Both divisions came down to some final hole drama
May 17, 2021 by Bennett Wineka in Recap with comments
Finland’s premier tour, the Prodigy Disc Pro Tour, got its 2021 season underway in Helsinki over the weekend. For what will almost certainly not be the last time this season, it came down to Henna Blomroos and Eveliina Salonen for the women’s title, and Väinö Mäkelä was taken to the brink by the deep talent pool of Finns.
Salonen and Blomroos had well-established themselves as the frontrunners heading into the final round, with Blomroos holding a one-stroke advantage of her touring partner. There was general jockeying back and forth for the lead with Blomroos holding the edge until three consecutive bogeys from her brought it back to one. A couple of two putts as the lead card made the turn kept Blomroos from adding any cushion.
Salonen made her move with a birdie on hole 15 when another Blomroos two-putt allowed Salonen to tie it back up. The 236-foot hole 16 proved to be the backbreaker, as Salonen hit a pure line to rest in the wood chips around the basket and Blomroos hit a tree off to the left side of the fairway. Her approach pinged off another tree, and the steep dropoff on the other side of the basket forced her to layup for bogey. A birdie to Salonen gave her a two-stroke lead with two holes to play, and two more bogeys stretched the final margin of victory for Salonen to four.
A 1-under final round gave Salonen a final score of 5-over par in the win. It was the only under par round of the event in the division. Blomroos finished at 9-over par total, 20 strokes ahead of third place finishers Heidi Laine and Justine Bitka.
Playing on the lead card, Väinö Mäkelä and Joonas Aalto were chasing clubhouse leader Lauri Lehtinen when they got to the tee of hole 18. Both players had just tied Lehtinen at 19-under par total with birdies on hole 17 and didn’t need to force the issue to push the competition to a playoff.
Lehtinen finished his round on a heater, recording five straight birdies to close things out and jump up off the chase card and into the lead with a 1081-rated, 11-under par final 18. As he waited, Mäkelä was first of the lead card leaders to tee on the final hole. He played a forehand straight and safe into Circle 2. Aalto played for the win, attacking the basket with a backhand. His driver hit near the elevated base of the pin and skipped straight off the hardpacked ground and OB long. Mäkelä laid up for the easy par and a spot in the playoff. Aalto had a comebacker inside the circle to save par and move on to the playoff as well, but hit the front lip of the basket and bounced away. He settled for bogey and third place.
The playoff started on hole 11, with each player clearing the sand hazard in front of the basket and hitting C1X putts for birdie. Mäkelä teed first on hole 12, sticking a high hyzer inside the circle on the 367-foot, left-turning fairway. Lehtinen also hit a hyzer inside the circle, but his disc hit a straight skip and found OB. He converted the par save, and Mäkelä converted the birdie for the W.