Historic medal for boys national team
The Estonian boys team won the bronze medals in the Division II competition for under-18 in Bulgaria, defeating Poland 4,5:2,5. This is the first medal for the Estonian boys team at the European Championships. The team consisted of Ralf Johan Kivi (captain), Rasmus Kivila, Karl Kreevs (all Niitvälja Golf Club), Richard Teder, Rauno Pikk and Ruut Kangust (all Estonian Golf & Country Club). Team coach Egeti Liiv.
In the morning a foursome was played at Pravets golf course and the score was 1-1 between Estonia and Poland as Richard Teder/Ralf Johan Kivi won their match 2&1, but Ruut Kangust/Rauno Pikk unfortunately lost 4&3. So it was all decided in the afternoon individual matches. In the afternoon matches, Teder was the quickest to get to grips with his opponent, crushing his opponent 8&6. Richard played the first nine rounds with -6. When Ralf Johan Kivi had beaten his opponent 6&4 and Karl Kreevs 3&2, the winner was clear and Rauno Pikka’s match could end in a draw. Ruut Kangust was the only loser (4&2). Results
In the final, Belgium defeated Slovakia 5:2. Both finalists secured their place in the first division for next year. Estonia will have to curse Switzerland, who failed to finish in the top 13 in Division I this year. Unfortunately, as Switzerland will be hosting a Division I competition next year, they will retain their place without being in the top 13.
Division I was won by Germany, who played at home and beat England 4,5:2,5 in the final. The bronze medals go to Spain, who beat Sweden 4:3. Germany became the first team in the 25-year history of the competition to defend the European title at U18 level.
Comments from players and coach:
Richard Teder: “The course was generally in good condition, the greens were good and the fairways were also in good condition. The weather was quite windless as the course was in a valley. I am very happy with my game, I still managed to avoid playing over par in the stroke play. Unfortunately one foursome didn’t win as we made a tactical mistake against Slovakia. I got a lot smarter with this match and also understood where certain mistakes come in and was able to put together a very good match in the last match play winning 8&6, playing the first half 6 under par. The teamwork was great. Unfortunately it was my last U18 team European Championship.”
Ralf Johan Kivi (captain): “The Pravets course was quite challenging, there was no room for error and the gullies took some getting used to. On the first day of the stroke play, the game didn’t get going straight away, but as the course progressed, it got better. In the semi-finals, they were up against Slovakia, who had played a strong qualifying round. The Slovakians, who had been successful in the morning foursomes, left our team no chance in the individuals and took a solid win. In the 3rd-4th place match we knew we could win. We took a solid win in the individual match places and won the bronze. According to the initial information, third place was supposed to secure a place in Division I. That was our goal. It’s a pity it didn’t work out that way. Another chance next year. All in all, I was happy with my own game. I’m happy that I won both individual match-plays.”
Rauno Pikk: “The course was in good condition and well maintained. The views from the mountains made the pitch very special. The holes were quite narrow and there was little room for error. The gradients were normal in terms of speed and even. Don’t get into the bunkers – very soft and constantly chipping. Pulled me off the course with my kicks. Confidence in the wing box was low and there was a constant fear of losing the ball. The rest of the game was pretty normal – approaches steady and putting normal. Luckily the weather was very good, only on the last day we played in the rain but we all still managed nicely.”
Ruut Kangust: “The game was made difficult by the narrow holes and hard grooves and very soft sand in the bunker. The weather forecast was promising rain but we were mostly lucky it was sunny and windless, although we still got rain on the last day. The opponents didn’t play great golf, rather we didn’t play our best. The competition was well organised. Unfortunately, we were limited to third place and just missed out on Division I, but next year we can make up for that.”
Karl Kreevs: “The course was in very good condition and the layout was very interesting. The course was very well laid out and the layout of the course was very interesting. We were also very lucky with the weather, the weather forecast showed rain almost every day but it only rained one day. The weather forecast was very good and it was only one day that the weather forecast was very good, but the day was only a day that the weather forecast was very good. Luckily I was able to pull myself together and beat my opponent 3&2 in the Match plays against Poland, playing the first half one under par. It was a very interesting experience for me to play against players from other countries. As a team, we really fulfilled our goal, but unfortunately we didn’t qualify for Division I. I was very happy with the way we played. The spirit within the team was very good and I’m very happy to be part of it.”
Rasmus Kivila: “I really liked the course and its design. The grids were very different, some were faster and some were slower, but otherwise they were consistent and you could read the gradients. On the first day my game was quite bad as I couldn’t handle the driver and iron shots but my close game was very good. On the second day my shots were very good but couldn’t get the first half together. The second half, however, I pulled myself together and was able to play. The opponent I played match play against was a very good player and I think I was able to play him pretty well. What I didn’t like about the tournament was the original hotel we went to, because there was no air conditioning in the room, which meant we had to keep the window open, and in the evening when we wanted to go to bed there was no peace outside. All the noise coming from the courtyard came directly into the room, which is why it was hard to sleep. The tournament itself was more or less prepared, even though we only got one locker for the whole team. The good thing was that the food you could buy there was very tasty. All in all, I really enjoyed the competition and the course.”
Egeti Liiv (coach): “The course itself was in good condition, but treacherous in some places: for example, the speed of the green, the exact direction and strength of the wind. You also had to take into account that the ball would fly further. All in all, the competition went better than last year. Last year we finished fourth in stroke play for the matchplay semi-finals, this year we finished third. The first match play round against Slovakia didn’t go the best: we had difficulties with shot lengths, kick-offs, close play and a bit of bad luck. The Slovakia team, however, had a better day in terms of these things. Result of the day: 6 wins for Slovakia – 1 win for Estonia. However, in the matchplay against Poland on the second day, we rallied from a big setback and showed no mercy. The boys found their shots and gave it their all. Richard, for example, struggled with his putting on the match days, but during the individual course play against Poland he made friends with the greens and played the first nine holes -6. Karl Kreevs was the other big surprise: his stroke play on the first two days didn’t go so well. Nerves and overthinking took place. On the third day he took a break from the game and helped the team as a caddie. Kreevs, however, went up against one of their best players against Poland and gave him a run for his money, going -1 in the first half. All in all, it was great to see the boys finish in the top three for the first time in U18 Division II competition. There were definitely learning points on what and how to do better so that they can play even better next year and move up even higher.”