Taipei, Chinese Taipei (September 27): The Olympian feats of CT Pan will serve as an inspiration to participants in this week’s 15th Faldo Series Chinese-Taipei Championship.
It was less than two months ago that Pan captivated his nation when winning a nail-biting seven-man sudden-death play-off to clinch the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Pan forced his way into contention with a stunning closing 63 at Kasumigaseki Country Club and then proceeded to get the better of his six rivals, including 2021 Major champions Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and American Collin Morikawa, as well as Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, a former Faldo Series winner.
Not only did that medal-winning performance elevate the status of Pan among his compatriots, but it also helped to further raise golf’s profile in a country that has been a dominant force in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in recent years – underlined in 2019 when players from Chinese-Taipei won three of the five age-group categories.
Prior to teeing-off in the first round in Japan, Pan said: “To win a medal would mean the world for my people back home. The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world. Getting a medal will be a big deal.”
Those words proved to be prophetic with Pan now being widely credited with spark-ing a renewed interest in golf across Chinese-Taipei, especially among juniors to whom he has become a role model.
Sir Nick Faldo, six-time Major champion and Founder of the Faldo Series, said: “It’s difficult to imagine a more highly-pressurised and nerve-racking situation than finding yourself in seven-man play-off for the bronze medal at the Olympic Games. That CT prevailed under such circumstances is testament to his skill and courage.
“I’m sure his achievement will act as an inspiration not only to those who are taking part in the Faldo Series Chinese-Taipei Championship, but also to youngsters all over Asia.”
To be contested at the Hsin Yi Golf Club, this week’s 54-hole event offers partici-pants the opportunity to boost their standing in The R&A World Amateur Golf Rank-ing.
Furthermore, all age-group winners will qualify for the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, which is planned to be staged at Vietnam’s Laguna Lăng Cô in 2022.
Among the favourites at Hsin Yi Golf Club are National Taiwan Sport University stu-dents Lin Chen-chu and Lee Jui-shen, both with multiple domestic victories to their name, and Lo Yung-cheng, last year’s National Junior High Championship winner.
Meanwhile, Huang Pin-fei and Chen Yu-chu are among the females aiming to emulate Chang Hsin-chiao, winner of the overall title in the 13th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in 2019. Chang is now making her way in the professional game.
The 2020-21 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation.
As well as a series of qualifiers in Thailand, events are planned in Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam over the next few months, subject to prevailing conditions and circumstances.National finals in Hong Kong and Pakistan have already taken place this year.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.