Finnish Championships 2017
18 Jul 2017 at 19:28 | Published by: Ida | Views: 4802 | News search
Winners from Manse (Photo by Greta Wedman)
This year it was time to do some changes and try out a whole new championships system – just one big championships with a little opening ceremony and both stroke play and match play. The competition took place in Koulukatu, Tampere, from Friday the 7th to Sunday the 9th of July. Players got to show their skills on concrete. » Results – stroke play, all the categories and teams
In ladies’ category, a big favorite to win was Greta Wedman from Manse who had had amazing season so far. But instead, it was the other young lady from Manse, Ida Hiltunen, who was the strongest and led the category with five shots after the first day. She extended the lead in the beginning of the second and final stroke play day, but soon got into a tough competition with Sandra Walker from SMGK. The battle escalated when Walker inched closer and closer on the final lanes of the final round. Only two points separated this player duo before last three lanes.
Walker started by scoring two on lane 16. Hiltunen missed her opening shot and the second shot went only halfway through. It seemed that it would be a tie situation before last two lanes. But Hiltunen answered to Walker’s call! Third shot went in without hesitations and the lead was still Hiltunens with one shot. Walker made another two on lane 17 and afresh Hiltunen missed the first shot. Once again, she proved her worth and made the second shot all the way from the beginning. Only one lane to go and the difference was still the same one shot. Hiltunen aced the last lane to become the Finnish Champion for the first time in her career! Very experienced Walker and Mirva Juhola, TaRGS, were the second and the third one.
In men’s category, the start was pretty even in turn. After two played rounds, there were at least six players fighting for the gold medal. Tero Vaahtio, MG-Aces, continued his great and strong performance and took the lead after the third round. Next round was a bit weaker for all the top players. Vaahtio got to start the second day as a leader followed tightly by Aki Sillman, Kungälvs BGK, and Kosti Salonen, Tantogårdens BGK.
On Saturday morning, the players were back on track. Salonen scored 25 – the very best round of the whole weekend – and resettled the leading position. However, Manse’s Oskari Vihervaara played the last two rounds better than many others and filled the air with some excitement. Vaahtio namely took three on last round’s last lane and a rematch between him and Vihervaara was going to happen. Experience may have been the crucial thing once again when Vihervaara aced the first lane, after Vaahtio taking two, and took his place on the podium. Salonen and Sillman focused on their own battle. Before final round the difference was only one shot for Salonen. He managed to play a bit better than Sillman and raised the lead to three points. For the 17th time, Salonen was the king of the podium at Finnish Championships.
Sunday was the match play day. Of course, the newly crowned Hiltunen was favorite for this play as well. Carina Smeds, NMG, who fought her way to the match play thought differently. She won against Hiltunen and went all the way to take the bronze medal! The finals were between the presumed favorites of stroke play: Greta Wedman and Sandra Walker. The match was very tight and like the stroke play, the match play wasn’t resolved until the last lane. Again, it was Manse on top as Greta aced and took the gold leaving Walker her second silver of the weekend. Walker was the only one who took two individual medals in the women’s categories.
A surprise was seen also in men’s first round when Manse’s young talent Aapo Siurola beat experienced Marko Nuotio, SMGK, 5-3. Another great match was between Julius Myllymäki, Manse, and Kosti Salonen. Quickly advanced junior Myllymäki took the lead pretty much right from the start and really challenged Salonen. Pressures grew stronger and unfortunately Myllymäki had to admit his loss.
Second round moved ahead as expected. In the semifinals Oskari Vihervaara showed his greed for gain. He beat Salonen with up to four points. Meanwhile Aki Sillman made his way to the finals after defeating Siurola. The bronze medal match started pretty saucy: after fourth lane Salonen led with four points. Siurola tried to catch up but for nothing. Bronze to Mr. Salonen! In the finals, the shots were top quality and players cheered. Especially Vihervaara had a really nice flow going on and it lasted the whole round. He really took the victory in spite of the lack of lately played competitions! To Sillman the silver medal was weekend’s second.
Thank you to Ida Hiltunen and Aki Sillman for this story.
» Results - match play, women
» Results – match play, men