Hong Kong, July 31: National squad members Yannick Artigolle and Chloe Chan claimed a share of top honours after a tense final round in the Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship.
The duo ended the 54-hole R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking contest with identical aggregates of 217 over the North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Course.
Unable to return to the course for a play-off due to time constraints, officials declared 17-year-old Artigolle and 13-year-old Chan joint winners in the fifth leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season.
If there had been a countback over the final 18 holes, victory would have gone to 13-year-old Chan, one of the rising stars of junior golf in Hong Kong. While she closed with a two-under 71, Artigolle signed off with a three-over 75. The course played as a par-72 for boys and a par-73 for the girls.
Nonetheless, as winners of their respective age group sections both had booked their places in the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Vietnam, in March, 2018.
There they will be joined by Shen Wang-ngai (Boys’ Under-15 winner) and Vivian Leung Estee (Girls’ Under-21 winner).
Once more the Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship was played in conjunction with the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Junior Open presented by now TV and included categories for players aged between six and eight and also nine and 10.
In a repeat of last year’s dramatic finale, Artigolle and fellow national squad member Leon D’Souza slugged it out toe-to-toe in the Boys’ Under-21 segment.
In the overall standings, defending champion Artigolle entered the final round two strokes ahead of D’Souza and four in front of Chan, who was setting the pace in the Girls’ Under-15 category.
Having played the front nine in 34, victory seemed assured for Artigolle, having extended his advantage to six over Chan and seven over D’Souza.
But with the finish line in sight, Artigolle began to feel the strain with back-to-back double-bogeys at the par-five 12th and par-four 13th that brought D’Souza and Chan back into the frame.
With two holes remaining, Artigolle led by one from Chan and was three ahead of D’Souza. While the leader could only manage a par at the 551-yard 17th, his rivals both made birdies.
With the tension cranked up, the trio all parred the 18th, meaning Artigolle edged D’Souza by two and was joined atop the leaderboard by Chan.
Hu Jing, last year’s Girls’ Under-15 winner, ended a distant second to Chan among the females but had the distinction of posting the best round of the tournament, a closing four-under-par 69.
Six-time Major championship winner Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Congratulations to Yannick and Chloe on producing such an exciting finale. It’s rare that we have joint winners. For that reason, I’m sure they’ll both remember this tournament for a long time.
“My thanks to Kau Sai Chau and the Hong Kong Golf Association for the backing they give to junior golf.”
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 Hong Kong Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 217 – Yannick Artigolle (72-70-75). 219 – Leon D’Souza (71-73-75). 223 – Taiga Iwasa (73-77-74). 225 – Byron Tan Kit-kan (72-80-73). Boys’ Under 15: 229 – Shen Wang-ngai (74-81-74). 238 – Arnold Lee (75-81-82). 256 – Toby Chan (87-89-80). Girls’ Under-21: 231 – Vivian Leung Estee (83-72-76). Girls’ Under-15: 217 – Chloe Chan (76-70-71). 230 – Hu Jing (80-81-69). 236 – Tiffany Wu Nga-wun (74-82-80).