Andalucía Open Round 1 Recap
2023 PDGA Euro Championship
Sunny Spain… most of the time! Sustained winds of 30-50 km/h (20-30 mph) have added a touch (or two) of spice to the training days, although the forecast is for more pleasant weather for the competition days.
The PDGA Euro Tour Championship will be held this weekend at the spectacular Parque de los Lagos in Chipiona (Andalucía). A resort on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean with numerous green areas, beaches, palm trees, some holes with slopes and lakes, and canals that add excitement to the game in an area that, due to its climate, infrastructure, tourist interest, and air communications, has become a must for many players from the Nordic countries during the winter months.
Also noteworthy is the social aspect of the event, with the majority of players, media, and members of PDGA Europe staying in the same hotel framed within the course and with excellent facilities to make this tournament not only the culmination of the PDGA Euro Tour but a real end-of-season party as well as holding a productive “Ask Me Anything” session with PDGA Europe staff.
DAY 1. FRIDAY
And it was calm after the storm! 20ºC-68ºF, sunshine, and a playful but manageable sea breeze of 25 km/h-15mph augured a great day to play the first round of the PDGA Euro Tour Championship – Andalucía Open in the city of Chipiona (Spain).
The women opened the day at 9 a.m., and by hole number 5, what the ratings indicated was confirmed: it looked like we were going to see a fight for victory between the two big favorites: Finnish Silva Saarinen and Jenni Karppinen and another one for third place between another PDGA Euro Tour regular, Estonia’s Birgit Vider and local wildcard player Aida Rey.
On the front nine and with the wind in their favor, the different styles of approaching the round were noticeable: Silva playing more aggressively in search of birdie but facing the odd bogey or double bogey and Jenni taking it easy and trying to secure par when possible to reach the end of the round tied with a +3.
Birgit and Aida had a fairly similar front nine, but the Spaniard, as she told us after the round, did not reach her best level of play due to the nerves that come with playing alongside two of the best players in Europe, with live and recorded broadcasts, photographers, etc. and that she hopes to improve in tomorrow’s round.
The MPO Feature Card of this PDGA Euro Tour Championship was an absolute luxury: three of the top five in the points standings of the entire circuit (Jakub Semerád, Miro Ryhänen and Silver Lätt) plus the current European Champion Dennis Augustsson, but the luck was very uneven for each of them:
Yesterday we were lucky enough to play the front nine of the practice round with Augustsson and enjoy the ease with which he parked hole after hole with perfect control of the angles in the strong wind. However, today he would suffer three double bogeys in the first four holes! -enough to unsettle anyone- to retaliate with five birdies in a row, but this irregular round puts him in the middle of the table.
Slightly better was one of the young sensations of the season, Sweden’s Miro Ryhänen with a solid -3 on the front nine that would become par for the course in the end to leave him eighth.
And in fourth place is another player who is almost always at the top, whether or not he has ups and downs: the Czech Jakub Semerád who with -2 is tied with the Dutchman Rienk Kan (who we also enjoyed in training) and the Finn Lauri Hämäläinen, who will play tomorrow in the Lead Card due to his lower PDGA number.
Up to third is his compatriot Rasmus Tuominen, whose unfortunate triple bogey on the spectacular 11th hole (with its slippery green sloping towards the water) prevented him from getting closer to the lead, but whose level of play will clearly allow him to fight for the victory.
And another contender for the victory, Elias Luukkonen, appeared with his eternal bucket hat and a fabric shoulder bag! But no, he was not going to the beach – which is very close – but to deliver the second-best card of the day with a very complete game with just two bogeis and giving the feeling that he still has a little more left in the tank. By the way, he was carrying that bag due to a problem with his airline… 😉
And, leading the tournament, the last member of the Feature Card, the Estonian Silver Lätt who, after participating in 6 of the PDGA Euro Tour events will try to put the icing on the cake to his great season with a victory of very high level. He showed a very smart play laying up when the wind demanded it and amazed the audience with his forehand, one of the best in the world, to achieve a brilliant -7 (1062 rating).
Let’s meet again tomorrow – half an hour later, at 14:30—live on Disc Golf Network!
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