Triumph at Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship at Mission Hills in China a small step on the road to Augusta National for teen from Hong Kong

Courtesy of Asian Golf Monthly

ASHENZHEN, China — There’s still a long road to travel before Steven Lam can start contemplating teeing-up at Augusta National. But the Hong Kong teenager has edged a step closer to earning a coveted spot in the 2010 Masters Tournament.

Lam survived a late wobble to emerge triumphant in the second edition of the Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship, which drew 90 competitors from six Asian countries for the April 28-20 event.

In so doing he has secured an exemption to the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship at Mission Hills in October. The winner of that event will be awarded a place in next April’s Masters Tournament.

Playing over the historic Jack Nicklaus-designed World Cup Course at Mission Hills, Lam fired an accomplished second round of one-under 71, the only blemish coming at the last hole where he ran-up a double-bogey six.

Nevertheless, with a 36-hole aggregate of even-par 144, Lam finished one shot ahead of Hong Kong-based Japanese Shinichi Mizuno with China’s Zhang Huan three shots back in overall third place.

As well as claiming a spot in the Asian Amateur Championship, Lam earned an opportunity to play in September’s The Duke of York Young Champions Trophy in Scotland.

Lam and Korean Li Zhi You, the winner of the girls’ division, have been invited by Nicklaus to the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, OH, (June 1–7) to participate in a number of activities aimed at juniors and growth-of-the-game initiatives. The pair may join other tournament winners in West Palm Beach, Fla., in July to compete in the Nicklaus Junior Championship at Bear Lakes Country Club.

Tenniel Chu, Mission Hills’ executive director, hailed the Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship as an overwhelming success.

Chu said: “Jack is an old friend of Mission Hills. His World Cup Course at Mission Hills may well be one of the most important contributions to golf in China, when it became the country’s first course to be accredited by the PGA and host a major international tournament.

“But as we all know, Jack’s love for golf doesn’t stop with course design. As he has done elsewhere around the world, he was interested in using his image and influence to inspire young generations of golfers in Asia, specifically in the world’s most populous country where golf is in its relative infancy but holds such great growth potential.

“Mission Hills answered Jack’s vision for building a competitive platform for young, gifted golfers by co-developing the Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship. Jack advises us and lends his support to promoting the event.

“He follows the results closely and takes a keen interest in the special talents and winners of his tournament.”

Mission Hills G.C. World Cup Course

Mission Hills Golf Club is the world’s largest golf complex as accredited by the Guinness World Records. Its twelve 18-hole golf courses are designed by the game’s greatest players and…

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