Tokyo, Japan (November 9):
Having passed one of the most severe examinations of his fledgling golfing career with flying colours, 17-year-old Shino will now go on to spearhead Japan’s bid for a third Faldo Series Asia Grand Final triumph in four attempts next March.
Thanks to an accomplished bogey-free four-under-par 68 over the Shizu Hills Country Club course, Shino soared to the top of the leaderboard after a thrilling fi-nal-round at an event that attracted a record field of more than 200.
With a 54-hole aggregate of seven-under 209, Shino ended one shot ahead of Hiruta in the overall standings and three clear of third-placed Hayuno Tateura.
A further stroke back in fourth was Kenta Endo, who led the overall standings by two going into the final round before faltering with a closing 74 that included a tri-ple-bogey six at the short 12th.
In contrast, Shino, runner-up in May’s Japan Junior Spring Championship, hardly played a false stroke during an exemplary exhibition that saw him reel off 14 pars and four birdies.
Hiruta chased her compatriot all the way, moving to four-under for the day and with-in one shot of the pace-setter following her fifth birdie of the day at the long 14th. But like Shino, she was only able to par her way home.
Nonetheless, as the winner of the Girls’ Under-21 category, Hiruta will join Shino and host Sir Nick Faldo at the World Amateur Golf Ranking Grand Final at Mission Hills in Shenzhen next March.
Also flying the flag for Japan in the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final will be Yuki Kamasu (Boys’ Under-21 winner); Akinori Ueno (Boys’ Under-16) and Yumi Kudo (Girls’ Under-16).
Six-time Major championship winner Sir Nick, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Once again we have seen an impressively high standard of golf during the Faldo Series Japan Championship with outstanding scores and a thrilling final round in which at least half-a-dozen players were in contention.
“I’m sure that Yuki Shino and Minami Hiruta will figure prominently at Mission Hills where Japanese players will be aiming for a third Faldo Series Asia Grand Final success in the past four years.”
Supported by The R&A, ISPS and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2014-15 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and is made up of a minimum of 20 championships.
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 Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at July’s Open Championship and August’s US PGA Championship.
Faldo Series Japan Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 214 – Yuki Kamasu (73-74-67). 215 – Yuta Kawakami (71-75-69). 216 – Kenta Hiraishi (73-73-70). Boys’ Under-18: 209 – Yuki Shino (67-74-68). 213 – Kenta Endo (67-72-74). 214 – Shota Seki (75-72-67). Boys’ Under-16: 215 – Akinori Ueno (74-74-67). 216 – Takumi Hayashi (72-74-70). 219 – Takumi Murakami (72-73-74). Girls’ Under-21: 210 – Minami Hiruta (71-71-68). 212 – Hayuno Tateura (68-72-72). 218 – Aya Ishikawa (70-75-73). Girls’ Under-16: 214 – Yumi Kudo (72-72-70). 216 – Nasa Hataoka (71-69-76). 218 – Ririko Sakuma (72-75-71); Amu Hiratsuka (74-76-68); Hinata Ueno (72-74-72).
For more information on the Faldo Series, please visit: http://nickfaldo.com/about-faldo-series. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries
For further details on The R&A, please visit: http://www.randa.org/
For further details on ISPS, please visit: http://www.ispsgolf.com/