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Estonian Open: Jones Tops Wysocki & Conrad; Tattar Back to Winning Ways


Kevin Jones took home the win in his first European tournament. Photo: PDGA Europe

With Estonia just a hop, skip, and a ferry ride away from Finland, the seventh EuroTour event of the season, the Estonian Open, offered the perfect warm-up for this week’s PDGA Major, the European Open. And if the action in Estonia was a harbinger of what’s to come, we’re in for some exciting rounds in Nokia.

In Open, three familiar U.S. players—Kevin Jones, Ricky Wysocki, and James Conrad—were separated on the podium by razor-thin margins. Though Conrad entered the third and final round with a large lead over Jones after shooting back-to-back course records, a disappointing final round opened the door for both Jones and Wysocki to leapfrog him; notably, Wysocki did so from the chase card. Jones finished with a 27-under par 150, Wysocki at a 26-under par 151, and Conrad at a 25-under par 152.

In the Open Women’s division, Estonian Kristin Tattar bounced back from her first loss of the season at Tyyni in late June, with her winning score of an even-par 177 gave her a comfortable win on her stomping grounds over second-place Maris Perendi’s 5-over par 182. Madli Vaht took third with a 13-over par 190.

Jones Triumphs; Wysocki’s Second Tastes “Bittersweet;” Conrad Still Feels Confident

Before the final round started, the Estonian Open seemed very likely to go James Conrad’s way. Though Jones had matched his course record during 12-under par during round one, Conrad’s 13-under par second (breaking the record he and Jones had just set) gave him a five-stroke cushion over his fellow American before the final.

After the round got going, it was a different story.

“I really didn’t feel like a lot changed between rounds two and three,” Conrad reflected. “Round three was just a weird one. It felt like one of those where nothing would go my way…the small mistakes were all amplified. Some of my good shots left me tough lies or straddle putts I wasn’t able to execute on. My shots that were off definitely got penalized, and a couple of nice-looking putts early didn’t catch.

“I would guess that watching my round it didn’t look too bad,” he continued. “I just wasn’t able to score.”

The “weird” round put Conrad well off his previous pace, and he ended at just par, letting both Jones’ 7-under and Wysocki’s 12-under charge from the chase card overtake him. Despite the disappointing finish, Conrad is still feeling ready for the Major in Finland.

“Even with a poor final round, the Estonian Open gave me confidence in my game going into the European Open,” he said. “My release, lines, focus, and outside-the-circle putts all felt really good. I want to spend some time on those 8-10 meter putts…as I definitely left some out there from that distance.”

Wysocki dealt with some adversity on the course himself, saying that not being “in the right mindset” for round one—he scored a 4-under par that day—led him to be 11 strokes off of Conrad’s field-leading pace after two days of play. But luckily for Wysocki, changing his mentality came easily.

“I just told myself I have to change my mindset and get back into a top three finish,” he said.

He did just that by shooting the hot round of a 12-under par 47 in the final, catapulting him to the runner-up slot.

“I’m feeling very bittersweet that I lost this one, but at the same time proud that I was able to bounce back from such a horrible round one,” Wysocki said. “…[But] this event was a total warm-up for the European Open and I have a lot of stuff I can take with me into next week to give myself a chance to win.”

As for Jones, his 12-under, 8-under, and 7-under showings were more consistent than Wysocki and Conrad’s and earned him a win in his first-ever PDGA event in Europe. In a field that included his fellows on the podium, American stalwarts like Eagle McMahon, and other strong European and U.S. players, it’s a win that’ll boost his confidence for the European Open.

Tattar Bounces Back But Still Mistrusts Putter

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Despite woes on the green, Kristin Tattar still notched the victory. Photo: PDGA Europe

Though a 972-rated 1-under par performance from 870-rated Vaht put her in first after round one, she couldn’t keep up that pace and fell behind the more even-keeled Tattar and Perendi. When the final round began, Perendi trailed Tattar by four strokes but still thought the win was possible.

“I was definitely trying to catch Kristin,” Perendi said. “I knew that she had been struggling with her putting recently, so there could have been some chance for me. However, I was not able to capitalize on my birdie putts and upshots when I needed to, so she managed to hold her safe lead.”

Despite not being able to chase down Tattar, the 917-rated Perendi still had positive takeaways from the tournament where she averaged 942-rated golf.

“My form has been really inconsistent this season, so it was a nice surprise for me that I was able to shoot that well,” Perendi said. “I definitely did not expect those scores.”

Tattar, too, felt good about the weekend on the whole.

“I'm pretty happy with the scores,” Tattar said. “I think a score around par [on that course] is great and everything below is really, really good.”

However, as Perendi’s comments alluded to, Tattar did see a weak point in her game.

“There is only one thing that could have been working better: putting,” Tattar said, citing a problem she also had at Tyyni. “It is still not feeling good, so I actually changed to straddle putting for now.”

When asked if she was planning to work on putting before the European Open began, she said she was but “not going too crazy with it.”

With the exception of Vaht, all the players who made the Open and Open Women’s podiums at the Estonian Open will be in action at the European Open, which runs from July 18-21.

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