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WMF Youth European Minigolf Championships

The WMF Youth European Minigolf Championships were recently held in Naturns, Italy with a total of 88 players from eleven countries competing in the four-day event.

The overwhelming winners at the tournament were Germany who came away with a total of eleven medals (five Gold, three Silver and three Bronze) and were crowned Youth European Minigolf Champions in both the male and female categories

WMF Youth Officer Pasi Aho said “It has been a tournament that will remain in the memories of all participants for many, many years. Nice weather, beautiful resort, exciting moments in all categories, extraordinary results but especially the extremely high and professional level of the organizing committee made this event something that won't be easily forgotten.”

The Youth European Minigolf Championships was played on Miniaturegolf and Minigolf playing surfaces at SSV Naturns and saw 65 players contested the Junior Male Individual Tournament, with nine teams battling for the team competition. 23 players competed in the Junior Female category, with five teams taking part.

The countries represented at the 2011 Youth European Minigolf Championships were Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Denmark, Finland and Portugal.

The podium was the same in both the Junior Male and Junior Female Team events, with Sweden runner-up and Austria in third place.

It was an all-Germany podium in the Junior Female Matchplay competition as Katharina Benn won Gold, with Anne Bollrich runner-up and Vanessa Peuker third. Annika Dellmann was fourth.

It was another Germany one, two, three in the Junior Female individual Strokeplay competition as Vannessa Peuker was first, with Annika Dellmann runner-up and Anne Bollrich third.

In the individual Matchplay rankings Kevin Feuchtl (AUT) defeated Robin Hettrich (GER) to win the Junior Male Title. Kai Lödding (SUI) was third, with Philip Lau (GER) fourth.

In the Junior Male individual Strokeplay rankings Gerrit Below (GER) was first, with Lorenzo Levis (ITA) runner-up and Robin Hettrich (GER) third.

Pasi Aho reported the action from the tournament:

The German teams dominated both the male and female events, with the German Boys team setting a new world record on the Concrete course for six player teams with a very impressive average of 24.6 which gave them the victory and left Sweden to take Silver.

There was an interesting match also for the bronze medal position. After the first day, the home team from Italy was the favourite but suffered some difficulties in the second day, probably due to the inexperience of some of their players, which let Austria come back on the podium after the disappointing 4th place of last year in Sochi.

Right at the end of the day Switzerland also overtook the home team, getting a surprising fourth place with a quite young team. The performance of the Russian boy’s team deserves to be mentioned as they achieved seventh place, beating more experienced team like Slovakia and Finland.

The "strokeplay" title returned at the 2011 Edition of the event after some years (the matchplay system was introduced in 2007) and this offered a double title for Germany.

With a total domination of the girls event, with four girls in the top four places and Vanessa Peuker getting the title by just one stroke on the last decisive lane on Annika Delmann. Vanessa also scored the best overall score, with 231 strokes in ten rounds, and an extraordinary average of 23.1 per round. The all-German podium was completed by Anne Bollrich.

There was an incredibly close fight in the boy’s event. After a real dramatic end, the title went to Gerrit Below. After his ace on lane 16, he was quite sure to win (17 is almost a sure ace), but then he surprisingly missed the last lane, giving Robin Hettrich the chance to take him to a playoff for the title. But Robin missed the last lane too and Gerrit could celebrate the title victory. The home town boy Lorenzo Levis had the chance to play for the title, but a very unlucky "2" at lane 17 made him stay just one stroke behind Gerrit Below.

At this stage, there was a playoff for 2nd-3rd-4th place between Robin, Lorenzo and the Austrian player Kevin Feuchtl. Lorenzo was the only one to score an Ace at lane 1, getting the silver medal (which is really deserved after he achieved fourth place in Waldshut 2009 and Sochi 2010); Robin and Kevin continued to lane 2, where Robin got the bronze medal.

On the last day for the matchplay event there was double gold  reachable for Germany. In the girl’s event, there had been the usual domination of German girls that again occupied the first four places of the rankings, but with different positions. The title went to Katharina Benn (4th in the strokeplay tournament), that defeated Anne Bollrich in the final with the score 6:2. Bronze medal for the strokeplay champion, Vanessa Peuker who defeated Annika Delmann 5:4.

In the boy’s event, the matchplay tournament offered the usual surprises, with the silver medallist from the previous day, Lorenzo Levis, being knocked out of the tournament at the first stage, while the champion from the previous day, Gerrit Below, ended his tournament at the second stage.

The top four of the matchplay event saw two players from Germany (Robin Hettrich, Philip Lau), one from Austria (Kevin Feuchtl) and one from Switzerland (Kai Lodding).

The title went to Kevin Feuchtl who took revenge from the previous day’s fourth place, beating Robin Hettrich 6:4. Disappointment for the German supporters is the third/fourth place match, where Kai Lodding defeated Philip Lau 4:3 getting the bronze medal.

Pasi Aho said “This edition of Youth European Minigolf Championships ended with a very nice closing ceremony and I would like to say a big thank you to all who made this event possible: sponsors, local and regional authorities, the Italian minigolf sport federation, and last but not least the staff and volunteers from SSV Naturns, led by Josef and Stefan Zischg, who really showed how to organise a minigolf event in an almost perfect way.”

Author & Photos:
Paolo Porta / minigolfnews.com

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