The weekend of Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September 2018 saw the BMGA tour arrive at Strokes Adventure golf, Margate in Kent, for the final two-day major of the season for the 2018 British Open. Participants from the UK (26), Germany(4), Sweden(2) and Czech Republic played 7 rounds over the course of two days, were then whittled down to a Final top 18 round. The eventual winner was the current British No.1 Michael Smith from Midlands Minigolf Club, but it wasn’t as plain sailing a result as many had predicted….
The 2018 British Open field ready for action at Strokes Adventure Golf in Margate.
By close of play Saturday afternoon, four rounds of the course had been completed, at the top of the leader board was a three-way tie between Michael Smith, Will Donnelly (Midlands), and Daniel Vlcek (AGHB) of the Czech Republic at (-10). Both Daniel and Will had shot the lowest round of the day of 29, 7 under par (round 3 and 4 respectively.) At that time eleven players were under par and the player in the final position of the top 18 having a four-shot cushion to those chasing.
Sunday morning saw Michael Smith become only the third person to go sub 30 on the course during the tournament, again with a 29 in the fifth round. By end of round 7 Michael (-22) had a three-stroke gap on closest rival for the overall title Daniel (-19), going into the final top 18 round.
This was the seventh time that the British Open had been hosted at Strokes Adventure Golf having taken place there previously in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015. The course is always a challenge for every player with a few lanes that always cause problems. This year was no exception with hole 11 “Heartbreak Ridge” being the hole with the highest average and accounting for over two thirds of sevens scored in the tournament.
There were a variety of prizes available over the course of the weekend and the prize winners were as follows:
Matt Dodd had the most aces outside top 18 with 23 aces across 7 rounds. He won free entry to a BMGA event of his choice within the next year.
In the Category 3&4 competition-
Martyn Williams took the bronze medal with a total of 321 (+69), including a best round of 32. Matty Exall took the silver with a total of 311 (+59) with a best round of 41. Chloe Allart-Bennett took the gold medal and won £25 with a total of 301 (+49) including a best round of 38.
In the Category 2 competition-
Matt Dodd took the bronze medal, in addition to his most aces outside of the top 18 prize, with a seven-round total of 275 (+23), including a best round of 36. Adrian Amey took the silver with a seven-round total of 270 (+18) with a best round of 34 (twice). James Rutherford took the gold medal and won £25 with an eight-round total of 280 (-8) including a best round of 31 on his way to a fifth-place finish.
In the International Championship- a tournament dedicated to the international players only- there were seven participants in total.
Lutz Brune took bronze with a seven-round total of 244 (-8). Karsten Hein took silver with a seven-round total of 241 (-11). Daniel Vlcek took gold with a seven-round total of 233 (-19). Daniel won the International Players Champion glass trophy which is his to keep.
The International Championship top three- Lutz Brune (left), Daniel Vlcek (centre) and Karsten Hein (right).
In the overall standings:
John McIver finished in fourth with an eight-round total of 278 (-10) and won £40.
2006 British Open winner Karsten Hein (Germany) finished in third place winning £60 and the bronze medal. He had an eight-round total of 276 (-12) which included a best round of 31.
Daniel Vlcek (Czech Republic) finished second winning £80 and the silver medal. He had an eight-round total of 267 (-21) which included a 29 in round three- the first sub-30 round of the tournament.
Michael Smith finished first, becoming a five-time British Open Champion (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018). He won £130, the gold medal and a glass trophy to keep. Michael had an eight-round score of 260 (-28) which included a best round score of 29 in round five.
Full tournament results can be found at http://bmga.co.uk/results/2018/2018BO/result.htm
A variety of photographs from the weekend can be found on the BMGA Facebook account at https://www.facebook.com/BMGAMinigolf/
Speaking following his victory, Michael Smith said “I am delighted to have won the British Open at Strokes Adventure Golf, Margate. It is a fantastic course in terms of its physical beauty, coastal setting, spectacular design and the challenge it provides. Additionally, owner Matt Wood puts in a lot of hard work to keep the course in excellent condition. Combining those factors with fantastic weather and a competition defined by top sportsmanship ensured an incredible weekend of minigolf. It was a very enjoyable battle with Daniel on Sunday. He got many great aces and holed some of the best 2nd putts I have ever seen on that course while showing fantastic sportsmanship throughout. It was also an honour to be presented the trophy from Marc Chapman, the current World Crazy Golf World Champion and the first ever British player to win the British Open.”
“Furthermore, I’d like to reaffirm what I said on Sunday afternoon. The BMGA Executive Committee did a fantastic job in preparing for and running such an excellent tournament, which ran smoothly throughout. The players really appreciate the warm welcome the BMGA always receives from Matt and his staff at Strokes Adventure Golf. It’s a small venue compared to some courses but in many ways this makes for a more homely feel and familial atmosphere. In addition to the course itself, that welcome is what makes it such a great venue to play a minigolf tournament at. I really look forward to returning to Strokes in the future.”
The 2018 British Open Champion- Michael Smith.
Friday 14th September also saw the traditional British Open curtain raiser- the 2018 Players Championship and International Players Championship- take place.
The Players Championship, consisting of British players, had an initial strokeplay round. This followed by the top eight going through to the next matchplay round- with positions 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6 and 4 vs 5. The four matchplay winners would then go into a final strokeplay round.
The International Players Championship, consisting of the International players, had an initial strokeplay round. This followed by the top four going through to the next matchplay round- with positions 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. The two matchplay winners would then go into a final strokeplay round.
In the British Players Championship matchplay round:
Michael Smith (1) beat Andy Exall (8) at the first sudden death hole. Martin Greenhead (7) beat Adrian Amey (2) by one hole. Dave Gomm (3) beat Scott Lancley (6) at the first sudden death hole. Will Donnelly (4) beat Chris Smith (5) by 2&1.
The scores in the final round were as follows:
1st- Michael Smith (30)
2nd- Will Donnelly (38) (winner of playoff at the second sudden death hole)
3rd- Dave Gomm (38)
4th- Martin Greenhead (44)
The 2018 Players Championship final four- (L-R) Will Donnelly, Michael Smith, Martin Greenhead, Dave Gomm.
In the International Players Championship matchplay round:
Karsten Hein (1) beat Rainer Henseler (4) by 5&4. Lutz Brune (3) beat Pauli Kuikka (2) by one hole.
The scores in the final round were as follows:
1st- Karsten Hein (33)
2nd- Lutz Brune (35)
The International Players Championship finalists- Karsten Hein (left) and Lutz Brune (right).
Following a successful weekend, BMGA chairman Scott Lancley said “This has been a great tournament, I’m glad my wishes for good weather came true. Firstly, I like to thank the European players for coming over and playing as they always bring a level of skill and concentration which players in the UK can always aspire to. Comparing scores of 10 years ago, more players this year finished with under par averages, but this course asks so much and one loose tee shot can wreck even a mediocre round. Got to say the sportsmanship and atmosphere over the weekend was noticeably friendly and I’m sure this British Open will last long in the memory of every participant. So it’s a huge thank you to Matt and the rest of the Woods family for a wonderful weekend, the felt is still in good condition, your support for our association is always appreciated and may it continue for years to come....”
The next event on the BMGA Tour is the 2018 Welsh Open which will take place at Treetops Adventure Golf in Cardiff on Sunday 7th October. Full details of how to enter can be found at http://www.minigolf.org.uk/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=952:2018-welsh-open-entry-details&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=105&Itemid=60