Irish Close champion John-Ross Galbraith is just one stroke off the lead after the opening round of the Faldo Series Grand Final at The Greenbrier in West Virginia
The Irish international from Whitehead had two birdies and two bogeys in a level par 70 at the Old White TPC Course and sits alone in fifth place behind a quartet of leaders on 69 — US Girls Junior champion Princess Mary Superal (Philippines), Kelly Whaley (USA), Simon Zach (Czech Republic) and last year’s Boys’ Under-18 champion Zachary Bouchou (USA).
Bouchou has recently committed his future to Oklahoma State University, whose notable alumni include Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan.
Galbraith will be trying to follow in the footsteps of Rory McIlroy for the second time this year after emulating his Irish Close title success in June. McIlroy won multiple Faldo Series titles and was a part of Team Faldo from 2004-2006.
Royal County Down Ladies' Olivia Mehaffey, the Irish Girls strokeplay champion, posted a four over 74 to share 15th with Dun Laoghaire's Ted Collins a shot further back in joint 25th after a 75, leaving him third in the Boys Under 18 section.
Lurgan's Peter Cummins shot 79 to lie 54th on the leaderboard in the 83-strong field.
Last year’s Boys’ Overall winner Paul Kenner from England opened with a one-over 71 to lie in a share of sixth, two shots off the lead.
This is the 18th edition of the Faldo Series Grand Final which concludes on October 24.
With the field divided into five age-groups, three boys and two girls will each receive a trophy and an exemption into the Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills Golf Club in China next March.
The leading boy and girl will also be invited to play in a professional Tour event and the title of Faldo Series Champion will go to the player with the lowest gross score, regardless of age or gender.
Off the course players have spent time with a number of industry experts including Faldo; Ted Bishop – the 38th President of The PGA of America; Fanny Sunesson – one of the most successful caddies in golf history; Faldo’s personal coach Keith Wood and experts from TrackMan and ProGolf Health.
Supported by The R&A, The Greenbrier, ISPS Handa, European Tour, PGA Tour, PGA of America, West Virginia Golf Association, TaylorMade, Golf Channel, CBS, Audemars Piguet and Southern Golf the 2014 Faldo Series Europe schedule features 17 tournaments in 15 countries including three in England plus others in Abu Dhabi, Ireland, Chile, Wales, Brazil, Scotland, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the USA.
Established in 1996, 40 Faldo Series tournaments now take place in 30 countries worldwide with more than 7,000 golfers participating each year. Past winners include Major champions McIlroy and Yani Tseng.
Leading scores after round one
- Boys’ Under-21: 69 – Zachary Bauchou (USA); 70 – John-Ross Galbraith (NIR); 71 – Paul Kinnear (ENG).
- Boys’ Under-18: 69 – Simon Zach (CZE); 74 – Jamie Dick (ENG); 75 – Ted Collins (IRL), Zheng Kai Bai (CHN).
- Boys’ Under-16: 72 – Rohan Boettcher (BRA); 73 – Kuba Urbanski (PL); 75 – Colin Bowles (USA), Charlie Strickland (ENG).
- Girls’ Under-21: 69 – Princess Mary Superal (PHI), Kelly Whaley (USA); 71 – Jillian Hollis (USA).
- Girls’ Under-16: 71 – Pauline Del Rosario (PHI); 74 – Shannon McWilliam (SCO), Emma Spitz (AUT).