Former European Tour professional Mika Piltz, playing at his home club, absolutely destroyed the field with rounds of 71, 72 and 68 for a 5 under par total of 211 and a crushing 11 shot win opver Antti Ulvio of St Laurence with last years winner Keijo Jaakkola taking the bronze medal 2 shots further back.
Mika's scoring in the difficult conditions was extremely good, the strong wind and hot weather combined to bake the fairways and greens and make them very hard to hit and the wind was also strong enough to be a factor in putting, downhill-downwind putts seemed to roll for ever.
The tournament was a successful on also for Kytäjä players as Niko Helin continued his excellent Mid Tour form with rounds of 75, 78 and 73 for a total of 226 (+10) and a tie for 5th place. Andy Fowlie was in 3rd place after each of the first two rounds and looked like challenging for a medal until unfortunate double-bogeys came at the 14th and 16th holes in the final round and relegated him to 9th place, two shots behind Niko. Sami Markkanen made a rare competitive appearance and managed pretty well with rounds of 76, 80 and 79 to end up in 25th place. Petri Syrjänen and Sampo Laisi missed the cut.
Overall this was quite a satisying competition. I did not really hit the ball very well, struggling especially from the tee (I hit less than half of the fairways) but I really felt like I managed my game well and did not make too many mental mistakes over the first couple of days. My putting speed was also off for the whole event and I left myself many second putts which were over 1.5m... but I holed every one and did not make a single three putt in the event. The wind was a real challenge but those are the conditions that I learned the game in so that was very familiar to me and for the most part I handled it well.
I got a few really bad breaks over the final holes which did for my chances of getting into the minor medals. The 14th was a real kick in the teeth. My drive was just perfect, in the middle of the fairway and I had 148m left to the flag straight into the strong wind. I decided to hit a down-the-shaft 7 iron for my seocnd shot but the wind dropped while the ball was in the air and it went a few metres too far, landing at the back of the green and taking a huge bounce into the forest at the back. Hmmm. When I found the ball it was wedged between two rocks and impossible to play. My options for dropping did not look too promising so I was considering going back to re-play my approach, but I saw a piece of ground (in the trees and rocks) about one club-length away from my ball which looked like it would leave me with a playable chip as long as the ball did not bounce sideways too violently. The drop went well and left me with a delicate downhill chip to the back pin out of the trees. My chip was absolutely perfect and looked very good... until it landed and did not even bounce. It just splatted into the ground. It turns out that there was a 60cm square patch of mushy ground just off the back of the green (the same back of the green which had kicked my ball roughly into the trees 5 minutes earlier) and I had landed right in it. Unbelievable. This left me just off the fringe with a long bogey chance. My putt was perfect... but it did not go in. It somehow squirmed around the hole and ended up horseshoeing back towards me. Painful.
Thats how it goes, this was close to a really good performance over 54 holes... but the late disappointments took a bit of the gloss off the otherwise decent effort. Next time...