Lai Crowned Hong Kong Close Am­a­teur Cham­pion

For­mer First Team All-Ivy League golfer Jonathan Lai claimed the 2018 HK Close Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship ti­tle, writes Louie Chan.

HK Golfer - - Local Focus -

Jonathan Lai closed with a bril­liant fi­nal round 67 to win the Hong Kong Close Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship at Fan­ling over the Lu­nar New Year hol­i­day. Grad­u­ated from Yale Univer­sity last May, Lai claimed his first am­a­teur ti­tle in Hong Kong and se­cured a spot in the pres­ti­gious MercedesTro­phy Hong Kong 2018 event at Fan­ling in May.

“I had ac­tu­ally taken a long break from golf; I didn’t play from April to De­cem­ber in 2017. So, I am very pleased with the way I played. It took a while for me to get com­fort­able on the course fi­nally. In the first round, I was very un­com­fort­able and think­ing a lot on plenty of shots. But to­wards the end of the tour­na­ment, I was able to stop think­ing too much and just played golf.

“The weather on the se­cond day was ac­tu­ally the tough­est, as it was very windy for most of the day. I luck­ily have some ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing in windy con­di­tions dur­ing my col­le­giate golf ca­reer in the states, specif­i­cally in the north­east. A lot of the pin po­si­tions in the third and fi­nal round were tough, re­sult­ing in a lot of missed putts. I think as guys were get­ting used to the pins, scores started get­ting lower, which you could see in the lower scores in the fi­nal round,” said Lai, the son of Lai Law Kau, for­mer Hong Kong Na­tional Soc­cer Team player.

Hong Kong Ju­nior Close Cham­pion Taichi Kho fin­ished se­cond with a to­tal of 279, just two strokes be­hind Lai. Kho and Lai were tied for the lead go­ing into the last round. Hong Kong Open Am­a­teur Cham­pion Matthew Che­ung fin­ished on 282 for third over­all. Five-time Se­niors Close Am­a­teur Cham­pion Dou­glas Wil­liams won the Mid-Am­a­teur ti­tle for play­ers aged 25 and above with a to­tal of 290. Stu­art McKin­non fin­ished three shots back on 293 at se­cond.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Hong Kong Close Am­a­teur and Mid-Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onships re­sult, please go to:

www.hkga.com/eng/events/20180216.aspx?p=l

Lead­ing fi­nal scores: 277 – Jonathan Lai (71, 68, 71, 67); 279 – Taichi Kho (68, 71, 71, 69), 282 – Matthew Che­ung (72, 71, 71, 68); 285 – Isaac Lam (68, 71, 75, 71), Wu Sho Wai (67, 71, 75, 72); 287 – Ter­rence Ng (74, 69, 73, 71); 290 – Dou­glas Wil­liams (71, 77, 74, 68); 293 – Stu­art McKin­non (69, 78, 72, 74).

Jonathan Lai (left) re­ceives the 2018 HK Close Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship tro­phy from Danny Lai, CEO of the HKGA

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