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Nguyen Duc Son shines to ensure Faldo Series Asia crown remains in Vietnam

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VIETNAM’S Nguyen Duc Son held his nerve in a dramatic second extra-hole shootout to win the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in style in Central Vietnam this week.

A final round of 69 saw Son take top honours as one of the world’s most celebrated junior circuits returned to Laguna Golf Lang Co, the home hub of the Faldo Series Asia since 2017.

Son (17) became the second successive Faldo Series Asia Champion from Vietnam, following in the footsteps of last year’s winner Nguyen Anh Minh.

In a thrilling finale, Son closed out Masato Sumiuchi from Japan, his nearest challenger, in a playoff clincher on the par-5 final hole on the Sir Nick Faldo Signature Design.

After finishing in a deadlock after 54 holes and tying the first extra hole, the players returned to the 18th tee for another tilt at the title. Both players had birdie opportunities after some fine play down the length of the twisting, challenging hole. Sumiuchi narrowly missed his putt, but Son made no mistake with his effort, holing out to notch his first triumph in an international event.

Further back, Vietnamese youngster Doan Uy was tied with Wang Ngai Shen from Hong Kong in third place. Other Vietnamese in the top ten were Le Chuc An (5th) and Le Nguyen Minh Anh (9th).

The strong showing from young Vietnamese was further proof of the progress being made to grow the game in the nation. Son’s triumph in Lang Co follows hot on the heels of Nguyen Anh Minh snaring victory in the Taiwan-China Championship earlier in April.

Son was a model of consistency throughout the 54-hole stroke-play tournament which featured around 50 talented youngsters from 12 different nations around Asia as well as Australia. One of the shots of the week came from Alexis Nailga from the Philippines who notched a hole-in-one on the short 5th hole.

But Son was the undoubted star of the show. And his incredible performance was hailed by UK legend Sir Nick Faldo, the Faldo Series founder and course designer of the championship venue Laguna Golf Lang Co.

“What an incredible week. You’ll need to give me a moment to catch my breath after that,” said Faldo, who had been present throughout the week to mentor junior players and oversee the trophy ceremony at the esteemed Angsana Lang Co resort.

Indeed, Faldo offered some tips on technique to Son at a special golf clinic following round one of the tournament. These pointers helped him to improve his form during his final two rounds.

“Son finished brilliantly,” added Faldo. “To maintain such consistency is truly impressive. And then to hold his nerve like that on the extra hole was just brilliant to see. It was a truly energising week and we are delighted to keep providing new opportunities to people in emerging golf destinations to expand our great game.”

Inaugurated by Faldo after his victory at the 1996 US Masters, the Faldo Series is recognized as the only global amateur series for boys and girls. Competitors from ages 12 to 21 can test themselves against the very best juniors around the world.

The Series has been a proven success as a pathway for players to reach the game’s top levels, with over 70 Faldo Series competitors now playing on professional tours. Notable alumni include Major winners Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett and Yani Tseng.

The global junior series expanded into Asia in 2006 recognising the vast potential of the Asian junior golf circuit. Since then, Laguna Lang Co has played a central role in the initiative as the host venue for the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final: a reflection of its status as a Sir Nick Faldo Signature course, an elite category among Faldo designs.

The event once again showcased Central Vietnam’s pedigree as a stage for major golf occasions, an aspect that is being promoted by Vietnam Golf Coast, a destination marketing effort linking the region’s signature clubs.

“Our ongoing role as the host venue for the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final underscores our commitment to nurturing junior golf in Vietnam and across Asia,” expressed Stephen Banks, Director of Golf at Laguna Lang Co. “Thus, witnessing a Vietnamese champion and notable performances by other Vietnamese juniors securing four of the top 10 positions is truly gratifying. The outlook for golf in Vietnam is bright.”



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