The events started with 64 players competiting for the title, including three Kytäjä players - Niko Helin, Andy Fowlie and Petri Syrjänen. The favourites to get to the final were 2012 winner Keijo Jaakkola and Timo Tuunanen from the host club who scored a course record 65 in the European Mid Amateur earlier in the month and lost out in a playoff for the previous Mid Tour Event at Meri-Teijo.
After 60 matches had been played over the first two days we had our semi-finalists, Keijo Jaakkola and Timo Tuunanen each made it through as expected and they were joined by Timo Pulkkinen (Talma) and Kytäjä's Niko Helin (who made it to the last 4 for the second time in 3 years).
Niko had beaten Sami Paavilainen in the first round 5/4 and Sebastian Nymark in the second round 3/1 before recording a huge 7/5 victory over Mika Saastamoinen in the third round. The relatively comfortable matches were brought to an end in the quarter final where Niko had to go all the way to the 22nd hole to get past Erno Kalalahti on his home course.
On the final day the four remaining players faced unseasonably horrible weather conditions, it was cold, windy and constantly raining throughout the day. Both of the semi-finals were very close. Niko's match against Keijo Jaakkola, a rematch of the 2012 final, ended on the 17th green with an excellent 2/1 victory for Niko while in the other match Timo Pulkkinen managed to defeat Timo Tuunanen on the final green by a one hole margin.
In the final Niko managed to build an early lead, racing to 3 up after the 5th hole and held onto his advantage for the rest of the day, eventually closing out the match 5/4 to win the gold medal and become the latest person to hold the title of Finnish champion.
Congratulations to Niko! (and to his caddie Saku Rakhila, also a Kytäjä member)
I got off to a poor start, bogeying the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th to lose all four holes and then spent the rest of the time tryign to get back on level terms. I did not play my best but it was not terrible, I would have been 3 or 4 over par for the 17 holes played, but every time it looked like I would get a hole back Lasse did something special. He made a pretty amazing up and down on the 6th to stay 3 up and then made another very good one on the 7th to half that hole as well. The 8th was a real disappointment, I hit a great 4 iron and a great 8 iron to about 4m but three putted for a bogey while he hit his tee shot into the right rough and mis-hit the second to come up short but then made the up and down to win the hole.
After winning the 11th to get back to 3 down I had the thought that the next two holes, tough holes both played into the wind, might favour me and allow me to get back into the game. The pin on the 12th was right at the back, very near to a nasty bunker and the shot was a very challenging one. I was first to play, my tee shot was almost perfect, ending up 45cm right of the hole for an easy birdie. The problem was that Lasse's tee shot was even better... it went into the hole for an ACE... and I was 4 down again.
I managed to get holes back with a par at the 13th and a birdie at the 16th but when my 8m birdie putt on 17 failed to go in and Lasse had yet another up and down for par the match was over and it was time for me to go home.
Sometimes its just not your day.
Congratulations to Niko, great that Kytäjä has another finnish champion golfer!