27 participating countries is the most ever at a PDGA Tour Event
By Brian Hoeniger, PDGA International Director
This week the biennial European Disc Golf Championships continues its long standing tradition as the grande dame of the tournament scene on the mother continent. Hosted by the European Disc Golf Federation and Lagoda Disc Golf, the 2018 EDGCs will tee off Wednesday morning in Croatia’s northern most county of Medimurje.
It’s a unique privilege to be able to compete in this prestigious event as the players are selected by their national associations and team captains on the basis of merit. All told, 200 of Europe’s finest disc golfers representing 27 different countries, from traditional powerhouses Finland and Sweden, to the exploding hotbed of Estonia, from isolated volcanic Iceland to the newbies of Ukraine, Serbia and Portugal, have been learning the nuances of the course and fine tuning their putters, in pursuit of the dream of being crowned European Champions on Saturday.
Based at the LifeClass Terme Resort, the 18 hole tournament layout meanders up and down the undulating slopes of a ball golf course and into the surrounding woods. Designed by Californian Jon Baldwin and TD Dinko Šimenc this track checks in as a 2530 long par 60 non-stop gut check for MPO, MP40 and MJ18 division that will test every shot in the competitors’ bags. FPO and the other age based divisions are only being given small compensation in the form of slightly shorter tees on 3 holes and a few modified pars. You can find maps and an overview of the course here.
On paper the favorite in Open Division is surely Germany’s trick shot meister Simon Lizotte, whose previous EDGC victory came in 2012. He will be hotly pursued by Denmark’s KJ Nybo, looking to steal the show and take home the coveted continental championship title that has eluded him to date, and by a horde of far flying Finns, including the defending European Champion, Leo Piironen, 2014 best in show Seppo Paju, and 2016 Junior winner Väinö Mäkelä.
Rising FPO star and defending gold medallist Evelina Salonen will be looking to replicate her 2016 success, while her fellow Suomi teenager Henna Blomroos, Sweden’s Sofie Björlycke and Estonia’s Kristin Tattar will be among the leading ladies in quest of the biggest wins of their careers.
The 29 player Pro Masters field features 3 EDGC MP40 rookies of note: multi time French national champion Sylvain Gouge, semi-retired but still FAR throwing Swede Markus Källström, and Denmark’s Thomas Rasmussen, who is undefeated in 2018. Not to be overlooked is the battle of the MJ18 young guns led by Finland’s 991 rated Oskari Vikström.
The tournament format is 1 round of staggered starts per day, from Wednesday through Saturday, with a cut to the top 50% plus ties for the final round. Shooting well will put you in line for a share of the purse of €17,000 and a place on the medals podium.
Please visit the event website and Facebook page, where you’ll find tons of info, and a DiscGolfMetrix live scoring. On behalf of our Croatian hosts, we wish all the competitors “sreću i veliku vještinu“ (good luck and great skill)!