Lahore, Pakistan (September 15): A new name will be inscribed on the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship trophy this week.
Since the tournament’s inauguration in 2011, only two players have achieved victory. Mubariz Ahmad won on each of the first three occasions before Nadeem Aslam stamped his mark with triumphs in 2014 and 2015.
But with their junior days now behind them, neither Mubariz nor Nadeem is eligible to compete in the sixth edition of the 54-hole R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event at the Defence Raya Golf & Country Club.
That means the path is clear for a new batch of Pakistani juniors to stake their claim for glory in what will be the 11th leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
Among the country’s most exciting young prospects is Saqib Tufail, a 15-year-old who has been trained and groomed at Lahore’s Garrison Golf Club.
Saqid sprang to prominence last year when he excelled at the Pakistan Golf Federation trials and then went on to win the Under-16 category on a countback in the 2015 Faldo Series Pakistan Championship.
Expected to challenge Saqib for the overall title at the Defence Raya Golf & Country Club is Ahmed Baig, last year’s Under-18 champion, and Siam Shazli.
The leading players from the Pakistan qualifier will earn themselves invitations to the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017.
Six-time Major championship winner Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “After the domination of Mubariz and Nadeem in the first five years of the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship, I’ll be following closely the results this week to see which fresh faces will emerge and will go on to fly the flag for their country in our Grand Final.”
It’s the fourth time that the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship has been played at the Defence Raya Golf & Country Club, which was opened in 2009 and provides one of the toughest golfing challenges in Pakistan with significant elevation changes and water coming into play on 10 holes.
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand, championships will be staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, 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 winners include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.