Junior golf has received a major shot in the arm with the announcement that EFG Bank will sponsor the Hong Kong Golf Association's Junior Development Programme to the tune of HK$3 million over three years. The sponsorship agreement, which was signed at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, comes after a year of outstanding results by young Hong Kong players, the highlight of which was arguably the phenomenal performance of 14-year-old Jason Hak Shun-yat (pictured) at November's UBS Hong Kong Open, where he became the youngest player to make the halfway cut at a European Tour event. 'It's an enormous boost for junior golf,' said Iain Valentine, chief executive of the HKGA. 'Hong Kong junior golfers have enjoyed spectacular success over the past couple of years and we will be able to build on that. The sponsorship will help increase Hong Kong's exposure at international tournaments, both in Asia and further afield. It is tremendous news.' Valentine added the sponsorship money would also translate into more local competitions for less experienced juniors. With the professional tours, particularly in the United States, witnessing a dramatic decline in sponsorship in the wake of the economic downturn, EFG's support couldn't have come at a better time - for both the HKGA and themselves. 'This is a great opportunity for us because we believe in investing in the future,' said Albert Chiu, the Swiss private bank's deputy chief executive for the Asia Pacific region. 'We're not like banks with bad investments; comparatively, we haven't suffered as a result of subprime [loans] and we're still expanding our operations here in Hong Kong. '[The sponsorship] is the right thing to do and it's the right time to do it. In a good market we might not have had the chance because of other banks' wish to do so,' Chiu added. 'There are many great junior golfers in Hong Kong now and we hope we can help to continue that with the younger players coming up through the ranks.'