Bischofshofen, Austria – The 2016 WMF Minigolf Youth World Championships, one of the main worldwide minigolf events of the year, were played from August 10th through August 13th. Eleven countries were represented as 73 under-19 youth competed for both team and individual titles over the four days. Two major stories heading into the tournament were if weather would impact play and if the Germans would continue to dominate the youth categories as they did earlier in the U23 Nations Cup.
Rain caused many interruptions during the first two days of the tournament and schedules had to be moved around so that players could continue under the tarp-covered miniaturegolf course instead of the concrete course. However, all eight rounds were completed as scheduled and at the end, Germany emerged on top of both the male and female youth categories. In the male youth category, Germany showed dominance over them all, easily finishing atop Sweden for first place, even though two Swedish players were the only males to post 19s in the first 8 rounds. Sweden just as easily kept silver over the Czech Republic team, due in part to those low scores. Italy, in their return to the world stage after 5 years, finished 6th in the male youth division.
In the female youth category the competition wasn't much tighter as the German girls, with the help of the only 19 in 8 rounds on the female side, took first place over Sweden, who stayed ahead of Russia who took the bronze in this division.
The individual championships told a different story after 12 rounds of 18 holes each as the Czech Republic players showed their strengths, but the German youth still found many places on the podium. In the female youth, Alena Doleželová of the Czech Republic took the stroke-play championship over German Sarah Schumacher by four strokes, despite Sarah posting the only female 19 of the stroke-play rounds. When it came time for match-play on 4th day of competition, the results were flip-flopped. Schumacher easily handled most of her matches, finishing with a victory over Jasmin Hansson of Sweden and Alena Doleželová finished in the bronze position. Michaela Swirlein of Germany finished third in the stroke-play competition.
On the male youth side, Ondřej Škaloud left no doubt as to who the best male youth miniature golfer in the world was, but the road to that title wasn't easy. The stroke-play side was tight as only 2 separated first through fifth place but Škaloud beat out James Lindström of Sweden for the top spot in 'sudden death' playoff. On the match-play side, many of the matches were close but this time Škaloud clipped Benedikt Schwickert of Germany in the final game for the championship. Manuel Szablikowski of Germany finished 3rd in both competitions. Martin Tomanek, WMF Youth Officer and Tournament director had this to say about Ondřej Škaloud, "He is arguably the most devoted minigolf player I have ever met….he definitely deserves the immense success he achieved in Bischofshofen." He also notes that "He is a boy of very good nature - very friendly, he never loses his good mood and he is a good teammate, too."
In other statistics, Germany dominated the most aces in a row category during stroke-play with both their male and female youth contributing as Michaela Zwirlein took the top spot and Ole Riewe following one behind in second.
The tournament organizers should also be applauded for dealing with the adverse weather conditions and ensuring that all 12 rounds were played during the tournament.
The next major event for the World Minigolf Sport Federation and for the European Minigolf Sport Federation is the Open European Championship being held in Vizela, Portugal August 24th through August 27th. More information can be found on www.minigolfsport.com.
The World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) is the umbrella organization of 57 Minigolf sports association's worldwide with continental associations in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. There are more than 38,000 competitive minigolf players registered with the WMF via the 57 member nations, with 900-plus clubs between them. Over 1,000 courses are approved for official competitions and around 1,500 minigolf tournaments held each year.
Female Youth Top 3 Individual Scores (after 12 rounds):
Alena Doleželová (CZE) - 320
Sarah Schumacher (GER) - 324
Jasmin Hansson (SWE) - 328
Male Youth Top 3 Individual Scores (after 12 rounds):
Ondřej Škaloud (CZE) - 309
James Lindström (SWE) - 309
Manuel Szablikowski (GER) -310
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WMF Sport For All Committee
WMF Media Manager