XXVII Niitvälja Karikas’ final: Play-offs ensured the win for a Niitvälja pro
The final day of the tournament, played under the hot sun, culminated in play-offs in both women’s count and men’s professional count. The day witnessed a total of four eagles, and seven players reached the par for the course or below.
Men’s amateur count had an exciting final day. Ilari Saulo (Keimola Golf) stayed on top throughout the three-day tournament, but there was a tight competition for the second place. The players of the Estonian national golf team Mattias Varjun (Niitvälja Golf Club), Joonas Juan Turba (EGCC) and Timo Raukas (Niitvälja Golf Club) played an excellent final round, all going up a couple of places. Mattias Varjun was second before the last hole, but was forced to give in to the birdie of Tyko Tuohimaa (Pickala Golf). Ilari Saulo won the count with a total of 214 strokes (-2), Tyko Tuohimaa was second with 218 strokes (+2) and Mattias Varjun third with 219 strokes (+3).
Women’s count was just as exciting. Annika Koitmaa (Niitvälja Golf Club) started on the first place, but had to give in after the front nine, as she was passed by Mariliis Palm (EGCC), reaching the par for the course, and Anete Liis Adul (EGCC), making an eagle in the ninth hole. After the final round, Adul and Palm shared the first place with 237 strokes (+21), so they played an extra hole to determine the winner. The play-off was won by Anete Liis Adul, thus Mariliis Palm finished second. Annika Koitmaa, on the third place, ended with a total of 240 strokes (+24).
The comfortable winner of the men’s senior count was Marko Palm (Niitvälja Golf Club) with 243 stokes (+27). Raivo Velsberg (Niitvälja Golf Club) started on the second place, but was dropped down to third due to Juhani Fält’s (Tammer-Golf) eagle. Fält finished with 252 strokes (+36), Velsberg right behind him with 253 strokes (+37).
The thriller of the day was seen on the men’s professional count, as the 4,000-euro main prize was hunted by Mark Suursalu (Niitvälja Golf Club) and Egert Põldma (Rae Golf Club). Finding out the winner took five extra holes. The winner was Mark Suursalu, Egert Põldma ended second and collected a 1,000-euro prize. Both players‘ total score was 220 strokes (+4). Sander Aadusaar (Niitvälja Golf Club) came third with 221 strokes (+5), Eetu Isometsä (Vihti Golf Club) fourth with 233 strokes (+17).
Niitvälja Karikas, the oldest golf tournament in the Baltic states, was played from Friday to Sunday on Niitvälja Golf Course. It took place for the 27th time and hosted a total of 126 players from seven different countries. The prize pool was worth € 5,000. The three-day tournament was played by both professionals and amateurs in four different counts. The competition was supported by Hestia Hotel Group, Orkla Eesti, Saku Õlletehas and Estravel AS.
Photos by Mats Soomre, soomre.com.