Barnet, United Kingdom (5 July): Nya Fraser-Lawrence defeated James Crabb in a playoff at the Faldo Series England South I Championship at Old Fold Manor. After the two could not be split over three days, Fraser-Lawrence hit a wonderful shot to three feet converting the birdie to take the overall victory on the first additional hole.
Old Fold Manor has hosted Faldo Series events for the past seven years and the venue continues to attract the brightest local talent. The event attracted considerable interest from abroad and there were various nationalities represented at the former Open Regional Qualifying venue. With firm and fast conditions throughout the week, course strategy became the key focus for the players taking on the Harry Colt design.
Fraser-Lawrence held a two shot overnight lead after rounds of 74 and 70 and he looked calm and focused on the front nine on the final day. He navigated his way around the course controlling his low trajectory to good effect, keeping the ball in play the priority. With a slight wobble coming in, he did enough to fire 74 and reach the playoff with Crabb to then go on to take a notable win – and crucially claim place in the 22nd Faldo Series Grand Final.
‘My game has been really consistent over the last three days which I am very happy about leading in to the summer. Shooting 70 in round two gave me a nice cushion to work with and I felt very comfortable leading all day. I am pleased with my focus as I concentrated on my own game even though I knew James was getting close to me. I am very happy to clinch the overall victory in the playoff too. I have heard great things about the Grand Final with Sir Nick in the UAE so I am really happy to make it there.’
James Crabb has the considerable consolation of winning his Under-21 category by two shots. His rounds of 76, 72 and 70 were impressive on a course that demanded quality ball striking. Conditions were a touch calmer than the previous few days presenting a few more opportunities on the last day for a low score. That was taken full advantage of by Fergus Robinson in the Under-21 division who shot a sumptuous 65 – just a single shot off the course record.
With Fraser-Lawrence and Crabb taking the qualifying spots for the Under-18 and Under-21 divisions there was just one spot left – the Under-16s. Welwyn Garden City member Reis Suart will have heard a fair bit about Sir Nick Faldo’s exploits and Suart seems to have some of the Faldo steel himself. Suart held a two shot overnight lead in his division and immediately built up and even greater cushion. His rounds of 74, 73 and 73 were enough for a five-shot win and a spot in his first Grand Final.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year. Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.
Leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 218 – James Crabb 76-72-70; 220 – Ryan Tattan 71-75-74; 221 – Fergus Robinson 80-76-65. Boys’ Under 18: 218 – Nya Fraser-Lawrence 74-70-74; 224 – Sam Atkins 73-74-77; 229 – Abhishek Pankhania 81-74-74, Arthur Tapner 74-74-81. Boys’ Under-16: 220 – Reis Suart 74-73-73; 225 – Rory Mcdonald O’Brien 77-57-73; 226 – Sebastian Collins 76-74-76, Shergo Al Kurdi 74-76-76.
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