Opening day of the XXX Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar – pro Ilari Saulo in the lead

The oldest golf competition in the Baltic States, Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar 2022, which is celebrating its thirtieth season this year, brought 101 competitors from eight different countries to Niitvälja. A 54-hole stroke play competition is played, as always. The anniversary year has also come with a few changes – this time the competition is held on working days (29.06-01.07.2022) and the prize money (10,000 euros in total) is also awarded to amateur players for the first time. The competition offers R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking points.

We are delighted to welcome all the reigning champions from 2021 to Niitvälja Golf this year – Carl Hellat (men), pro Mark Suursalu (pro), Anete Liis Adul (women), and Jukka Pajunen (senior men). There are ten professional players in total hunting the prize money, including two players from Estonia, one from Lithuania, and the rest from our neighbouring country Finland. In the course of the three-day tournament, the best in the women’s, men’s and senior men’s classes will be determined in the individual competition.

The best result of the first day was 68 strokes or -4 which was achieved by the best player in the men’s class,  pro Ilari Saulo (Keimola Golf). Saulo also won the title in the men’s class in 2019 when he took part in the Niitvälja Karikas as an amateur player. Today, he left pro Sami Santala (Hyvinkään Golf) and the title defending pro Mark Suursalu (Niitvälja Golf) who also achieved remarkable results (-3) behind him by just one stroke. The third spot is held by the defending champion in the men’s class, Carl Hellat (Niitvälja Golf) and the pro Juozapas Budrikis (European Centre Golf Club) from Lithuania with 70 strokes or -2.

Professional players and amateurs compete in the same competition in the men’s class. This year, prize money will be paid to the best three professionals (3,500 euros in total), as well as to the best ten players in the men’s class (incl. professionals, 4,900 euros in total).

In the women’s class, prize money is available for the best two players (700 euros in total). Today, the leader’s position was taken by Hannah Õunap (Valgeranna Golf) with 76 strokes or +4. Elizaveta Sofia Reemet (EGCC, +5) remained just one stroke behind. The third place in the women’s competition is held by Liis Kuuli from Niitvälja Golf with 82 strokes (+10) as of the opening day. Unfortunately, there were not enough players to form a separate class for senior women this year, which is why we would like to praise those brave senior women who still decided to compete.

In the class of senior men, a brilliant result was achieved by the title defender Jukka Pajunen (Golf Pirkkala) today – 73 strokes or +1. Gunnar Kobin (EGCC) remains four strokes behind him with 77 strokes (+5). The third spot is currently held by last year’s runner-up Andrew Darlington (Vuosaari Golf Helsinki) with 78 strokes or +6. The best three players of the class of senior men will receive prize money in the total amount of 900 euros.

Tomorrow will be another exciting day of competition, as 3/5 of the players from all competition classes and those with equal points will get to play on the third day based on the rankings of the first two days. Keep an eye on the live results of the competition and support your favourites! More information about Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar can be found on the website of the competition.

Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar, the oldest golf competition in the Baltic States, is held as a 54-hole stroke play competition in 29.06-01.07.2022 in Niitvälja Golf’s Park Course – the home of Estonian golf. Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar is included in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking and the players of the men’s, women’s and senior men’s classes can earn WAGR points.

The main sponsor of the competition is AS Infotar. Saku quenches the thirst of the competitors, snacks are served by Selver, and sweets by Orkla Eesti.