First day of Niitvälja Karikas: Tight competition between Estonia and Finland
XXVII Niitvälja Karikas had a challenging first day: playing conditions were defined by strong wind and quick greens (stimp 10.3). During the first day, a total of 81 birdies and 3 eagles were made. Three competitors reached the par for the course.
After the first day, the professional count’s leading position is shared by Mark Suursalu (Niitvälja Golf Club) and Egert Põldma (Rae Golf Club). Both professionals reached the par for the course. The third place belongs to Sander Aadusaar (Niitvälja Golf Club) with the score of 74 strokes (+2). The best foreign professional is Peter Gustafsson with 76 strokes (+4). Eetu Isometsä, the winner of men’s amateur count last year, holds the sixth place of the professional count with 82 strokes (+10).
Mark Suursalu wrapped up the first day as follows: “The last time I competed was nine months ago, so I must say I’m very happy with today. The windy weather made it hard to get a good result and I also made a couple of mistakes. However, the eagle on the ninth hole and the two birdies helped to smooth out the overall result. I’m excited about the second competition day tomorrow.”
The men’s amateur count is a tight fight between the two neighbours, Estonia and Finland. After the first day, the best places belong to the Finns. The only amateur player reaching the par for the course (72 strokes) was Ilari Saulo (Keimola Golf). Tyko Tuohimaa (Pickala Golf) is second with 74 strokes (+2), third place is held by Rasmus Karlsson (St. Laurence Golf) with 75 strokes. The best Estonian player is Mattias Varjun (Niitvälja Golf) on the fifth place with the result of 76 strokes (+4). Mattias summarised the first day like this: “I knew it was going to be a rough day – strong winds, quick and hard greens. I made numerous small mistakes on the back nine, leading to bogeys. That means the chances of birdies were not realised. However, I’m happy to be competing for good results.”
The best result of the women’s count was made by Karola Soe (Saaremaa Golf Club) with 80 strokes (+8). The second place is shared by Mariliis Palm and Anete Liis Adul (both representing EGCC) with 81 strokes (+9). Annika Koitmaa (Niitvälja Golf Club), the multiple winner of Niitvälja Karikas, is one stroke behind with 82 strokes (+10).
The men’s senior count is led by Marko Palm (Niitvälja Golf Club) with 80 strokes (+8). Benno Maaring (Otepää Golf Club) is second with 82 strokes (+10), followed by Toomas Tamme from the same club with 83 strokes (+11).
Niitvälja Karikas, played from Friday to Sunday on Niitvälja Golf Course, is the oldest golf tournament in the Baltic states. It is now played for the 27th time. It hosts a total of 126 players from seven different countries with the prize pool worth € 5,000. The competition is supported by Hestia Hotel Group, Orkla Eesti, Saku Õlletehas and Estravel AS.