Tokyo, Japan (December 8): Motoki Hosoya’s reputation as one of Japan’s most promising young golfers has been enhanced with a sudden-death play-off success in the 2019 Faldo Series Japan Championship.
It was a gutsy performance from 15-year-old Hosoya who had to dig deep to repel the challenge of Toranosuke Nakagawa in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event that was the eighth leg of the 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season.
For all three rounds at Shizu Hills Country Club the duo were virtually inseparable at the top of the leaderboard.
Hosoya took a one-stroke lead in to the final round and appeared within sight of the winning line when he extended his lead to two with just two holes remaining.
But a Hosoya bogey at 17 raised the spirits of his opponent who then produced a splendid birdie on 18 to sign for a four-under-par 68, the equal best round of the week.
With a 54-hole tally of two-under 214, Nakagawa finished level with Hosoya, whose closing 69 included six birdies.
Both players made birdie at the first extra hole before Hosoya prevailed with a par on the second play-off hole to book his passage to the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo in March, 2020.
For Hosoya it will present an opportunity to continue a good run of form this year, highlighted by an appearance in the Aaron Baddeley International Junior Championship at La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, United States as part of a five-strong Japanese team that placed fourth, and a seventh place finish in the Boys’ 12-14 Division in the 25th Japan Junior Golf Championship at Kasumigaseki Country Club in August.
Also making the trip to Vietnam next year as part of the Japanese contingent will be Seichu Hiramoto (Boys’ Under-21 winner), Nomura Kouki (Boys’ Under-18), Miyu Abe (Girls’ Under-21) and Kirina Hayashi (Girls’ Under-16).
Although Abe’s attempt to retain her overall title at the Faldo Series Japan Championship fell short, she came from behind to top the standings in the Girls’ Under-21 category, overhauling Chikako Suzuki, Yume Suzuki and Arina Hiraki, winner of the Girls’ Under-16 title at the 12th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.
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 two 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.
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.
Faldo Series Japan Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 216 – Seichu Hiramoto (73-68-75). 223 – Seiya Nagakura (77-73-73). 225 – Shusei Den (71-78-76). 228 – Kazuki Ishige (74-76-78). 232 – Kaito Uchiyama (72-80-80); Masaru Kamono (77-78-77). Boys’ Under-18: 225 – Nomura Kouki (78-75-72). 228 – Riki Yamamoto (75-76-77). 229 – Kento Hishida (72-77-80). 240 – Syunta Yoshida (72-86-82). 243 – Ryohei Yanagawa (85-79-79). Boys’ Under-16: 214 – Motoki Hosoya (71-74-69); Toranosuke Nakagawa (73-73-68). 216 – Taishi Moto (72-74-70). 223 – Utena Igai (71-73-79). 230 – Shosuke Ko (72-83-75); Kotetsu Matsuzawa (79-77-74). Girls’ Under-21: 219 – Miyu Abe (74-75-70). 222 – Chikako Suzuki (75-75-72); Yume Suzuki (76-73-73). 223 – Arina Hiraki (71-77-75). 228 – Rei Shindo (73-80-75); Kanae Nagata (72-75-81). Girls’ Under-16: 223 – Kirina Hayashi (77-76-70). 225 – Takano Aihi (75-73-77). 227 – Sayana Aihara (77-71-79); Miyu Sato (77-74-76). 235 – Hibiki Iriya (75-78-82); Kotone Takahashi (76-80-79); Jyuri Miyabe (72-85-78).