Cream of the Crop Rises at European Championships

Lizotte, Blomroos seize the day and the leads
By Brian Hoeniger, PDGA International Director

Round 2 of the European Championships in Medimurje, Croatia, is in the basket. While some of the overnight leaders extended their advantages others failed to match the level of their 1st day skill and will now be playing catch up in pursuit of the dream of being crowned continental champions.

In Men’s Open the #1 seed Simon Lizotte vaulted to the top with a 1063 rated course record 10 down 50, punctuated by a finishing string of 6 birdies, to sit at -17 with 36 holes to play. 1st round leader and #2 seed Seppo Paju was only 1 back of the Bremener trick shot meister when his tee shot on 18 faded OB left. Paju than salvaged par by draining a 14 meter/47 footer to restrict his deficit entering Round 3 to just 2 throws. Fellow Finn Teemu Nissinen jumped from the 3rd card to 3rd place, matching Lizotte’s 11 birdies, and shooting 9 under. Sitting 4th and 5th, 5 and 6 back of Simon, are, yes, you guessed it, 2 more members of the Suomi horde, Pasi Koivu and Väinö Mäkelä. Next up are Leo Piironen, who just happens to be the 2018 Finnish National Champion, and another German, former European Junior champion Marvin Tetzel. Estonia’s Silver Lätt in 8th will round out tomorrow’s chase card but he will start 8 throws back. To put it succinctly, it’s looking a lot like Simon versus Finland.

The top dogs in Masters are putting on their own sideshow. Janne Hirsimäki, and France’s Sylvain Gouge remain 1st and 2nd with the Finn 2 up. Sverige’s defending champ Anders Swärd matched Janne’s 6 under 54 for division best in Round 2 to move up into third, 6 off the pace.

Among the young guns in MJ18, “Czech-mate” Bohdan Bílek chose a big stage on which to play of the best rounds of his career, a 1033 rated -6 which jump him from 3rd to a share of the lead with Finland’s Oskari Vikström. Their 2 day total of 114 would place them 14th out of the 87 Open players.

In turn, Finland’s 2 teenage towers have separated themselves from the pack in FPO. Henna Blomroos went from 3 off the lead to 3 in front of compatriot Eveliina Salonen, shooting a scorching 1024 rated 8 down 54 – the low round so far among the 5 divisions competing in B Pool. Estonia’s Kristin Tattar and Czech Republican Eva Králová are tied 3rd , a full 12 throws off Henna’s torrid pace. Unless the totally unexpected happens, the 2 close friends from Suomi will be vying with each other for the gold and silver medal positions.

Scandinavians are also at the front of the other 4 B Pool divisions. In Grandmasters, the blue and yellow flag of Sweden is flying high with Hasse Tegebäck, whose advantage over España’s Carlos Rio and Belgian Jean-Louis Tanghe is 6. Meanwhile a trans Gulf of Bothnia battle is unfolding among the Senior Grands where Markku Tohni is in front of the defending champ Olle Samuelsson by 3. In Women’s Masters, Denmark’s Lydie Hellgren, who originally hailed from Greenland, is joint top with Finlander Anna Elo. Last but not least, the Suomen frisbeegolfliitto colossus has unveiled yet another rising star in Maria Asikainen whose cushion in FJ18 at the event’s half way point is a seemingly insurmountable 15 throws.

More sunny skies and hot temperatures are on the horizon for moving day. We would not be wrong in presuming that Finns are accustomed to and probably play better in more moderate climes, but there is no such evidence on display here. Stay tuned to see if Simon can hold off the blue and white onslaught, if the other current leaders can maintain their positions, or if the clutch moves come from the chasers. Either way, tomorrow is bound to be another 18 holes of excitement in beautiful northern Croatia.

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