Magnificent Course Record Completes Thrilling Faldo Series Final
Low scoring defined the Faldo Series Grand Final at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club in the UAE, and the last day saw an incredible display of golf from Brazil's Herik Machado, who shot a course record of 61 to overcome a six-shot deficit overnight to become Grand Final Champion in extraordinary fashion.
Machado shot rounds of 70 and 67 to set up his final day assault. Whilst the second day revealed Machado was bubbling nicely nothing could prepare for the dazzling display on day three. The 21-year-old began with an eagle at the first before adding seven birdies to pip Gale to the post. Australian Daniel Gale will take heart from his rounds of 66, 65 and 68, a credible week’s golf by any standard.
Champion Herik Machado commented: ‘I’ve been playing in the Faldo Series for four years and it’s always been my dream to qualify for a Grand Final and ultimately to win it. To achieve a dream after so much hard work is so satisfying. I am incredibly grateful to the Faldo Series for giving me this opportunity.’
Sir Nick Faldo commented: ‘Herik put on an amazing show today; Daniel Gale was super all week and there was brilliant golf all down the field. It’s great to bring the event to the region and to AESGC, they’ve been perfect hosts of the regional qualifier for five years and they stepped up again this week. The course was in perfect shape and it was a huge success as we broke new ground with the first ever Grand Final in the Middle East.’
Arron Edwards-Hill claimed the Under-18 category with rounds of 68, 70 and 67. The Englishman finished three shots clear of Ireland’s Robert Moran. Edwards-Hill found seven birdies on day three but also ran into trouble with a double-bogey on the 17th. It proved just a blip, however as he regained his poise to win a division packed with first class talent. The division also saw Campbell Gibson of Scotland claim a memory to cherish with a hole-in-one at the 17th – the second of the week after Nathan Longley’s effort on Monday.
Englishman Josh Hill was blemish-free as he shot a well-crafted 66 to win the Boys’ Under-16 division by three shots. As a regular player at AESGC Hill knows the course like the back of his hand and qualified for the Grand Final by winning the qualifier here in March. Thailand’s Napat Paramacharoenroj pushed hard but Hill was nerveless as he closed out and seized a valuable win. Hill’s 71, 71 and 66 left him two under Par for the competition and he will be extremely pleased with his week’s efforts.
Jo-hua Hung of Taiwan eased to victory in the Girls’ Under-21 category as she finished with a 69 to compliment her earlier rounds of 71 and 73. Hung qualified for the tournament by storming her category at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in Vietnam in March. Hung started the day tied for the lead but it didn’t take long to assert her authority on proceedings and she found two birdies to put her in a position of strength that she never relinquished. Nicola Slater of England played well throughout the week but had to settle for runner-up six shots adrift of winner Ho-hua Hung.
In the Girls’ Under-16 division Cameron Neilson from Scotland held off the challenges of Patricie Mackova (Czech Republic) and Russian national Rivekka Dzhumagulova. Neilson fired rounds of 71, 72 and 74 to take the category by two shots ahead of Mackova. Neilson’s final total of 217 was a super effort and only bettered by Jo-hua Hung on the Girls’ side.
Away from the golf course the players have been able to tap into the vast collective knowledge of Sir Nick Faldo; highly respected Coach Keith Wood, renowned sports psychologist Kjell Enhager, and Mark Skinner of the PGA as well as support from the venue AESGC.
Leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 198 – Herik Machado (BRA) 70-67-61; 199 – Daniel Gale (AUS) (66-65-68). Boys’ Under 18: 205 – Arron Edwards-Hill (ENG) 68-70-67; 208 – Robert Moran (IRL) 70-70-68. Boys’ Under 16: 208 – Josh Hill (ENG) 71-71-66. 211 – Napat Paramacharoenroj (THA) 69-73-69. Girls’ Under 21: 213 – Jo-hua Hung (TAI) 71-73-69; 219 – Nicola Slater (ENG) 72-77-70. Girls’ Under 16: 217 – Cameron Neilson (SCO) 71-72-74; 219 – Patricie Mackova (CZE) 69-76-74.
Full results from the 21st Faldo Series Europe Grand Final can be found here. You can follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.
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