​​​​​​Zong’s Wintry Wonderland at Faldo Series Kunming Championship 2018-02-06

Prize winners at the Faldo Series Kunming Championship.

Kunming (February 6): Zong Zenghaoqi defied bitterly cold conditions to provide himself with an early Chinese New Year present in the 11th edition of the Faldo Series Kunming Championship.

Although temperatures plunged to minus-two degrees Centigrade and snow fell on the Faldo-Design course at Lakeview Golf Club, a 58-strong field refused to bow to the elements and managed to complete 36 holes.

Yang Bo, Lakeview Golf Club’s General Manager, praised the players for their resoluteness. “Even though the weather was terrible, it’s a credit to all of the players that they battled hard and did their best,” said Yang.

Leading the way was Zong, who was just one shot off the pace following a steady opening round of four-over-par 76.

Reflecting the difficulty of the conditions, it was one of only two sub-80 returns on day one in the 17th and penultimate leg of the 2017-18 Faldo Series Asia season, staged just a fortnight before the Lunar New Year is ushered in.

With no let up in the weather, many players faltered on day two. But Zong continued to hold firm, carding a second successive 76.

The only player to break 80 both days, Zong finished seven strokes clear of overall runner-up Wen Tailong, the first round leader. In joint third, eight strokes further back, were Wang Yuhao and Hu Jiyu, whose second-day 77 was a 13-stroke improvement on her opening-round effort.

Zong can now prepare for a trip to Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam in the first week of March for the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo.

Joining him there will be Cheng Junyuan (Boys’ Under-18 champion), Wen (Boys’ Under-16 champion) and Hu, a comfortable winner in the Girls’ Under-21 section, Maintaining its tradition for promoting junior golf, the host venue included a Mixed Under-12 segment, which produced an exciting finale.

Underlining her potential, 10-year-old He Jiaying was a model of consistency in shooting rounds of 86 and 87 to pip 11-year-old Fan Peiqi by one stroke.

Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Congratulations to the players and all those who made it possible to complete the Faldo Series Kunming Championship in such trying conditions.

“I hope we can reward the age group winners with some heat and sun when they arrive in Danang for next month’s Grand Final!”

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 and Thailand, championships are staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, 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 Kunming Championship, leading final scores:

Boys’ Under-21:

152 – Zong Zenghaoqi (76-76)
170 – Li Hanye (85-85)

Boys’ Under-18:
172 – Cheng Junyuan (84-88)
174 – Mohan Yanis (87-87)
182 – Weng Yihao (87-95)

Boys’ Under-16:
159 – Wen Tailong (75-84)
167 – Wang Yuhao (86-81)
168 – Li Zhengxing (90-78)
171 – Long Junxi (85-86)
173 – Ly Honyi (94-79)

Girls’ Under-21:
167 – Hu Jiyu (90-77)
187 – Liu Xiao (96-91)
188 – Li Jialin (95-93)
188 – Pan Yinang (89-99)

Mixed Under-12:
173 – He Jiaying (86-87)
174 – Fan Peiqi (90-84)
183 – Fan Yunhe (92-91)
183 – Jiao Ziyue (90-93)