Hong Kong (July 23): Maurice Leung Ga-hay will be aiming to complete a notable double when he tees-off in this week’s Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship.
Three months after emerging triumphant in the Hong Kong Junior Close Championship, Leung, a member of the Hong Kong Golf Association’s Elite Junior Squad, is among the favourites in the fifth leg of the 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season.
To be contested over the North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Course, the 54-hole event forms part of The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).
As well as seeking to rise up the WAGR standings this week, Leung is setting his sights on qualifying for the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Vietnam, in March, 2020.
One of Hong Kong’s brightest young golfing prospects, Leung is motivated by the fact that he narrowly missed out on a Grand Final appearance last year having finished runner-up in the Boys’ Under-16 category.
Since then, his game has shown steady improvement, culminating in his Hong Kong Junior Close Championship success at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club in late April.
There, Leung had to be at his best to withstand the challenges of fellow Elite Junior Squad members Lincoln Lau Ching-sum and Kim Joon-hoo, both of whom will be bidding to upstage him on the island of Kau Sai Chau, which was formerly used by the British army for shelling practice before being turned into a public golf facility that now boasts three 18-hole courses.
Also in the starting line-up over the Gary Player-designed North Course at Kau Sai Chau is Colette Szeto Wai-sum, the favourite among the girls.
Six-time Major championship winner Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “My thanks to Kau Sai Chau and the Hong Kong Golf Association for their continued backing of the Faldo Series and junior golf in general.
“Exposure to tournament golf is an important part of the learning curve for young players. That’s why I’m so glad to see that many members of Hong Kong’s national junior squad are competing in the Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship.
“I’ve been a regular visitor to Hong Kong since the late 1980s and have especially fond memories of winning the Johnnie Walker Classic at Hong Kong Golf Club in 1990. It was also in Hong Kong that the seeds were sown for the Faldo Series Asia. As such, our events in Hong Kong will always hold a special place in my heart.”
The 2019-20 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 a series of qualifiers in Thailand, the FSA schedule includes three events in China and championships in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam over the next 12 months.
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, while recent LPGA Tour winners include Thidapa Suwannapura (2010 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Girls’ champion) and Nasa Hataoka (2016 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Girls’ champion) who claimed her third LPGA Tour title in March.