Rising Chinese Taipei teenage star Chang Hsin- defied jangling nerves and an accomplished male opponent on a nail-biting final day at the 13th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
Hands shaking, Chang coaxed home a four-foot birdie putt at the second hole of a tension-packed sudden-death play-off to claim the most notable victory of what many are predicting will be a glittering golfing career. In the process she denied her compatriot Chen Ting-yu an historic double.
“I was so nervous,” admitted the 16-year-old who was doused in water and had a large bucket of ice poured over her by members of the Chinese Taipei contingent as she departed the 18th green.
It was the second successive triumph for a female in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, following the success of Japan’s Suzuka Yamaguchi in 2018. Given that it was achieved after an epic head-to-head duel with one of the region’s leading male amateurs made Chang’s triumph all the more remarkable.
Tournament host Sir Nick Faldo, who watched the championship’s climax intently from inside the ropes and presented Chang with the trophy, said: “What an exciting finish and what an outstanding performance from Hsin-chiao. There can’t be many amateur sports where you have a boy and girl facing off like that on equal terms. I think it’s fantastic that golf is able to do that.”
Chang, who is based in Korea where she is undergoing a strict golf training programme, began the day two shots behind pace-setting Chen in third place.
Maintaining a methodical and meticulous pre-shot routine throughout, she was a model of consistency. In tricky conditions, with the wind swirling mischievously and the greens running at 11 on the Stimpmeter, Chang carded three birdies against two bogeys for a closing one-under-par 70.
The only player to break par all three days in the 72-strong field which included representatives from 19 nations and winners from the 22nd Faldo Series Europe Grand Final and the second Faldo Series United States Grand Final, Chang posted a 54-hole total of five-under 208.
That score was matched by left-handed Chen, who was bidding to become the first male from his country to claim overall honours in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final and also write his name into the record books as the first player to hold the Faldo Series Europe and Asia Grand Final titles simultaneously.
Faldo, who staged a number of clinics for participants and local school children during the week, said: “This week we brought together more than 70 talented young golfers from around the world."
"I was impressed with the standard of play and I’m excited about the future as we continue our efforts to grow the game of golf globally through the Faldo Series.”
Emily Brennan of England finished 2nd for U21 girls and 6th overall, a great result for a young English player in the Faldo Series final.
13th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, Leading Final Round Scores
Boys' Under-21: 211 – Keshav Mishra (India) 69-68-74. 217 – Yuta Kamiya (Japan) 70-75-72. 218 – Bryce Pickin (Australia) 78-74-66. 220 – Paul Murphy (Ireland) 75-70-75. Boys' Under-18: 208 – Chen Ting-yu (Chinese Taipei) 65-71-72. 213 – Petr Hruby (Czech Republic) 71-73-69. 214 – Kotaro Murata (Japan) 70-72-72; Mako Shapiyate (Chinese Taipei) 74-68-72. Boys' Under-16: 215 – Genki Otani (Japan) 79-70-66. 218 – Willy Chen (Chinese Taipei) 77-70-71; Weerawish Narkprachar (Thailand) 74-71-73. 219 – Wang Ngai Shen (China) 80-69-70. Girls' Under-21: 211 – Chen Ling-jie (Chinese Taipei) 71-69-71. 212 – Emily Brennan (England) 74-69-69. 215 – Anne Yu (China) 72-73-70; Chou Yi-ting (Chinese Taipei) 71-74-70. Girls' Under-16: 208 – Chang Hsin-chiao (Chinese Taipei) 68-70-70. 210 – Kan Bunabodee (Thailand) 71-69-70. 215 – Yoko Tai (Singapore) 69-71-75.
For full results visit: Nickfaldo.com