The name of the winner in the men’s class, Mattias Varjun, will be engraved on the cup of Niitvälja for the first time
The final day of XXX Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar brought many unexpected solutions and remained exciting until the very last moments, as an extra hole had to be played in the sudden death format to determine the winner in the men’s class. A total of 60 players in three competition classes got to play on the final day. In addition to the awards for the best in the women’s, men’s, and senior men’s classes, special awards were also handed out to the best amateur man and the best 35+ amateur man. This year, the best three professional players, as well as the best amateur players (in the men’s, women’s and senior men’s classes) received prize money. The total amount of prize money amounted to 10,000 euros this year. Congratulations to the best of 2022!
In the men’s class, the competition was won by Mattias Varjun from Niitvälja Golf who started the final day in the shared second place. Varjun, who played steadily throughout the three days has been very close to winning Niitvälja Karikas once before, in 2020, when he lost his first position due to a bogey on hole 16. This year, Varjun beat the leader after the first two days, Ilari Saulo, in a sudden death format play-off on hole 1 by scoring a beautiful birdie. Both men completed the three-day tournament with 210 strokes (-6).
Mattias Varjun noted: ‘Playing three days under par is always a great achievement. I am especially happy about having been able to score my best strokes at the most important moments. Today, I primarily focused on my game, as the leader was quite far ahead. As I was able to make many birdies while he made a few mistakes, I got the chance to fight for the win. And this is always my goal when I come to compete. Having narrowly missed out on winning Niitvälja Karikas before, it felt good to come out as the winner this time.’
Ilari Saulo (Keimola Golf) who held the first position in the first two days was not very successful today, with three bogeys sneaking in. We can still congratulate Saulo for winning the title of the best professional player and achieving the second place in the men’s class which earned him 2,700 euros of prize money, in total. The third place in the men’s class was shared by three players this year: Ralf Johan Kivi (Niitvälja Golf), Richard Teder (EGCC), and Sami Santala (Hyvinkään Golf) who all played very well, making 213 strokes (-3) in total over the three days. The best ten players in the men’s class received prize money. Further prize money winners in the men’s class included the second-place winner among pros, Sami Santala (Hyvinkään Golf), and the third best pro Mark Suursalu (Niitvälja Golf), with 1,000 and 500 euros, respectively.
Elizaveta Sofia Reemet (EGCC), who started the final day as the leader in the women’s class, was unfortunately unable to hold on to her lead. Her result on the final day, 81 strokes, dropped her to the third place with 231 strokes (+15), in total. Anete Liis Adul from Estonian Golf & Country Club, whose bogey-free game in the second day even surprised the player herself, was the best on the final day as well. The result of 227 strokes (+11) over the three days earned the title defender Adul yet another win in the women’s class at Niitvälja Karikas by Infortar. The second place in the women’s class was won by Hannah Õunap (Valgeranna Golf Club) this time, with the final result of 229 strokes (+13).
Anete Liis Adul remarked: ‘You cannot give up after failing on the first day. I fulfilled one of my life dreams on the second day – I played a bogey-free round (-3/69 strokes). On the last day, I managed to remain calm.’
The senior men’s class was won by Gunnar Kobin (EGCC) this time, who achieved his best result of the competition on the final day (+3), finishing with the total of 234 strokes (+18). In his acceptance speech, Kobin admitted that he did not actually achieve his goal on the final day, which would have been the par of the course, but the result of the day was fortunately enough to win the class this time. The second and third of the senior men’s class finished with the same number of strokes, 239 (+22), and the titles were handed out as follows, pursuant to the rules of the competition: second place to Jan Larsson (EGCC) and third place to Andrew Darlington (Vuosaari Golf Helsinki). The result of the last hole of the course, hole 36, proved decisive.
There were also special prizes for the best players among 35+ amateur men and amateur men at Niitvälja Karikas this year. The best 35+ amateur player was Kristo Kallavus (Valgeranna Golf Club), whose result after the three days was 235 strokes (+19). The best amateur man was of course the winner of the men’s class, Mattias Varjun, with 210 strokes (-6).
Niitvälja Karikas, the oldest golf tournament in the Baltic States, was played as a 54-hole stroke play on June 29-July 1, 2022 on Niitvälja Golf’s Park Course, the home of Estonian golf. The tournament hosted 101 players from eight countries and gave out a total of 10 000 euros in prizes. The competition offers R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking points, and it was supported by Infortar, Orkla Eesti, Saku Õlletehas and Selver.
Watch and download the tournament photos.
Photos: Mats Soomre, soomre.com