I want to congratulate all the new club champions on their achievements, the winners are listed below.
- Kalle Kangas - mens champion - 214 (71, 73, 70)
- Camilla Sommar - ladies champion - 163 (83, 80)
- Reijo Viippola - senior mens champion - 168 (85,83)
- Paula Nokso-Koivisto - senior ladies champion - 172 (84,88)
- Tarmo Mäkelä - mens veteran champion - 167 (83, 84)
I am sure that each of the winners has a great story to tell, and I would like to hear and share those stories, but one which I can comment on directly is the way in which Kalle Kangas played today on his way to a fantastic 17 shot victory in the mens championship, I had the honour to mark his scorecard as he ran away from the rest of the field this afternoon.
After playing his 36 holes yesterday in one over par Kalle Kangas held a lead of 7 shots over Henri Lahdenperä and was 11 shots ahead of me in third place. The three of us made up the "final group" in the competition and we teed off at 13:21 this afternoon at a sunny, warm and windy Kytäjä.
Judging from the opening shots things would not be easy for Kalle... his first drive landed on the left edge of the fairway and just kept rolling and rolling, almost impossibly, through the long grass and into the edge of the water hazard. This was definitely a bad break... but he could manage to play out of the hazard (minus his socks and shoes) and was back into the fairway for 2. Meanwhile a strange shot with a 4 iron (way right!) meant that I would start the round hacking around in the heavy rough... but Henkka was clearly in the mood, he hit a mid-iron about 3.5 metres from the hole and rolled in the putt for a birdie. Kalle made a great putt of his own from 3m for a bogey but still saw his lead cut down by 2 shots on the first hole. I also made bogey... and started to feel a bit out of things given that I was 11 behind the leader and 6 behind second place.
Henkka continued his strong start on the second by nailing his drive down the middle and hitting a great hybrid onto the green while Kalle and I left ourselves with about 100m for our third shots. At this point the momentum was definitely with Henkka... but Kalle stepped up and hit a great wedge shot to about 1m from the flag. Looking back I think that this was a really important shot, it changed the situation and seemed to steady things for Kalle. For Henkka, his great second shot had left an extremely fast downhill eagle putt from about 15m, suddenly he probably had to 2 putt in order to stay 5 behind whereas if Kalle had not hit it close he would have felt more like it being a chance to pick up two more shots. Henkka hit a really good putt... but it just went past the edge of the hole and dribbled 2-3m past, from where he could not hole the birdie putt. Kalle made his birdie to pull one further ahead.
Both players made two-putt pars on the 3rd and left themselves ~100m for their approaches to the 4th, at this point Henkka, who had hit every shot impressively up to that point, made a mess of his wedge shot and thinned it over the back, leading to a bogey and losing some of his momentum.
On the 5th, I thought that it might be my turn to get the honour when I hit a really great wedge shot, landing 4-5m behind the hole and spinning back to about 5cm from the hole for my first birdie of the day... but Kalle rolled his own birdie effort from 5-6m perfectly into the hole.
From this point forward Kalle just played great golf and was not particularly troubled by Henkka or me as we both dropped multiple shots approaching the turn. He hit fairways, he hit greens, he had a lot of chances for birdies which just went over the edge of the hole... but he didn't make mistakes. Another birdie followed at the 10th, after a tee shot which looked as if it might go in... before the 11th caused his second bogey of the day. The 11th was right into the wind and played as long as I can remember... I had to hit a 5 wood for my second shot... so a bogey there was not a disaster.
Some solid pars followed on 12 and 13 before a good drive and a solid 3 wood left him just short of the 14th green in 2 and allowed for a simple up-and-down birdie. By this time his lead was enormous... some 15 shots... and it was just a victory procession for Kalle. A bogey at the long 15th took his score for the day back to -1 but there were no mistakes in the closing holes, 3 pars to finish and a round of 70.
Kalle's winning score was 214, level par for the 54 holes. This was the lowest score in the history of Kytäjä's club championship and the ridiculous winning margin of 17 shots is also a record. He really had his game and himself under control all day and compiled his score without having to do anything outrageous... he just hit a lot of good shots and hardly any bad ones. His bogeys came on probably the 3 most difficult holes (given the prevailing wind conditions) - 1, 11 and 15 - and he took four of the many birdie chances which he created. It was a pleasure to watch him play today, he was just miles better than the rest of us this weekend.
For me... well, there is always next year.