Taipei, Chinese Taipei (April 8): Chang Hsin-chiao and Chen Ting-yu may be conspicuous by their absence, but high-quality golf is sure to be on show at this week’s Faldo Series Chinese Taipei Championship.
While the duo who contested a sudden-death play-off in last month’s 13th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Vietnam’s Laguna Lăng Cô are otherwise engaged, the current strength in depth of junior golf in China Taipei will be illustrated at the Tsai Hsin Elite Golf Club, where spectacular terrain is complemented by panoramic views of the Taiwan Straits.
The opening leg of the 2019-2020 Faldo Series Asia season, the 54-hole R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event has attracted a 50-strong field.
Six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo said: “I was hugely impressed with the performance of the Chinese Taipei contingent at the Grand Final. Three of our five age-group winners came from there. That’s a formidable effort for which credit is due to the Golf Association of the Republic of China for their efforts in promoting junior golf.
“Girls from Chinese Taipei have fared exceptionally well in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final over the past decade with Tsai Pei-ying, Hsieh Yu-ling (twice), Lin Tzu-chi, Liu Yi-chen, Cheng Ssu-chia, Hung Jo-hua and Chang Hsin-chiao all having their names inscribed on the Overall Girls’ trophy.
“I remember, also, that in 2005 in Hong Kong a rising star by the name of Tseng Ya-ni wrote her name into the record books as the first Faldo Series International trophy winner.
“Clearly there is no shortage of talent in the ranks of the junior game there at the moment. Given the success that Chinese Taipei players enjoyed in Vietnam at the end of March, it’s fitting that our 14th Faldo Series Asia campaign should tee-off in Taipei. The tournament promises to set a high bar for the year ahead.”
At Vietnam’s Laguna Lăng Cô, Chen (Boys’ Under-18), Chang (Girls’ Under-16) and Chen Ling-jie (Girls’ Under-21) all topped the standings in their respective categories. For good measure, Chang had the distinction of winning the overall title, beating left-handed Chen, winner of the 22nd Faldo Series Europe Grand Final late last year, at the second hole of a play-off.
Among the favourites this week will be Yeh Chia-ju, who is defending her crown in the Girls’ Under-16 segment at the Tsai Hsin Elite Golf Club, located about 30 minutes from Taoyuan International Airport and approximately 45 minutes from the Taipei Metropolitan area.
Having finished sixth in the same category at Laguna Lăng Cô last month, Yeh is anxious to top the standings once more in order to earn a return trip to the award-winning Vietnamese venue for the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Faldo in March, 2020.
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 two events in China and Thailand, championships are in the planning for Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam over the next 12 months.
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 this month.