garden City this season and now I’ve spent time with him and won his Series title. It’s an amazing connection and an unbelievable feeling. Nick just phoned my dad to tell him the good news.”
Samuels, 20, of Leighton Buzzard, carded eight birdies in his final round to finish on six over for the tournament, five ahead of English duo Cameron Long and Adam Andrews. Townend, of Pleasington, was crowned Faldo Series Girls’ Champion after an impressive final round of 71 saw the 17-year-old win by five strokes.
The pair will be offered a start in a professional tour event and will also be invited to the sixth Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills in China next March.
Winners of 17 Faldo Series Europe events in 11 different countries across Europe and South America, plus three qualifiers from Asia, competed over three rounds on the Faldo Course . Trophies were also awarded to winners of five age-categories, aged 13 to 21, three for boys and two for girls, all of whom will also be exempt for the Asia Grand Final.
A highlight of the event came on Monday when McIlroy joined Sir Nick to host a clinic for competitors and local schoolchildren.
McIlroy is a three-time winner of Faldo’s global golf development event taking the Faldo Series Under-15 and Under-17 titles in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The 22-year-old was also a winner at the 2006 Faldo Series International Trophy in Hong Kong.
Speaking after the event, Sir Nick said: “Gavin is a worthy champion having beaten the weather and our strongest field ever.
“All the players benefitted from the experience this week and the visit from our Major Champion Rory McIlroy. I hope they enjoyed themselves, I certainly did.
“Lough Erne Resort is a special place and I am grateful to them and to The R&A and the European Tour for their support. It is this kind of support which allows us to provide opportunity to the finalists this week and to the 5,000 golfers who take part in the Series worldwide each year.”
Established in 1996, 35 Faldo Series tournaments now take place in 25 countries worldwide. Nick Dougherty and Oliver Fisher are also past winners. This year, the Faldo Series Europe and its Asian equivalent have received a total of £140,000 from The R&A.
Leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 222 – Gavin Samuels (Eng) 76-78-68; 227 – Adam Andrews (Eng) 76-77-74. Boys’ Under-18: 229 – Gavin Moynihan (Ire) 79-75-75; 231 – Jack Colegate (Eng) 82-74-75. Boys’ Under-16: 227 – Cameron Long (Eng) 79-78-70; 233 – Ben Robinson (Eng) 76-82-75. Girls’ Under-21: 230 – Brogan Townend (Eng) 79-80-71; 235 – Meghan MacLaren (Eng) 81-81-73, Stephanie McEvoy (Eng) 84-76-75. Girls’ Under-16: 232 – Natalia Heckova (Svk) 79-78-75; 233 – Amber Ratcliffe (Eng) 80-78-75.