Smith wins his third consecutive British Open with victory in Hastings
23 Sep 2014 at 18:46 | Published by: Freebird | Views: 8522 | News search
Michael Smith at Lane 1 on his way to his 3rd Open Championship (Photo by Sean Homer (KMGC))
The seventeenth BMGA British Minigolf Open was held at the Pirate Course in Hastings over the weekend of 20 & 21 September. This year saw the popular UK course host the event for the first time and saw 50 players, from across the UK along with internationals from Germany, Sweden, Kosovo, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Spain compete in both the individual and team competitions. » British Open results
As well as winning the Players Championship on the Friday Michael Smith (Midlands Minigolf Club) once again retained his British Open title with an incredible nine round total of 79 under par, an average of 28 per round and finishing 5 shots clear of the field. Adam Kelly (Kent Minigolf Club) took the runner up slot for a second year running with a nine round total of -67. Christain Kemler, from Germany (representing KGC Mönchengladbach) finished third, just 4 shots behind Adam in his first tournament in the UK.
Speaking after his victory Michael said "I'm overjoyed to have won the 2014 British Open and to have played so well at the weekend. I feel it was easily my best ever performance in my four and a half years on the BMGA tour. When I started playing minigolf in 2010, I could never have believed I would have won this legendary tournament once, let alone three times in a row. It is an incredible feeling. I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me over the years. I wish I could thank you all individually but I'd still be writing this at Christmas! Hopefully you know who you are and know how much that support means."
Reflecting on the weekend he went on to say "In general, I thought the British Open was the perfect tournament. The standard of play was phenomenal, both from the British players and our European friends. Special thanks to Sean and Marion Homer for all their hard work and faultless organisation and to the wonderful team of staff at Hastings Adventure Golf. Everyone involved in the tournament should be very proud of themselves"
The British Open team event also ran across the first 8 rounds of the competition, with 11 teams players taking part with the lowest combined team score winning the trophy. For the third year running, the Kent Minigolf Club secured the team title (won by Kent 1 comprising of Adam Kelly, Sean Homer, Tony Kelly and Will Donnelly) with the Midlands Minigolf Club taking the silver (Michael Smith, Chris Harding, Richard Gottfried and Chris Smith) with Team Germany (Herbert Bröker, Karsten Hein, Christian Kemler and Rainer Henseler) picking up the bronze.
The Open also saw a number of other prize winners, recognising the quality of play across all the tour categories. Chris Harding won the category 2 title, Paul Preston won the category 3 title and Max Plaice win the Category 4 title. Karsten Hein won the senior title, Christian Kemler the International title, Adam Kelly the Junior title and Sigrid Eilert (Germany) the Womens title.
Sean Homer, BMGA chairman said “It's been a few years since we held our premier event in Hastings so it was great to be able to see such a terrific competition take place on the Pirate Course. We have seen some superb performances at the course when we have hosted the World Adventure Golf Masters (WAGM) in Hastings over the past 3 seasons but the level of play throughout the entire field this weekend was incredible. This all bodes well for the Great Britain team when the WAGM returns in 2015."
Sean added “I would personallly like to thank everyone at the course team for their support and hospitality throughout the event. Special thanks go out to all who helped out over the weekend, notably Brenda Smith, Marion Homer, Mark Wood and Martin Greenhead and of course a big thank you to all of the players for giving us another outstanding minigolf competition across the two days.”
At the end of the 8th round on Sunday the players all took part in a Hole In One Charity challenge at hole 7. Using just a standard course ball, with no practice, players had one shot (£1 for all players) to try and ace the hole. Half of the money goes towards this years chosen charity - Cancer Research UK - the nominated charity of Michael Smith who won the Players Championship on the Friday before the Open, the remainder getting split between any players that aced the hole during the challenge. With the crowds watching, two players managed to ace the hole - Freddie Blackburn-Shaw and Daniel Vlcek (Czech Republic) - splitting the price fund between them (Daniel subsequently donated his winnings back to the charity fund, now standing at £170 with a couple of Charity challenges still to come this year).
The BMGA tour will return to Hastings next month for the final Major of the year, The World Crazy Golf Championship taking place on the Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf course across the weekend of the 25 and 26 October. Entries to this competition are limited on a first come first served basis (payment secures entry) and entries are now open.
» Players Championship results
» Photo gallery from the weekend