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PDGA Euro Championship – 2023 Andalucía Open Final Round Recap

By Nick Quargnenti

Andalucía Open Final Round Recap

2023 PDGA Euro Championship

By: Calixto García
Sunday, October 22, 2023


Silva Saarinen has participated in five PDGA Euro Tour events and has won… all five: Krokhol, Swedish Open, Skellefteå, Åland and now the PDGA Euro Tour Championship – Andalucía Open!

Something has been constant in all of them: a bombproof tranquility, a spectacular putting (second best in the world in this 2023) and a great regularity, setting a very good pace of play and waiting for the failure of his rivals that, sooner or later, ended up coming. Undoubtedly, the best end to a spectacular season that has raised Saarinen to the international elite.

This was not the round of Jenni Karppinen, leader of the PDGA Euro Tour points classification after the 11 events of the regular season: she started the round 4 strokes behind her compatriot, but a +4 on holes 7, 8 and 9 quickly distanced her from the fight for victory.

Estonian Birgit Vider finished in third place by a wide margin, and Spanish player Aida Rey finished fourth, but she will surely remember this experience for the rest of her life.

What an EPIC finish to the PDGA Euro Tour Championship!

The organizers rightly decided that today’s round would be played with a shotgun start for all players at 09:30 as winds were expected to gust up to 90 km/h in the afternoon. And although the rain was less intense than expected, the wind did become a protagonist, showing the different strategies of the players to face it.

The round began – on the 6th hole for the lead card – with 9 players in just 4 shots difference, and some players like Rasmus Tuominen, author of the only ace of the tournament yesterday, and Mathias Villota pressed the accelerator to place 3rd and 5th, respectively.

However, two of the members of the lead card dropped positions: the Czech Matěj Vojtík, who surprised more than one with his good shots with both left and right hands, and the Finnish Miro Ryhänen, who started very strong rubbing shoulders with the leaders, but the wind on the holes closest to the beach took him out of his rhythm of play and he ended up dropping to sixth place. Jakub Semerád, second in the PDGA Euro Tour points standings, remained very consistent and moved up one place to third.

And who are we left with? The two protagonists of one of the most beautiful battles of the year: Silver Lätt and Elias Luukonen.

Both opened the scoring with a birdie on the first hole, the now-famous Lake Island, to make it clear that they were playing on the attack. The Estonian found a difficult line between the cypress trees on the 7th to cross the lake and convert the putt that would give him another stroke of advantage, but the Finn would return the attack by parking his driver in an incredible way in the 141 metres of the church hole.

Again, Silver would take the lead by parking the short but narrow 15th hole but on the next one his famous forehand went too far right to the OB. Luukkonen took the birdie and this two-shot swing leaves them tied: maximum excitement!

We arrive at the beach, and on the 17th hole, right in front of the players’ hotel, Elias narrowly misses the left OB with Silver close but inbounds, hitting a wonderful sidearm over 100m that puts him within a span of the basket. And the stakes continue to rise! Luukkonen is not going to be less and scores a backhand that bounces off the basket and the chains unable to stop a disc at such speed: great image of the young player lying on the grass in pure astonishment…

As if it were a tennis match, on the 18th Luukonen ties up again, making birdie for the par of Silver, who does not get the wind to drag his approach enough and misses a long putt.

So we arrive at four holes from the conclusion, with the stakes as high as the elevated basket on hole 2. And as every disc golf fan knows, elevated basket + strong wind = possible surprise… and this time it was negative when a putt from just 8 metres from the Finn is tossed by the wind and becomes an even more difficult comebacker in which he assumes his mistake, executes a layup and advances with a really heavy double bogey.

Another bogey on the 3rd puts him three strokes behind Silver on the spectacular 4th hole: 318 metres with the lake in between and a chance to risk Eagle. However, his first shot leaves him well-placed but in the middle of a slope that does not allow him a good run up to attempt the feat, so he has to make a jump putt to the shore, to which Silver responds with one of the most beautiful shots of the tournament: when he only needed to cross to the other side, he closes the tournament in style by parking his drive again with 120 meters of flight over the water with the basket very close to the shore.

Undoubtedly, a great prize for Silver Lätt, who after ten years of competition achieves a well-deserved first victory in an A-Tier Tournament—in addition to the €5,000 prize money— to close a brilliant season for him and an exciting PDGA Euro Tour that has allowed us to enjoy top-level competitions over 12 events during 5 months: we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

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