Defending his title will be India’s Rashid Khan who recently qualified once again as runner-up behind Chikka Rangappa in the India Championship at Poona Golf Club in Pune. 17-year-old Khan from Delhi claimed the Faldo Series Asia trophy in sensational style at Mission Hills in December 2007, shooting a final-day 66 on the Faldo Course that included a back-nine of 31 in front of Faldo himself.
Supported by UBS, Mission Hills and The R&A since its launch in 2006, over 60 of Asia’s brightest prospects will compete over 54 holes on the Faldo Course. The field of boys and girls aged 12 to 21 will include qualifiers from 11 Faldo Series Asia championships in nine different countries across the region during 2008/2009, including three in mainland China plus one in each of Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
Faldo, who will once again host the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event, has also invited winners from the 2008 international Faldo Series Grand Final in Brazil. These include Khan’s compatriot, Rahul Bakshi, who claimed the boys’ under-18 title at the Costa do Sauipe Resort, plus Faldo Series champion Steven Brown of England and others from England, Spain and Brazil.
The six-time Major winner commented, “With players from over 12 different countries covering Asia, Europe and South America, this is an extremely exciting field for our third Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills. I look forward to watching how they handle the pressure of the situation on the Faldo Course and also to spending as much time as possible with the players off the course. I believe this opportunity for them to learn from my experiences as well as gain their own is crucial if we are going to help develop tomorrow’s champions.”
Endorsed by the Asian Tour, the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation and the Guangdong Golf Association, five leading players from the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final will be invited by Faldo to play in the 2009 Faldo Series Grand Final in Brazil. The boy and girl champion will also be invited to play in a flagship professional event by the Asian Tour and Ladies European Tour respectively.
Children from the local community will also be attending Mission Hills to receive free coaching and watch the competitors in action, part of Faldo’s drive to simultaneously create access to the sport at a grass-roots level.
Faldo Series www.nickfaldo.com