Lizotte, Blomroos take down the Titles
By Brian Hoeniger #4022
The biennial European Championships came to a climax in Toplice Sveti Martin today as the continent’s finest disc golfers battled for gold, silver and bronze. While Finland led the medals table with 10, six different nations tasted victory, and all told players from 10 countries were called to the podium. Following the Suomi horde’s domination on their home soil at the 2016 EDGCs in Oulu, it was great to such a geographical spread of talent, including the first ever medals for Estonia, Czech Republic, and the hosts Croatia.
Tournament favourite Simon Lizotte took down his 2nd European title in Open, surviving the mostly forested and tight first eleven holes where his lead dropped from 6 to 4 and his putter was hitting more metal than chains. The momentum swung back in the German’s favour on hole 12 when he nailed a downhill 11 meter putt on hole 12 for the lead card’s only birdie. Simon then proceeded to crush his drive and approach on the 300 meter / 990 foot long par 5 #13. And, when he drained his 3rd eagle on the sloping green, it was ballgame over. Finland’s top dog Seppo Paju birdied out from hole 14 on to claim 2nd, with his compatriot Väinö Mäkelä “Finn-ishing” comfortably in 3rd.
It was a similar story in FPO where 18 year old Henna Blomroos extended her lead to 6 before her teammate and travelling partner Eveliina Salonen whittled the advantage down to 2. However, Blomroos kept her cool down the home stretch, matching Salonen par for par, and then smoking a perfect slight turnover way down #18’s fairway, from where she left her approach 4 meters from the bucket for birdie and the title.
France’s Sylvain Gouge survived a twisted ankle, and a 2 hole playoff to win Masters over Finlander Janne Hirsimäki. Sweden’s Hasse Tegebäck cruised home in Grandmasters by 10 throws, with España’s Carlos Rio taking silver. Fellow Swede Olle Samuelsson and Switzerland’s Natalie Holloköi came from behind to lay claim to the titles in MP60 and FP40 respectively. Finland’s Maria Asikainen ran away with FJ18. And in one of the feel good surprises of the week, young Czech Bohdan Bílek held off Finland’s Oskari Vikström, by averaging sensational 1018 rated golf, to taste gold in MJ18.
As the sun sets, all of us who had the privilege of being here, extend our sincere thanks to the TD Dinko Šimenc and his deep cast of capable volunteers from the emerging disc golf hotbed of Croatia, for organizing and running this terrific event. Hvala vam puno! Lastly kudos go out to Jussi Meresmaa and The Spin TV who livestreamed the final holes and are now busy working on post production videos of today’s MPO and FPO lead cards. Wherever you are in the world, you’ll soon be able to see how it all went down at the 2018 European Championships.
Dobra noć i sigurna putovanja kući. (Good night and safe travels home.)
See great pictures from Rene Westenberg Photography.