One of the pre-tournament favourites, Napat, a 15-year-old two-handicapper and member of the BISP Golf Academy at British International School, Phuket (BISP), ran up a triple-bogey seven on the opening hole followed by a bogey-four at the short second in the first round at Laguna Golf Phuket.
Displaying commendable skill and mental strength, the Laguna Golf Phuket member then proceeded to play the remaining 52 holes in 12-under-par.
Bouncing back from his early disaster, Toy signed for an even-par 71 in the first round of what was the ninth leg of the record-breaking 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia season.
He followed that with a 68 on day two before closing out the tournament with a stylish 66, the low round of the tournament which attracted entries from all over Thailand, India, Malaysia and Singapore.
With a three-day aggregate of eight-under 205, Toy topped the leaderboard in the Boys’ Under-16 category. He also led the way in the overall standings in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event, earning himself an exemption into the forth-coming Singha Phuket Open at Laguna Golf Phuket, part of the All Thailand Golf Tour.
BISP Golf Academy Head Coach Oliver Bates said, “As part of the BISP Golf Academy, Toy is almost on a professional-level training regime, combining his studies with three hours practice per day during the week, and then playing on the course all weekend.
“At the Faldo Series tournament at Laguna Golf Phuket, Toy showed great mental strength as well as great ability, quickly moving past the triple bogey on the first hole, and a bogey on the next, to birdie the next hole – he never looked back from that point.
BISP student Toy, “After the first two holes, I was not thinking about what had just happened, as there were another 52 holes to birdie – and I did on the third. The next shot is all that matters, and every day I got better,” he asod.
This year marked the first time that Thailand has hosted two Faldo Series Asia qualifiers with Putt Sridama triumphing in the Faldo Series Thailand Championship - North at Watermill Golf and Gardens in May.
Putt will now be joined by Toy in the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2017. Laguna Golf Lăng Cô is the sister club of Laguna Golf Phuket.
Also winning through to the Grand Final via the Phuket qualifier were Thais Phaiboon Phumkliang and Phisitkhwan Pooratanaopa, Indian Varun Parikh and Malaysian Audrey Tan.
Seven shots ahead of Parikh with six holes remaining in the Boys’ Under-21 segment, Phaiboon limped home with four late bogeys and a double-bogey for a round of 74. His 210 total was one shot ahead of Parikh, a top-10 finisher in April’s Northern India Amateur, won by Arjun Prasad, the reigning Faldo Series Asia champion.
Meanwhile, Phisitkhwan was a model of consistency as she scored a runaway victory from Tan in the Girls’ division.
Tan’s brother, Bryan, also finished runner-up in his age group. However, with only one ticket to the Grand Final on offer from the Boys’ Under-16 section, he will miss out on a trip to Vietnam.
Due to the number of entries, the Girls’ Under-16 and Under-21 and the Boys’ Uner-18 and Under-21 were merged into one division each. Two Grand Final invitations were made available for those categories.
Paul Wilson, Laguna Golf Assistant Vice President/Group Golf Director, said: “What a fantastic three days of competitive golf we enjoyed.
“As part of the Banyan Tree Group, Laguna Golf shares a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. Working with like-minded partners, we are honoured to have Sir Nick as our Laguna Golf Ambassador as we develop aspiring youths, give back to the game and elevate golf to another level.
“Our team at Laguna Golf is proud to have the association with Sir Nick Faldo and his Faldo Series. To welcome such amazing young talents has been our pleasure and we are already looking forward to next year’s tournament,” he said.