Minigolfers Storm to Victory in Croatia
14 Sep 2017 at 14:27 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 2768 | News search
Gunner Bengtsson & Mirko Petracchi celebrating victory (Photo by Marion Homer (WMF))
Nin, Croatia – The World Adventure Golf Masters (WAGM) and World Deaf Championship (WDC) were held on September 11 and 12, 2017 at Zaton Holiday Resort. Both of these events are sponsored by the World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) and feature some of the best international competitors in their respective divisions on both the minigolf open standard (MOS) and miniaturegolf style courses. There was a total of 104 participants from 18 countries in the WAGM and 32 players from 5 countries in the WDC.
The first day of the events was delayed by heavy rains and did not start until 18:30 local time, more than 10 hours after the scheduled starting time. As a result, both tournaments were cut short to fit in the allotted time but that made for an even more exciting finish as the scores were very close across many of the divisions. The rain also made for some interesting course conditions with damp turf, which was a marked contrast to the practice conditions the teams saw earlier in the week.
Tournament Director Pasi Aho had this to say about the competitions, “We have seen two days of fantastic minigolf in partly extreme conditions. The players showed great sportsmanship throughout the competition. I would like to especially congratulate the players at the first ever minigolf world deaf championships for their performance. At the WAGM we saw some very tough and high class competitions with medal winners from several countries. After the storms of Monday we had a great championships and I'm already looking forward to the next editions in 2018.”
In the WAGM, Gunnar Bengtsson of Sweden took the title in the men’s division and was the overall winner of the event, shooting an average of 30 (total 150) over the five rounds that were played on the MOS course. He barely edged out Marko Nuotio of Finland for the overall title as Nuotio shot a 151, securing the win in the WAGM senior men division. The women’s division was the closest title race as Katerina Reed of the Czech Republic needed a playoff to secure her victory over Veronika Reed, also of the Czech Republic, as they both shot 165 for the tournament. The senior women division saw the biggest margin of victory as Paula Gay of the United States took the top spot by 10 strokes shooting a 173.
Gunnar Bengtsson has this to say about his overall championship, “I actually came into this tournament with the express goal of winning it all. This was a long-term goal I've had for some time, but step one was to be chosen for the national squad. When I stepped up to 18 on that final round I didn't know the exact scores of the other players, or how large my lead was. I tried to just take a deep breath and roll it in for one like I had in all the other rounds, and indeed in every single practice round in the days before. So when I pulled the shot slightly to the left for a miss I was pretty upset with myself. Rather than making a big deal of it and potentially over-focus on what is a very easy shot, I just teed it up and rolled it in for a two without giving myself the chance to psych myself out. That two turned out to be just enough to beat out Mark Nuotio of Finland for the overall title with a single stroke - I had no idea it was that close!”
The team competition in the WAGM was hotly contested and saw several teams jumping into, and falling out of, the top 3 throughout the tournament. The team competition consists of teams of four individuals with men and women mixed in the same team for a country. In the end, the top three teams were separated by only one stroke each with Germany earning first place with a 640 total, the Czech Republic 1st team earning second place with a 641 and Finland taking the final podium spot with a 642.
The WDC saw almost a clean sweep by the Italians, losing out only on the top spot in the senior women’s division. Mirko Petracchi won the men’s division and the overall title scoring a 152 in the 6 rounds (5 plus a final round) played on the miniaturegolf course. Alfredo Meanti took home the top spot of the senior men’s division with a 163 and Steffania Gesualdi secured the win in the women’s division with a 185. Karin Hansson of Sweden broke the Italian streak winning the senior women’s division with an overall score of 186. Given the overall strong play of the Italians it was no surprise that their number 1 and 2 teams took the top two spots in the team competition with a 412 and 417 respectively. Sweden took home the final podium spot with a 457 total.
Links to the complete results of the tournament can be found below along with links to the social media pages where plenty of photos and videos can be found documenting some of the great action in both tournaments.
Later in the month, from September 20 to 23, 2017, the 2017 edition of the World Championships (general class) will also be held at Zaton Holiday Resort. There are now 25 countries confirmed with a total of 179 participants.
The World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) is the umbrella organization of 63 Minigolf sports associations worldwide with Continental Associations in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Over 1,000 championships courses are approved for official competitions and over 1,500 international minigolf tournaments are held each year. Millions of players all around the world like to play minigolf as a private leisure activity and in public competitions.
Other Media Links:
Complete Results for WAGM and WDC
WMF Championships Website