Antti Ahokas is among the Finnish players who could be in contention at the Finnish Open - Presented by ECCO

Antti Ahokas is among the Finnish players who could be in contention at the Finnish Open – Presented by ECCO

The field is very strong for the Finnish Open – Presented by ECCO with everybody from the Nordic Golf League Ranking being present at Masters Golf Club in Helsinki.

With defending champion, Tapio Pulkkanen, not playing this week, extra pressure is put on the Finnish Players. However, a mix of experience and new talents still brings great hope of reclaiming the title that the Finnish super talent won last year.

– Well, the Challenge Tour has become Tapio’s main tour this season. He needs a break, and we totally understand that. But of course we miss him here, Tournament Director and Promoter, Juha Juvonen explains to the ECCO Tour prior to the Finnish Open – Presented by ECCO.

However, even without the Finnish longhitter in the field, there is great expectation and believe in that the Finnish players will be able to compete with the very best on the Nordic Golf League this season.

– I still believe that some of the Finnish Players will be right in there on Saturday, when we will find our winner, Juha Juvonen explains.

– There is both some very experienced players and some good amateurs, who can do it. First of all we have three guys coming back from Asia, where they play on the Asian Tour.

The players in question are Jonas Granberg, Kalle Samooja and Jaakko Mäkitalo. The last player will for some ECCO Tour followers ring a bell, as he won the Danfoss Masters on the ECCO Tour in 2008. Mäkitalo also won the Finnish Open in 2006 and has won several other tournaments.

– I am very happy that our Asian Tour players are here this week. They will also play the Challenge Tour next week, and I expect these guys to be in good form, and I think they all have what it takes to do well both this week and in our Challenge Tour next week, Juha Juvonen explains.

Building on current form
Besides the travellers from the Far East a couple of the Finnish players on the Nordic Golf League also stand out, when it comes to current form and their chances this week.

– Players like Antti Ahokas and Mikael Salminen are also looking strong at the moment. “Antti” has played very well over a longer period. He used to play on the European Tour, and now he is fighting his way back. I know he is working really hard, and I think he will be coming back to his best very soon.

– Mikael Salminen has done well in recent weeks on both Nordic League and the Challenge Tour. He is a strong player and I think he could also do well here, but again the field is very strong, and to be in contention you have to play your best, says Juha Juvonen with great excitement in his voice to the ECCO Tour.

Last year when Tapio Pulkkanen won the Finnish Open he was merely an amateur. Juha Juvonen also predicts that given the right circumstances that achievement could be repeated this year.

– I think the amateur player, Albert Eckhardt could actually do what Tapio did last year. If he gets his short game working this week, I deffinetely think he can copy Tapio, and beat all the pros in the tournament, Juha Juvonen finishes.

Spain and Sweden the worst threat

Carlos Rodiles is battling the Nordic players this week.

Carlos Rodiles is battling the Nordic players this week.

Though there are plenty of Finnish talent in the field, Tapio Pulkkanen has left behind some big shoes to fill after last years win. To make the task even more difficult, this year’s field actually look even stronger. Names like Jesper Kennegård and Joakim Rask from Sweden, look in tremendous form, and will aim to build on a great season by securing a win on Finnish soil.

At the same time the very experienced Spaniard, Carlos Rodiles, is playing at the Finnish Open. Most golf fans remember Rodiles primarily for his second place finish at the Volvo Masters at Valderrama in 2003, and the former star will make a bid for at top-finish at the Finnish Open.

The Finnish Open – Presented by ECCO begins Thursday morning, and ends with the final round on Saturday. Throughout the week there will be a lot of golf played at the Masters Golf Club just outside Helsinki, and with free entrance all days, you can help support the stars of the in their quest for the Finnish Open trophy.

You find teetimes here and live scoring from Thursday morning here.




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