Karachi, Pakistan (January 21): A steady approach paid handsome dividends for Vivek Anand in the ninth Faldo Series Pakistan Championship.
Displaying a sound technique, a cool temperament and mature course management, Anand proved too good for his rivals at the Defence Authority Golf and Country Club in the 14th event of the 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season.
Adopting a necessarily cautious outlook in tricky, windy conditions, Anand carded rounds of 72, 77, 74 and 75 in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
While all of his pursuers faltered in the breeze, Anand kept blemishes to a minimum, dropping shots on only 12 holes over the course of the four days and recording just two double-bogeys.
His 72-hole total of 298 was four strokes clear of runner-up Damil Attaullah, seven ahead of third-placed Humna Amjed and eight in front of Ralfe’e Aslam Raja, the joint third round leader with Anand.
In contrast to Anand, Raja endured a roller-coaster tournament, an opening even-par 72 followed by an 80 which included a quadruple-bogey nine at the long eighth. On day three he had the distinction of firing a 71, the only sub-par return of the week.
But while Anand concentrated on keeping the big numbers off his card, Raja saw his hopes of taking top honours evaporate at the par-three third hole on the last day where he ran-up an error-strewn nine en route to an inglorious front nine 48.
To his credit, Raja came back in 35, although by then the damage had been done. Remarkably, over the four rounds, Raja was three-under on the back nine and 21-over on the front side.
Thanks to his victory, Anand can now look forward to leading the Pakistani contingent at the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Central Vietnam from March 4-6.
Also representing their country there will be Attaullah (Boys’ Under-18 winner), Omar Khalid (Boys’ Under-16 winner), Aania Farooq Syed (Girls’ Under-21 winner) and Amjed (Girls’ Under-16 winner).
For Attaullah and national champion Humna it was the third time in succession they’ve qualified for the Grand Final having won an age group category in the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship.
A two-time winner of the Boys’ Under-16 title, Attaullah was a comfortable winner among the Under-18s this time, while Amjed needed to produce a strong final round performance to repel the challenge of Daniah Syed.
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 last March.
Faldo Series Pakistan Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 298 – Vivek Anand (72-77-74-75). 306 – Ralfe’e Aslam Raja (72-80-71-83). 308 – M. Arsalan (76-74-81-77). 310 – Numan Ilyas (75-72-82-81). Boys’ Under-18: 302 – Damil Attaullah (75-76-79-72). 310 – Waleed Chachar (78-83-74-75). 315 – Waleed Ali Khan (78-78-77-82). 317 – Ahmed Shan (75-86-72-84). Boys’ Under-16: 311 – Omar Khalid (78-75-80-78). 313 – Syed Yashal Shah (77-80-77-79). 322 – Sameer Abid Sayeed (78-87-83-74). 323 – Danyal Khan (80-82-81-80). Girls’ Under-21: 310 – Aania Farooq Syed (73-81-75-81). 348 – Amna Amjad (91-82-86-89). Girls’ Under-16: 305 – Humna Amjad (78-77-77-73). 311 – Daniah Syed (81-75-76-79). 319 – Abiha Hanim Syed (79-84-78-78).