Smith retains the British Open title at Strokes in Margate
24 Sep 2013 at 09:23 | Published by: Freebird | Views: 6979 | News search
Smith on his way to his second British Open title (Photo by Marion Homer (Kent Minigolf Club))
The sixteenth BMGA British Minigolf Open was held at Strokes Adventure Golf course in Margate over the weekend of 21 & 22 September. This year saw the popular UK course host the event for the fifth time and saw players from across the UK along with internationals from Germany and Sweden compete in both the individual and team competitions. 32 players, including 3 previous British Open champions, along with the top 6 ranked players in the UK, took to the greens throughout the weekend event, battling for the title.» Results from the competition
The two-day event saw a number of changes to the format from previous years, notably the expansion of the competition to a nine-round tournament and for the first time in the UK, the introduction of the BAMS mobile handset scoring system, enabling players and spectators at the course, as well as the global minigolf audience, to watch the action unfold, lane by lane, round by round in real time - adding to the excitement and drama of the event as it progressed.
As well as winning the Players Championship on the Friday, Michael Smith (Kent Minigolf Club) retained his British Open title with an incredible nine round total of 49 under par, dropping just 2 shots across the entire weekend and finishing 10 shots clear of the field. Adam Kelly (Kent Minigolf Club) took the runner up slot with a nine round total of -39. shooting a new a new course record in round eight of 27 (beating the previous record by 1 shot). Fellow club team mate Andy Exall came third, with Chris Harding (Midlands Minigolf Club) third and James Rutherford (Cambridgeshire Minigolf Club) in fifth place.
Speaking after his record breaking victory Michael said "I am absolutely delighted to have won 2013 British Open. To have won this tournament two years running is a dream come true. I got a little lucky in 2012 when a monsoon meant the final round had to be abandoned, and it is especially satisfying to win by 10 shots, shooting -49, and only dropping 2 shots on what is a difficult course that can punish you for any slight misjudgement. To have also won the Players Championship on Friday and been part of the winning Kent Minigolf Club team that won the British Open Team Tournament completed the most incredible weekend. It was undoubtedly the best minigolf I have played in my four years on the BMGA tour."
Reflecting on the weekend he went on to say "There are a few people who I would like to thank. First, to the Wood family for hosting the tournament. Second, to the organisers for running such a brilliant tournament. Thanks also to everybody who played in the event, especially the overseas players who travelled from Germany, Sweden and Scotland. From a personal point of view, I'd like to thank all my team-mates at the Kent Minigolf Club, my parents, and Chris Harding who have given me so much support since my debut in the Star City Open in January 2010. Finally, the standard of play was phenomenal across the field all weekend but I would like to pay special tribute to Adam Kelly, who played incredibly well and achieved a fantastic score of -39. He's had a magnificent season with five top 2 finishes in six strokeplay ranking events on the BMGA Tour and it's only a matter of time before he wins his first Major Championship"
The British Open team event also ran across the first 8 rounds of the competition, with 9 teams of 3 players taking part with the lowest combined team score winning the trophy. For the second year running, the Kent Minigolf Club secured the team title (won by Kent 1 comprising of Michael Smith, Adam Kelly and Sean Homer) with Sweden taking the silver (Mattias Stahl, Mikael Karlsson and Jan Hedstom) with Kent 2 (Tony Kelly, Will Donnelly and Scott Lancley) picking up the bronze.
The Open also saw a number of other prize winners, recognising the quality of play across all the tour categories. Freddie Blackburn-Shaw won the category 2 title and Terry Exall won the category 3 title. Mattias Stahl won the Category 1 aces champion prize, Chris Jones won the Category 2 aces champion prize and Chris Wood won the Category 3 aces champion prize
Sean Homer, BMGA chairman said “The 2013 British Open was a major step forward for tournament organisation and execution in the UK with the enhanced scoring and reporting system used fo the first time on the BMGA tour. Being able to watch the rounds develop on the big screen in real time as the event progressed added another exciting dimension to what has always been a top class event on the calendar."
Sean added “ I would personallly like to thank Matt, Frankie and Brian Wood for their support and hospitality throughout the event. A note of thanks must go to Lars Isberg for the support he gave from Sweden in helping ensure we were able to set up the technology effectively and to the German Minigolf Federation and Pasi Aho for supplying the hardware. Special thanks go out to the tournament director Marion Homer and the Assitant Director Brenda Smith 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 17 (not aced throughout the competition). Using just a standard course ball, with no practice, players had one shot (£2 for Category 1 players and £1 for everyone else) to try and ace the hole. Half of the money goes towards this years chosen charity - Cancer Research - the nominated charity of Michael Smith & Sean Homer who tied after the 3rd round of the Players Championship on the Friday before the Open, the remainder getting split between any players that ace the hole during the challenge. With the crowds watching, close to 30 people took on the challenge and Sean hit the perfect shot to take the £32 prize fund (rolled over from previous competitions).
» Photo gallery from the event (courtesy of the Kent Minigolf Club)
» Players Championship event info