The 16-year-old from the Netherlands seized the initiative on the final day with five birdies in the first six holes and showed no sign of nerves as he closed out a four shot victory. “I was playing great yesterday but the heat got to me and I made some poor mental mistakes. Today I made sure I was always hydrated and it certainly helped to keep me focused. My whole game was very solid, hitting 16 greens today” said Kraii who will join Sir Nick Faldo at the 19th Faldo Series Grand Final. “This is my first Faldo Series event and it will be an incredible experience to learn from Sir Nick at the Grand Final.”
Eoin Cunniffe of Ireland claimed the Boys U21 title and with it qualification to his second Grand Final. Jai Bhalla of India won on the second playoff hole with a birdie to take the Boys U16 category ahead of good friend Rayhan Thomas. The final qualifiers for the World Amateur Golf Ranking event were Girls U21 Champion Laila Hrindova (Slovakia) and U16 winner Kim Chiang (Malaysia).
AESGC is committed to Grassroots development and this was in evidence throughout the week. On Thursday 100 local schoolchildren attended an introductory clinic hosted by Sir Nick Faldo’s personal coach Keith Wood. Al Ain professionals also hosted a bi-weekly par 3 tournament for 2-10 years olds.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 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: 148 – Eoin Cunniffe (IRE) 74-74, 155 – Ruairidh Mitchell (Scotland) 77-78. Boys’ Under-18: 136 – Stan Kraii (NED) 70-66, 140 Dario Antonisse (NED) 70-70. Boys’ Under-16: 145 – Jai Bhalla (IND) 69-76, 145 – Rayhan Thomas (IND) 74-71. Girls’ Under-21: 148 – Laila Hrindova (SK) 74-74, 153 Shamiso Hatchard (ENG) 79-74. Girls’ Under-16: 145 – Kim Chiang (MAL) 74-71, 146 – Anastasia Bakal (RUS) 73-73.
For more information on the Faldo Series visit www.nickfaldo.com. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.