Ito of Japan leads Faldo Series final after day one

Masamichi Ito of Japan charged to the top of the leaderboard on day one of the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final with an opening four-under-par 68 on the Faldo Course at Mission Hills Golf Club in China.

16-year-old Ito, who in 2010 became the first player to win The R&A supported Faldo Series titles in Asia and Europe, fired seven birdies in his round of 68 and leads by two from compatriot Kohei Kinoshita. Four players lie one shot further back on one under par including local player Guan Tian Lang from Guangzhou in China.

Three players share the lead for the girls’ title on three over par. Nur Durriyah Damian and Aretha Pan, both from Malaysia, and Japan’s Mai Arai carded rounds of 75.

80 golfers from 17 countries have joined Sir Nick Faldo at Mission Hills in Shenzhen for the sixth Asia Grand Final. The tournament’s largest-ever field is competing over three rounds for the title of Faldo Series Asia Champion, awarded to the player with the lowest gross score, regardless of age or gender.

With competitors aged 13 to 21 divided into five age-categories – three for boys and two for girls – the category winners will each receive a trophy and an exemption into the 16th Europe Grand Final at Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland in September 2012. The leading boy and girl overall at the World Amateur Golf Ranking event will also be invited to play in a professional Tour event.

The winner of the inaugural Mission Hills Trophy, awarded to the highest-placed golfer from mainland China, will also receive an invitation to play in the 2012 Europe Grand Final if he or she is not already exempt.

Established in 1996 by the six-time Major Champion, 37 Faldo Series tournaments now take place in 27 countries worldwide with more than 7,000 golfers taking part each year.  Past winners include current world number ones Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng.

Leading round one scores: Boys’ Under-21: 71 – Cahyo Adhitomo (INA); 73 – Gavin Samuels (ENG); 74 – Mikumu Horikawa (JPN).  Boys’ Under-18: 71 – Joshua Ho (SIN), Elki Kow (INA); 73 – Sittipong Wiangchanok (THA), Gavin Moynihan (IRE).  Boys’ Under-16: 68 – Masamichi Ito (JPN); 70 – Kohei Kinoshita (JPN); 71 – Guan Tian Lang (CHN).  Girls’ Under-21: 75 – Aretha Pan (MAL), Mai Arai (JPN); 81 – Wang Chi (TPE), Chen Cui Xia (CHN), Vanaskrit Sillaparungson (THA).  Girls’ Under-16: 75 – Nur Durriyah Damian (MAL); 77 – Cheng Ssu Chia (TPE), Kitty Tam (HKG), Yu Okamura (JPN), Wad Phaewchimplee (THA).

For tee times, live scores and results during the sixth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, visit www.nickfaldo.com

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