Most records ever at Niitvälja Karikas
This year’s Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar will definitely be remembered for a long time, as the tournament has never seen so many new records before. The course record of the Niitvälja Golf Park course was broken twice – with 66 strokes by Kevin Christopher Jegers on the second day and with 64 strokes by Mattias Varjun on the third day. Besides the course record, Jegers made a new Niitvälja Karikas record (-11) on the final day. Additionally, the prize money of Niitvälja Karikas was at a record level – 10,500 euros this year. Congratulations to the winners and our heartfelt thanks to all participants!
This year, 119 players participated in the Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar competition, of which 79 players made it to the last day of the competition in four competition classes. The women’s senior class was represented again after a long time as well. In addition to the best in women’s, men’s, women’s senior and men’s senior classes, the special awards were given to the best male amateur player and the best male 35+ amateur player. There were cash prizes for the three best professional players (pros) as well as the best amateur players.
Although this time there were no play-offs to determine the winners, the last courses of the last day brought many unexpected results to the competition and there was a lot of excitement right until the last moment.
In the men’s class, there were plenty of birdies – Kevin Christopher Jegers (Niitvälja Golf), who set a course record on the second day of the competition and started the final day in the first place, got a good result on the third day as well (67 strokes / -2) and won first place and scored the Niitvälja Karikas competition record (the final result was 205 strokes / -11). However, Jegers teammate and Niitvälja Karikas champion Mattias Varjun (Niitvälja Golf) offered him a strong competition, he started the final day in fifth place, but played the best golf of his life in the last round – 10 birdies and a new Niitvälja Golf Park Course record of 64 strokes (-8)! Varjun’s total result of the three days was 207 strokes (-9) – a strong second place.
In the men’s class, the third place and the title of best professional player went to pro Andrew Scott Richardson (UK) this time, who played a very strong and stable game, staying in the top three in all three days. Richardson’s final score was 211 strokes (-5), which won him prize money of 2,600 euros in total. In the men’s class, prize money was awarded to the top ten, plus additional prize money to the three best professionals. Pro Blaire Hunter McKeithen (USA) took the second place among professionals with a score of 215 strokes / -1 (fifth place in the men’s class) and the third place among professionals was won by pro Mark Suursalu with a score of par or 216 strokes (sixth place in the men’s class). The prize money was awarded 1,500 and 950 euros respectively.
In the women’s class, the final day did not bring any major changes. Hannah Õunap (Valgeranna Golf Club), who started the final day as the leader, played 75 strokes (+3) on the third day and thus secured first place (final result 223 strokes / +7). There was a tighter contest for second place – Elizaveta Sofia Reemet (Estonian Golf & Country Club), who started the final day in second place, made a couple of mistakes (double bogeys) in the first half of the course, which took her to third place in the meantime. However, Reemet played with confidence at the second part of the course, making three birdies and thereby securing second place overall (229 strokes / +13). The third place in the women’s class went to Karola Soe (Estonian Tour Players Club), with a final score of 233 strokes (+17).
Last year’s runner-up Jan Larsson (Estonian Golf & Country Club) won the competition in the men’s senior class. Larsson started the last day in fourth place and due to an excellent last round (73 strokes / +1) managed to become the winner of the senior class with a score of 231 strokes / +15. Erkki Suomalainen (St. Laurence Golf), who held the leading position before the last day of competition, took second place with a result of 232 strokes (+16). David Pursley (Ozo Golf Club) took third place in the men’s senior class with a score of 233 strokes (+17).
In the women’s senior class, two Niitvälja Golf Club players, Triinu Tombak and Kristel Ulla, competed for first place. Triinu Tombak, who played the back 9 holes of the last day with an excellent score (+4), won first place with a score of 255 strokes (+39). Second place went to Kristel Ulla with a score of 261 strokes (+45).
Among the amateur players aged 35+ who competed in the men’s class, Kristo Tullus (Rae Golfiklubi) turned out to be the best, playing 72 strokes on the last day. Kristo was the best in the 35+ age class with a result of 233 strokes (+17).
Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar, the oldest golf tournament in the Baltic States, took place from 5 to 7 July 2023 on Niitvälja Park Course – the home of Estonian golf. This year, 119 contestants from 11 countries participated in the competition with a prize fund of €10,500. Both professionals and amateurs took part in the three-day competition in a total of four competition classes. The Niitvälja Karikas is included in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking. The competition was supported by Infortar, Orkla Eesti, Saku Õlletehas and Selver.