EuroTour 2007

After a grouling week in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at Highbridge, we headed for Chicago for a flight to Stockholm, Sweden for a 3 week Eurotour. The flight only took 7 hours until a quick layover in Amsterdam were we met up with our good friend Arthur Haverkamp to catchup on things seeing that we have not seen him in over a year. Then onward to Sweden where we were picked up by Anders Kallstrom. We were invited to stay at the Kallstrom household throughout the entire week for the Stockholm Open.

On Friday before the Stockholm Open, Dave and I played in the Swedish Doubles Championship against the best players in Sweden. It was a two round tournament on a medium to short length course with lots of opportunity to score birdie, playing modified best shot. It is a variation in which you may not take the same players drive more then twice in a row. When that does happen you are then forced to take the other players drive on the next hole. We shot a 13 under the first round due to a poor decision on whether to take one the drives, which resulted in us missing the last three holes of the first round. This score tied us up with Anders Sward and Markus Kallstrom, the three-time defending champions, along with Linus Anstrom and Erik Bostrom also at 13 under bringing on a 3 way tie for the lead. We came out the second round scoring birdie on the first 7 holes and the defending champs hanging with us the whole match. Through a tough stretch of holes we gained a one stroke lead going into the final three holes. They were forced to take Anders’ drive on the very long 16 hole and Markus then hoisted in a 60’ footer from downtown to tie up the match. Feldberg then chained out for ace after calling the shot to regain the lead, we remained tied going into the last and final hole. On the 18, Markus was forced take his drive as he gunned for the tight, narrow fairway using a firebird with too much heat, leaving it 35’ long in the rough. Dave and I placed both of shots within 35’ with Dave’s at 25’. They then missed on both putting attempts out of the woods and I stepped up to final putt to seal the deal. We claimed our first international doubles title as we were crowned the 2007 Swedish Doubles Champions, even though Anders and Markus were given the trophies because we were not from Sweden. It was all fair being as they were amazing competitors and played a tight match all the way til the end, it was great to play in such a different environment, meeting lots of new friends. Thanks to Markus Kallstrom and his family for his hospitality and putting us up for the week during the tournament and the wonderful breakfasts and dinners that his mother prepared for us.

The opening round of the Stockholm Open at Jarva Disc Golf Course started with the many of the local favorites such as Jesper, Markus and Linus making the top couple of cards along with Dave and I. Jesper was playing some great golf as he jumped out to the early lead after Saturday’s play. Brigitta took the lead over Val and Burl after the first two rounds. That night Val, Burl, Dave, Markus and I went out to an amusement park in downtown Stockholm along with Anders Sward, Daniel Strandberg, Jesper Lundmark, Brigitta and the rest of Team Sweden. We roamed the park as a giant group, going on every roller coaster they had to offer, it was a blast. Just as we were about to leave, we played a number game where I won this giant candy bar looking box that contained over 40 “Plopp” candy bars which lasted the remainder of the Eurotrip.

On Sunday we finished up the third and final round before the final 9 to finish the tournament. During the round, I shot very well and I moved up into mix in place spot with Jesper leading, Feldberg in and Emil Isaksson in going into the final 9. Brigitta was still in the lead followed by Burl, Val and local favorite Ragna. I enter the final 9 back by 6 to the lead and 3 strokes to 2nd, so I had some ground to make up in 9 holes. I increased my separation on 4th as I came up with some great throws starting the catch on Feldberg in until I tried to go big on one of the longer par 4’s and gave some strokes back to the field. I was then tied with Emil for 3rd, it was time to go big and I did as I birdied the par 4 on the 8th hole, then sealed it up with a par on the final hole to take solo. Jesper played a great tournament and held off Feldberg for the Stockholm Open title. The gallery was very energetic and involved throughout the finals; we put on a great show. Birgitta held on to 1 win with Burl placing second, Val placing 3rd and Ragna finished in front of her hometown crowd.

We all said our goodbyes and thanks to the tournament staff as we packed up everything into our good friend Espen’s car in route for Norway on a 6 hour drive. We planned to hang out for a week to rest and relax before the European Open the following week. I would have to say that Norway is definitely the most expensive country that I have ever been to due to high oil reserves and increased income rates. To give you an idea, big mac, fries and a coke cost around $17 US on the conversion, with beer costing $10 – 12 US a pint, gas cost around $9.50 a gallon and coffee cost $5. It was not the products were of any better quality, they just cost way more but the food was really good and definitely worth it. So we partied every night as we went out a lot to some great bars and clubs in downtown Oslo spending “krongies”. The rest and relaxation we were all looking for. We took off for Tampere, Finland the following Monday to get there early enough to get some practice in. Thanks to Espen for letting us hang at his apartment all week long as he took vacation from work while we were there in order to show us around and party, it was an experience that I will never forget.

