Minigolf World Champions Conclude in Croatia
28 Sep 2017 at 13:17 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 5435 | News search
L to R: Top - Mens Stroke & Match Winners, Bottom - Womens Stroke & Match Winners (Photo by WMF Facebook Page)
Nin, Croatia - The 2017 edition of the World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) World Championships was held at Zaton Holiday resort on the felt golf and miniaturegolf courses. There were 23 countries represented in this year's event with 166 total participants (53 women and 113 men). Participants had official practice days from September 15 up through September 19 to hone their skills on the two courses. The competitions at the World Championships included men's and women's division for individual stroke play, team stroke play and individual match play.
The first two days were focused on the stroke play competitions with the individual scores through six rounds, three on each course, being used to determine the total team scores at the end of day two. At end of that day it was Germany that reigned supreme as both their men's and women's team took the top podium spot. In the men's division, they won by a comfortable 21 strokes (883 total for 6 players) thanks in part to two rounds on miniaturegolf where none of the players shot above a 22. The Czech Republic would take second spot, edging out Switzerland by 5 strokes (904 to 909). The women's competition was much tighter as the German team won by just one stroke (472 total for 4 players) over the Swedish women. The Czech Republic took third place, 10 strokes behind the Swedes.
Michael Koziol, the Head Coach and Chef de Mission for both German teams had this to say about their performance, "Yes, we did it again, and I am delighted to see the result, especially because we had to deal with many problems before and during the World Cup and the pressure is always very high and the competitors very well. Our team has worked well, with an outstanding coaching team for which I would like to thank."
Day three saw the final rounds of the individual stroke play which would not only determine a champion but set up match play on the final day. A cut was made after the eighth round leaving the top 15 men and top 9 women to battle it out over one final round on both courses. While it was Germany on top for the men's team title, Sweden would make a one-two punch and take the first two sports in the men's individual title. Alexander Dahlstedt took first place, shooting a 238 overall and edging countryman Fredrik Persson by strokes, despite Fredrik having both a perfect 18 on the miniaturegolf course and setting a world record 20 on the felt course during his rounds. Marcel Noack of Germany would round out the men's podium shooting a 241 and winning a playoff for the bronze. Germany remained victorious in the women's division as Melanie Hammerschmidt shot a 249 and held off the charge of Karin Olsson of Sweden to win by 1 stroke. Eva Molnarova of the Czech Republic would finish 10 strokes behind Olsson for third place.
Dahlstedt commented on his win "I am so happy for my success both at the WAGM [World Adventure Golf Masters] and WC [World Championships]. Never in my life thought I would be able to perform at the highest level all those rounds in a row. This was for sure the biggest moment of my time as a minigolf player." Echoing his thoughts was Hammerschmidt's own, "Actually, I can't realize my success truly. It was a really exhausting competition and there were many competitors with much more experience and further success than I. It is a great honor for me to be part of the world stroke play champions now."
The top 16 women and top 32 men then moved into the match play championship on day four. In the women's division the top three from stroke play found themselves in the final four along with Maja Wicki of Switzerland. This time there would be some shuffling of the podium of Molnarova took the top spot, Wicki finished second and Hammerschmidt would walk away with a bronze. In the men's division, Persson would continue his excellent putting and take the top spot, beating Ondrej Skaloud of the Czech Republic. Walter Erlbruch would add another medal to Germany's count as he took the bronze over Christian Gobetz of Austria.
Molnarova was reserved in her remarks after winning, "I don't have much to say. It's unbelievable. Thanks the Czech team for great support." Persson had some reflection on both winning the match play championship but also his record setting play in the finals of the individual stroke play, "As a team captain I should lead the team with my game not being the weak link. So because of that it kind of felt a bit frustrating when I started to play better after the team competition. Even the last round of felt I was a bit frustrated ďż˝-why [does] it suddenly go this well and not before. I didn't think much about how good it was going until lane 15 and then I started to think that it would be nice to at least have the lowest score on a single round. After acing both 15 and 16 I started getting a bit nervous on lane 17 and 18 but it went ok. That it was enough for getting the silver medal was a bonus. Some comfort for the failure in the team competition. For the matchplay I went in with a good confidence and when I saw what lanes to play I actually thought there was no reason in the world that I shouldn't win. It felt like if I just stick to my game there would be a very good chance of me winning. It was just REALLY my turn to win."
WMF Sport Director Pasi Aho comment on the tournament "The Zaton championships were completed on schedule despite some challenging moments when it comes to weather conditions. We saw the expected close battles in team and individual categories and on top of that some incredible performances like Fredrik's [Persson] round of 20 on felt. It truly was the minigolf festivals we wanted to have. I congratulate all the winners and also want to point out the good performances of some of the newcomers, take for example Cameron Couper from New Zealand. For me as tournament director this was a championship to be remembered for a while and I am already looking forward to next year's Continental Championships and WAGM as well as to the World Championships 2019!"
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.
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