Estonian men’s team takes 11th place

Foto: EGL

The Estonian men’s golf team returns from the European Team Championships in England with 11th place, defeating the Swiss team on the last day in the fourth extra hole. The score was 3:2. The same place had been achieved two years earlier, but only 14 countries took part due to Covid.
Captain Mattias Varjun and Ken-Marten Soo scored the winning points for Estonia today. The match between Carl Hellat and Kevin Christopher Jegers ended in a draw, and as the foursome pair of Joonas Turba and Markus Varjun had lost and the overall winner of the match had not been decided, both pairs had to go to extra time. Unfortunately Carl Hellat lost the first extra leg and it was back to Kevin Christopher Jegers to decide the outcome. In the fourth overtime Kevin finally managed to break his opponent and bring Estonia the last winning point. Results

Spain was crowned European Champion, beating Sweden 4,5:2,5 in the final. Denmark, the defending champions, took the bronze as they defeated England 5:2 at home.

Players and the coaches comments on the tournament:

Kevin Christopher Jegers: “Overall I was happy with the tournament and I’m sure the other guys were too. We still managed to stay in division one, which was our main goal from the start. I’m very happy with my own game. I was able to play very well on four of the five days. It certainly gives you confidence to play well on a rather difficult pitch on the left. Of course, it was interesting to go to the play-offs on two days, my hand was shaking a bit. But I played well enough in the play-offs and both times my opponent made a mistake and I got the win. We were very lucky with the weather, one of the first tournaments I’ve played in England where it was warm every day and sometimes sunny. It was definitely a positive trip for our team and one to remember for a long time. The team chemistry we have is so good that we never get bored when we travel together.”

Carl Hellat: “The tournament was very positive both individually and as a team, the fact that we stayed in the B division (9th-16th place) and won the first match to stay in Division I was more than expected. The game itself was pretty good for me. After three rounds of matchplay I played par, which I can be happy with looking at the wind and the course we played on. Also comparing the countries we played against, their WAGR rankings, their suits, their previous competitions, we certainly surprised everyone. I think matchplay is more suited to us as well because it’s man-to-man and you have a better chance of winning against tougher opponents than in stroke play.”

Joonas Turba: “It was a tough match for me mentally. I played well until certain moments in the stroke play days, until I just had to hold on with my teeth until the end, so that the game didn’t completely disappear. After that, I had three days of foursome shooting, which is an unrealistically difficult format that tired my already tired brain even more. To bring three losses to a team always makes you feel heavy but as a team we did pretty well and all the guys were good. We’ve got a better overview and experience of Division I now and I think we’ll be in closer competition next year.”

Ken-Marten Soo: “I can be quite satisfied with the competition. I had a little bit of trouble with my game in the first days, but every day the shot got better and better. The game on the last day was much more solid compared to the first day. I was able to bring all the points the team needed. I kept my composure while playing and took the goal to enjoy myself, because the court was great and you don’t get these chances all the time. It’s good to get the wins over Wales and Switzerland, which gave us 11th place.”

Markus Varjun: “Having played in division two for a long time and having qualified for division one last year, it was our goal to stay in the division this year, which was well achieved. I can’t be satisfied with my own individual performance, but luckily we had a good enough stroke play as a team to finish Flight Bs and play to stay in Division One. The most important game was against Wales which Kevin managed to settle in the second extra time to give Estonia the win. Having secured our place in the division we could breathe easier for the next two days. It was really cool to see how much more united our team is compared to the other countries. For the first two days, the morning starters went to the aid of the lunch starters at the end of their laps, which was seen in few countries. I would say that the first division is where we belong and where we are very competitive. Playing there for the first time this year, I would say we certainly didn’t jump over our shadow and we didn’t fall below our average. With a good game, it’s very realistic that next year we can get into flight A, which means top-8 after two rounds of matches.”

Captain Mattias Varjun: “The tournament was definitely a great success. We didn’t play our best in the stroke play, but we still competed well in the middle of the table. The whole team has to succeed to get into the top eight, but looking at how we have developed over the years, it is a very realistic goal. In addition, all the very strong golfing teams were in the lead this year and didn’t miss a beat, so you really had to play well to finish in the top three. In the matchplay format we got two very decent wins but you could feel how in the first division no points and wins come easily. Defeating Wales gave the whole team a powerful emotion and allowed us to enjoy the rest of the tournament even more, as it fulfilled our main objective. Against the Netherlands, we played a little below our level and their class difference was enough to prevent us from having much of a chance. It was definitely the best team in B-flight. I’m very proud of how we managed to come back as a team the next day after losing. The energy was better, more things worked out and the support of our teammates was constantly felt while playing. The united team spirit that is the greatest asset of this team was very evident in all rounds and was definitely the basis for our two great wins. For my part, I put in a good performance, playing particularly well in the last game against Switzerland. I had to work harder in the previous rounds, but that comes with the game, especially on the difficult links pitch. All in all a great tournament and a great experience. We proved that our place is in the first division. It’s great to be part of a team like that.”

Coach Mark Suursalu: “I’m happy that we managed to stay in the division and stay in the top division. We managed to play a good level of golf all five days. I dare to say that with good luck, we can be in the top eight in a year’s time. A trip to the competition course in June certainly contributed to the good result, as we got the game plan in place and therefore did not have to tire ourselves too much in the days leading up to the competition. Today’s team has been playing together for years and it’s good to see the players working together.”