Val, Burl, Dave and I first flew into Helsinki and took a 3 hour bus ride into Tampere to check into the Sokos Ilves hotel located in city center. It was one the best hotels that I have ever stayed at provided by the generosity of Jussi Meresma the European Open tournament director. I roomed with my good friend Nate Doss for the remainder of the trip. We arrived at course that afternoon to get in a round that day and prepare for the Presidents Cup to be played on the Wednesday before the start of the actual tournament; we were greeted by Jussi’s wonderful parents and many of the local players. The course was medium to long in length with a good variety of wooded to open holes offering plenty chances for birdie on many of its long par 4’s and shorter par 3’s. Team America was ready for this year’s competition against a hungry Team Europe whom was defeated on their home turf the previous year.

Team America consisted of Ken Climo, Nate Doss, Dave Feldberg, Valarie Jenkins, Carrie “Burl” Berloger, Terry Roddy, Dana Lawton and myself. It was the same team as the previous with the addition of Terry and Dana to the team as Jussi wanted to add two masters to each team in order to expand the field of players for more competitive action throughout the day. Team Europe consisted of Jesper Lundmark, Timo Pursio, Markus Kallstrom, Anders Sward, Brigitta Lagerholm, Angelica Frantz, Christer Kohler and team captain Hans Teggliback. The Presidents Cup is the most prestigious team events that I have ever been a part of due to the professional announcement of the teams and the media press conferences along with embroidered team shirts that the players receive prior to play.

The Presidents Cup began with the players playing 9 holes of straight stroke play with the winner receiving 4 points for the win, 2 points for 2nd, 1 point for 3rd and o points for last in the group. The groups were randomly seeded in the Open division with the women’s and maters grouped together. Throughout the front 9, Team America jumped to a huge lead winning a majority of the stroke play points, needing only 4 wins in match play. The next 9 holes consisted of straight up match play, as the players were randomly seeded and played against a player on the other team in their respective divisions throughout remainder of the event. Team Europe regained many of their points lost in the previous matches as they played with their backs against the wall and fought with vengeance down the stretch. In the end, with key wins on the final holes, Team America was victorious again with Burl being named MVP with her clutch 50’ footer on the final deciding hole to clinch the title. She was the recipient of this year Presidents Cup, which she will display proudly until next years competition.

The European Open began the next day with the excitement that every large PDGA major brings forth. I have been looking forward to this event for a long time, it is one of the best competition events that we get to play all season long. I managed to shoot a decent score the first round to move into 3rd and get a spot on the lead card with Climo jumping out to an early lead along with Brigitta in the Women’s division. The leads changed throughout the next few days as Feldberg and Burl regained the positions that they had held the previous year and Climo then regained the lead after 3 rounds of play. I dropped to the top of the second card going into the final round on Sunday along with Finland’s greatest player Timo Pursio. The last round we were definitely pulling for each other as we were both gaining strokes on the lead card throughout the round, we continued to cheer each other on. I had a bit of a rough finish to place 5th in the tournament as I passed Jesper off the lead card, but then I was passed by Markus as he shot the best round all week long the final round to edge me by a stroke. Climo took home the title in the Open division with a 6 stroke win and Burl regained her European Open title. Congrats to the winners. Thanks again to Jussi and Visa for putting on an amazing, professional event; a tournament I will never miss for years to come. I know that I should have played been throughout the week but due to Nate, Val and I staying out every night partying at various bar and clubs every night until 5 in the morning it made it difficult to get enough sleep at night, but trust me it was well worth it. Nate Doss is hands down one of the funniest people that I have ever met; he had me laughing in tears every single day. I had a blast hanging out with our Finnish friends and experiencing everything that Finland had to offer. I cannot wait until we return to Europe next year for the Scandinavian Open in Sweden. For all of those who have not been to Europe to play Disc Golf I strongly recommend it and hope that everyone will consider it, an experience that will last a lifetime.

Next Tournament: The FullThrottle Challenge at Solitude Mountain Resort – Salt Lake City, Utah.


Comments are closed.