Taichi Kho Wins Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship
Taichi Kho won the boys’ title in thrilling style with a final round of 69 before eagling the second play-off hole while New Zealand’s Rose Zheng also came through a tight battle to win the girls. The 16-year-old holds the Hong Kong Junior Open and Close titles, continued that form to win with a 54-hole total of 225 on the par-72 Sandbelt Trails Course at the Mission Hills Haikou resort.
Having opened with rounds of 79 and 77, the Hong Kong national team member, who also won the HKGA Winter Junior Championship in December, carded a brilliant three-under-par final round – the lowest of the tournament – to catch Thailand’s Supawitch Songklod and then claim the sudden-death playoff with a 15-foot eagle putt. China’s Ma Bing-Wen finished one shot behind to take third overall and win the Boys’ 11-14 division.
In the girls’ category, Zheng impressed with rounds of 72, 74 and 72 to finish on two over par, only one ahead of overnight leader, Sun Jia-Ze of China on 219. Another Hong Kong player, Iris Wang Xin-Yi won the Girls’ 11-14 division with a score of 241, beating Jenny Chang Chih-Hsuan of Chinese Taipei on count-back.
The overall champions, Kho and Zheng were among a total of 18 players who were rewarded with an invitation to the Nicklaus Junior Championship in the USA this summer. The top three players in each age group have the opportunity to compete in the event, which is held on June 20-21 in Palm Beach County, Florida.