Olivia Prokopova Wins 2017 U.S. Open
28 Jul 2017 at 15:39 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 2136 | News search
Olivia Prokopova and the winners trophy (Photo by Pat Sheridan)
Oceanport, NJ - The 2017 U.S. Open was held at Bluegrass Miniature Golf course at the Monmouth Racetrack on July 21st & 22nd. The conditions were quite warm over the two days with temperatures being above 90F on Friday and only tapering off slightly on Saturday. This created some fast turf for the players to deal with. » Final Results
It's no surprise that a tournament held at a horse track should feature as many movements over ten rounds as one might see on the front-stretch of the Kentucky Derby. The featured favorite, Olivia Prokopova from the Czech Republic, was never far from the pace set in the first three rounds of the tournament. Throughout the next seven rounds, however, she would pick off the leaders and by round seven it was a two "horse" race with her and Fred Stewart from N. Chesterfield, VA, USA. Fred had gone into the last four rounds on day two of the tournament with a three stroke lead over Olivia. Not far behind were Rick Culverhouse (the leader after round three) of Sebring, FL, USA, Danny McCaslin of Holly Springs, NC, USA (past U.S. Open champion) and Gary Hester of Thomasville, NC, USA, all of which were five strokes back of Fred.
With Olivia shooting a 32 and 33 in rounds seven and eight, she passed Fred and started to widen her lead. She finished with a commanding eight stroke lead, shooting a 348 over the ten rounds. Fred would hold onto second, fending off a late run by Danny McCaslin who would fall just short of Fred by two strokes. Olivia finished the tournament in style, acing hole 18 as the tournament field watched. Her commanding scores would also win her the woman's division as well as the team division which she won with Joey Graybeal, defending their title from last year.
The primary sponsor of the tournament, as they were when the 2014 edition was held on the same course, was the law offices of Drazin and Warshaw. Unlike many tournaments in Europe, the U.S. Open is played with golf balls only and in fact players can only use the officially sanctioned Chromax balls for play. With the sun shining all weekend, the silver and gold balls in play glistened as they rolled along the greens and dropped into the cups.
We had a moment to catch up with Olivia after the tournament and asked a few questions about her experience. Our mini-interview with the 2017 champion follows.
Minigolfnews (MGN): How does it feel to be the U.S. Open winner this year?
Olivia: I am very very happy that I am back on greens with good form. From the US Open 2014 at PRO category I didn't get on the podium when I was injured, had a few operations and I was frustrated. But I never give up and never stop believing that I can come back. Now I feel great satisfaction.
Minigolfnews (MGN): You were second after day one and Fred looked like he was on a roll - then you come out and shoot a 32 and 33 the first two rounds on day 2 - what do you credit the great scores that moved you into first?
Olivia: I thought that I can play good. But other players played great too and I skipped ahead of them. I believed that I could play good score that will retain me on the top. I wanted attack too. In the end has succeeded everything.
Minigolfnews (MGN): You shot so well but were there any holes on the course that gave you trouble this weekend?
Olivia: Paradoxically on hole number 5 and 11. Some of players don´t believe in it, but it is true. On hole 5 I have 3 bogey and on hole number 11 I haven´t got hole in one. Yes, that easy hole was bad for me.
Minigolfnews (MGN): From the competition you played with this weekend, who do you see as having the best chance to win the Masters in October?
Olivia: The circle of favorites will be big. I don't want forget to anybody. And also nobody want hear that he is favorite of US Masters... Expect Danny McCaslin. I hope that I will have chance too. I am looking forward to US Masters.
Thank you very much to Carol, John and USPMGA for great organizations of US Open, all players for great game and accept me to this gentlemans and legends to our sport.
Final Results - Top 10
Olivia Prokopova - 348
Fred Stewart - 356
Danny McCaslin - 358
Rick Alessi - 362
Rick Culverhouse - 363
Kevin Lacey - 363
Gary Hester - 366
Tim Talley - 367
Nate Nichols - 367
Matt McCaslin - 370
Pat Sheridan - 370
Matt Male - 370
The 2018 U.S. Open will be held at Champions Golf Learning Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina.