Gumpoldskirchen, Austria - The home field advantage continues to thrive as the 2023 World Adventure Golf Masters (WAGM) saw the Austrians rise to the top of several categories in the event, including team and the overall individual winner. However, it wasn’t a clear sweep for the red and white as several other countries battled to the top of individual categories this past weekend.
This year’s tournament teed off on June 16th and concluded on June 18th, having winners in national teams, individual overall, individual categories (youth, senior, etc) and mixed pairs. There were 104 total putters vying for the top spot from 11 countries. It was a mix of club players and national teams so the 104 players ended up making national teams from 10 different countries, and of the total 22 were female-identifying players.
It was clear from the start that the track in Gumpoldskirchen was going to be different from Finland and Sweden the past few years and keeping scores in the green (below 36) was going to be a challenge over the three days of play. Teeing off the first three rounds, one putter managed to do so that day, Erik Nilsson, a youth putter from Sweden who finished at the top of the day one board with 34-34-35 for 103. This was tied with a familiar youth name in both WAGM and other adventure golf tournaments, Matěj Vlček from the Czech Republic who’s third round of 31 tied the course record. Despite the challenge of the course there would be a decent amount of 31s sprinkled in by top players throughout the tournament, including one by Marko Nuotio from Finland in his first round. Marko was coming off a win earlier in the year at the Finnish Adventure Golf Masters, which also secured him a spot in the World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) World Adventure Golf (WAG) Tour Final next year in the Czech Republic.
Day two saw the Austrian players start to take over the leaderboard with the next three rounds that marked the end of the national teams competition. In the end they were too much to hold off as the Austria 1 team of Patrick Reiner, Christian Adler, Karl Lajos and Hannes Hahsler squeaked into the top spot by 2 strokes over the 6 rounds thanks in part to a 31 in that round by Reiner. The Austria 2 team of Fabia Spies, Elizabeth Gruber, Mario Dangl and Christian Gobetz took the silver in that battled and the Finland 1 team of Mark Nuotio, Mikko Oinonen, Tommi Lantta and Tom Ahlberg would clear the bronze by nine strokes.
On Sunday the individual players teed off for one more qualifying round before the top 18 made the super-final 8th round. Five countries managed players in the top 18 but the Austrian dominance continued to show with Riener taking the overall win by two strokes, followed by Spies in silver. Kevin Sundström from Sweden finished in bronze, three back from Spies and three ahead of a two way tie for fourth with Nuotio and Gobetz. You can see Patrick's winning shot here. Patrick had this to say about the event:
"It was really a dream that came true together with my teammates Karl Lakos, Hannes Hahsler and Christian Adler when we took first place together with the team. The fact that I was able to fulfill my dream with first place in the men's category and overall cannot be put into words at all. It will be a while before I release it."
Patrick Riener on the Course
Eight mixed pairs teams came out of the six round qualifications and played for the final medals of the day. It was heavily in favor of the Austrians with three of the eight teams but two time WAGM champion Gunnar Bengtsson helped carry his team with Wilma Harrysson to the top spot by three strokes scoring an impressive 68 in the two finals rounds. It took five holes to settle silver as the Finnish team of Sandra Walker and Marko Nuotio edged the Austrian team of Petra Riegler and Karl Lakos.
Mixed Pairs Podium
Other category winners included: Matěj Vlček (Czech Republic) - Male Youth; Olivia Prokopová (Czech Republic) - General Class Woman; Petra Riegler (Austria) - Female Seniors; Patrick Riener (Austria) - General Class Men; Christian Adler (Austria - Male Seniors); Rebecka Johansson (Sweden) - Female Youth. You can find lots of pictures from the event on our Facebook page or SmugMug gallery.
The 2024 World Adventure Golf Masters will be held at Bowling Brno in the Czech Republic. This will be the same location as the WMF WAG Tour final.