Estonian Amateur Open brings together the best of the Baltics
This time at the Estonian Amateur Open by Tallink, which starts this Saturday at Niitvälja Golf Center, due to the restrictions of the coountry borders, essentially the best golfers from all over the Baltics will compete. The 78 competitors will compete in the men’s and women’s classes for World Ranking (WAGR) points and for the title and the traveling cup, which has names of previous winners, since 2004. The best of the best will be announced after the three-day competition on Monday afternoon. Due to the ban on spectators, they can only cheer on from a distance.
In the competition, which has been held 16 times, the winning trophy has traveled out of Estonia as many as 14 times in both men’s and women’s classes. In the men’s class, Egeti Liiv (2015) was the last Estonian who was able to leave the victory at home and in 2006 Paul Põhi did the same. Mari Suursalu (Rauna) has won twice in the women’s class, in 2005 and 2007.
Speaking of the men’s class favorites, we must first mention the Estonian national team members, Kevin Christopher Jegers (2nd place last year, WAGR 919), Carl Hellat (3rd place 2018, WAGR 2490) and last year’s Estonian champion Joonas Juan Turba (WAGR 846). Certainly, the other participating team members also have their own opportunities, all of whom have a positive level indicators – Richard Teder (WAGR 845), Timo Raukas (WAGR 2363), Markus Varjun (WAGR 3423), Ken-Marten Soo (WAGR 4378). Their biggest competitor is Gediminas Markevičius from Lithuania, the highest of the male competitors in the WAGR rankings, holding 722nd place, he has won both the Latvian and Lihtuanian Amateur Open, but the Estonian Amateur Open is yet to win. Last year he was in the top four before the last day, but the very harsh weather of the last day of the competition dropped the Lithuanian to the ninth position. Due to the circumstances we are missing Ilari Saulo, who unfortunately can not defend the title this year, who also managed to win the Finnish championship last year. And also Mattias Varjun (WAGR 1217) can’t compete. The captain of the national team, who started studying at a US university this winter, had to cancel this competition, because of his knee, which is bad due to the trauma from last spring.
When talking about the favorites of the women’s class, we have to start with the Lithuanian Gilė Bitė Starkutė, who holds 237th place in the world rankings and her handicap is +3.2. She also began her studies in Arizona last year and showed a very good level in the US university competitions in the winter. Anete Liis Adul (WAGR 1825), Mariliis Palm (WAGR 2340) and Karola Soe, the trio of the Estonian women’s team, are a strong threat to her as they wish to take the win. In addition to these four, Marta Siļčenko (third year last year, WAGR 2453) and Katrīna Jana Gustafsson, who lives in Latvia but represents Russia, certainly have a say as well.
A total of 15 WAGR leaderboard players will take part in the competition.
In the photo: Estonian golf team 2020