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2024 DGPT - Turku Open — Final Recap

Sunday, June 16, 2024 - 08:06


And finally a DGPT Elite event victory for Silva Saarinen!

The Finnish Team MVP Disc Sports player, known internationally for her victory in the PDGA Euro Tour 2023 is in an impressive form improving her performance in every tournament and with an impressive streak of three consecutive victories in the DGPT Europe (Norway Open - Silver, Heinola Open - Silver) and now the Turku Open - Elite.

And it wasn’t easy: on the 5th hole it seemed that everything was decided when she widened the gap to 7 strokes with her pursuers the Team Innova Discs duo Henna Blomroos and Eveliina Salonen. But, as is becoming a habit, it’s never all decided!

Fellow card player Heidi Laine was playing the best game of the four until the 10th hole where it started to rain lightly, at which point something changed in the Team Clash player’s game and she had to score four bogeys in the last holes to finish fourth.

Henna continued to delight the crowd with her powerful drives, either flat, uphill or downhill but the putting was very weak and soon took her out of contention for the win.

So we arrived at the back 9 taking out the umbrellas and remembering the Copenhagen Open: would the same thing happen to Silva as to the Estonian Kaidi Allsalu feeling the breath of Eveliina approaching little by little? By the 13th hole it was down to 3 strokes and Salonen was clearly playing for keeps. Saarinen could play defensively but that can also backfire....

On the tricky 14th, which has only seen two birdies all weekend, Eveliina hits a powerful backhand down the narrow corridor in front of the tee that hits two trees before rolling into a tricky position to the left of the fairway. Silva’s turn, who plays slightly softer but also finds wood in her path and finishes OB! Double bogey and Eveliina offers a demonstration of scramble to park her upshot with 4 meters left for par. And then, the unexpected: a slip-up and an unnecessary bogey, which leaves her two strokes behind instead of one.

Hole 15: Silva just touches basket for Birdie and Eveliina has a C1 to win a shot... that doesn’t touch metal. Second missed opportunity! Who knows if she’ll miss it...

Drama again on 16: the two go off the fairway in the opening wood and Salonen manages to get away with an impressive drive that reaches the basket... and goes OB long. Bogey for both and the chances are slowly running out. On the 17th, birdie for both, leaving all the excitement for the last hole.

Still more excitement? Hole 18. Small island 95 metres from the teepad. Eveliina shoots first... and leaves it on the island to 11 metres! It’s Silva’s turn to calm her nerves. She hits her drive a little flat, picks up some turn... and doesn’t come back! OB and bogey almost certainly. Which did you say the playoff holes were?

Eveliina prepares for a step putt: it’s in her hands to force the play-off. A light breeze on her face... and the disc goes over the basket! Silva makes a layup from the dropzone to raise her arms in her first Disc Golf Pro Tour Elite event victory.

The hard-fought victories are the ones that taste the best! And this one has to taste delicious....


Nikke, Nikke, Nikke!

The crowd cheered the local champion from the stands of the 18th as he lifted the trophy with the bronze deer weighing more than 10 kg that distinguishes the winners of the Turku Open, his second victory in an Elite event on the Disc Golf Pro Tour in just three months!

Again the intermediate cards delivered spectacular rounds as Daniel Davidsson, who achieved the hot round tied with the winner in -12 (1081 rated) or Jesse Nieminen (winner at DGPT Europe Copenhagen Open) with -11 who tied in 8th place with the Estonian Silver Lätt.

The Czech Jakub Semerád, the Estonian Mathias Villota and the young Finnish promise Niilo Hongisto climbed up to the 5th, just one stroke behind the Danish Hjalte Jensen, who has offered us several spells of incredible inspiration and who only needs a little more regularity in the three days to attack the podium of an international event. Once again, the presence of 6 different nationalities in the Top 10 is very positive: disc golf is more global than ever!

And in third place we find the great victim of the day: the Estonian Mauri Willmann who dropped six strokes compared to his card yesterday and saw how a back 9 with too many pars and a tree in the difficult 16 prevented him from keeping pace with the two “hurricanes” that accompanied him to achieve a bittersweet but magnificent third place.

On the verge of putting the icing on the cake of his very long career - 18 years of competition and exactly 200 PDGA tournaments - was the American James Proctor, who did what he had to do, playing at a very high level and delivering a -10 but was just two shots away from glory.

And what about Niklas Anttila? As he commented in the interview: “giving up is not an option” and he convinced himself to fight to the end and shone as in the great occasions: 16 of 18 shots landed on the fairway and all of his ten C1X putts did it in the bottom of the basket. Thus, the Kuopio player forgot about the rest of the world, focused on his game and managed to make 10 birdies in the last 11 holes, like a steamroller that does not stop at anything...

The Team Discmania star is more confident than ever and nothing seems impossible anymore: after opening the “Pandora’s Box” in Texas, he may decide that it is no longer necessary to close it...

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