Hong Kong (July 24): Yannick Artigolle and Leon D’Souza will renew their rivalry at this week’s Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship.
In what promises to be an intriguing battle of wits, D’Souza is seeking to regain the title he won in 2015, while his national squad team-mate Artigolle is bidding to retain the crown he claimed last year.
Once more, the 54-hole R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event that is the fifth leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season is being staged over the North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Course.
Once more also, the Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship is being played in conjunction with the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Junior Open presented by now TV and includes categories for players aged between six and eight and also nine and 10.
If he’s to get the better of Hong Kong number one D’Souza for the second year in succession, Artigolle knows he’ll need to reproduce the consistency he showed last year when rounds of 71, 70 and 71 secured him top spot.
For his part, D’Souza is keen to add a second Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship title to his curriculum vitae and guarantee himself another shot at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
Having topped the standings in the Boys’ Under-18 category at the 10th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills China in 2016, D’Souza still has ambitions to become the first Hong Kong golfer to capture the overall title.
At Kau Sai Chau, more than 50 players aged between 13 and 21 will be chasing a minimum of four qualifying spots on offer to the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Vietnam, in March, 2018.
Among the boys expected to challenge D’Souza and Artigolle are Leonard Ho Kar-chun and Taiga Iwasa, both part of the Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA) national squad.
Female favourites include Vivian Leung, Colette Szeto Wai-sum, Tiffany Wu Nga-wun and Stephanie Wong Lok-yin, all members of the HKGA’s Elite Junior Squad.
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Hong Kong continues to be an integral part of the Faldo Series Asia. My thanks go to Kau Sai Chau and the Hong Kong Golf Association for their efforts to promote the junior game.
“It’s been wonderful to see the progress made by former Faldo Series Hong Kong participant Tiffany Chan over the past 18 months. Her success should inspire all those who are taking part in this week’s tournament.”
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.