Ho Chih Minh City, Vietnam, June 27: Hanako Kawasaki signalled a changing of the guard in Vietnamese junior golf with her victory in the 10th anniversary edition of the Faldo Series Vietnam Championship.
With a three-day aggregate of even-par 216 at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, scratch-handicapper Kawasaki topped the standings in the tournament that was staged in conjunction with the second Vietnam Junior Open.
In so doing, the 17-year-old brought to an end Nguyen Thao My’s streak of three successive victories in the Faldo Series Vietnam Championship.
In the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking-counting event that was the third leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia campaign, Kawasaki threw down the gauntlet to My and her other rivals with an opening four-under-par 68.
A second round 71 further strengthened her position atop the leaderboard and although she limped over the finish line with a closing 77 it was good enough to edge out Dang Minh Anh by one stroke for the overall title. Four shots further back in third was Nguyen Hung Dung.
A student at the British International School in Ho Chih Minh City, Kawasaki is a Vietnamese citizen. Her mother is from Vietnam and her father is Japanese.
Kawasaki’s reputation as one of the country’s most promising golfing prospects soared late last year when she posted a record-breaking victory in the Vietnam Ladies Championship.
Now her focus will turn towards the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, scheduled to take place at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang in March, 2018.
There, she will be able to call upon the experience she gained while finishing overall runner-up to My in the 2015 Faldo Series Vietnam Championship.
Also representing Vietnam in next year’s Grand Final will be Dang Minh Anh (Boys’ Division A winner); Dang Quang Anh (Boys’ Division B winner); Nguyen Vu Quoc An (Boys’ Division C winner); Nguyen Hung Dung (Boys’ Division D winner), Truong Chi Quan (Boys’ Division E winner) and Joung Sun-mi (Girls’ Division C winner).
Six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo, who will host the Grand Final, said: “Congratulations to Hanako on her success in what was a milestone tournament, the 10th anniversary of the Faldo Series Vietnam Championship. There was some impressive scoring, which bodes well for the continued development of the game in the country.
“Now that we are staging the Grand Final in Vietnam, we are hopeful that we’ll see Hanako and other Vietnamese qualifiers challenging for the title when we return to Laguna Lăng Cô early next year.”
The 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships are being staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, 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 champions include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.
Faldo Series Vietnam Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Division A: 217 – Dang Minh Anh (75-68-74). 249 – Tran Minh Kien (78-85-86). 253 – Ho Anh Huy (85-82-86). Boys’ Division B: 224 – Dang Quang Anh (74-78-72). 229 – Nguyen Bao Long (83-74-72). 241 – Doan Uy (86-76-79). Boys’ Division C: 229 – Nguyen Vu Quoc An (76-74-79). 231 – Tran Lam (79-75-77). 234 – Joo Han Ul (78-77-79). Boys’ Division D: 221 – Nguyen Hung Dung (78-68-75). 233 – Nguyen Phuong Toan (77-78-78). 244 – Nguyen Vu Duc Anh (74-83-87). Boys’ Division E: 223 – Truong Chi Quan (79-71-73). 240 – Dao Phuc Hung (80-79-81). 250 – Kentaro Kawasaki (86-82-82); Truong Guan (82-85-83). Girls’ Division C: 231 – Joung Sun-mi (76-73-82). 237 – Doan Xuan Khue Minh (79-74-84). Girls’ Division D: 216 – Hanako Kawasaki (68-71-77). 224 – Nguyen Thao My (74-76-74). 243 – Ngo Le Hoang Nam Phuong (84-80-79).