The 2016 KCT came to a conclusion on Sunday 25th September with the KCT Tour Championship, played over the South East course. The course was in good condition for the time of year with the greens finally reaching their proper speeds to provide a better test for the nerves of the players.
The event is played as 18 holes handicap strokeplay where the men play from the 59 tees, senior men from the 55 tees and ladies from the 49 tees. The top 50 players from the KCT rankings were invited to participate and this led to a field of 37 players for the event, sadly reduced to 36 when Kai Kurikka had to withdraw with a knee injury. The event is set up in a similar way to the FedEx cup on the PGA Tour where the points are reset for this final such that anyone in the top 30 of the rankings has a chance to rise to the top of the rankings should they win the KCT Tour Championship and other results go their way. The top 5 players in the rankings are guaranteed to win the whole KCT with victory in the KCT Tour Championship, regardless of the performance of other players.
As the competition unfolded, the prospects of the top 5 players very quickly went to different directions. The always challenging first hole claimed two high profile victims as 3rd ranked Jarno Happo and 4th ranked Lauri Uusitalo both recorded double-digit scores to start their rounds, leaving them with a mountain to climb if they were to be in contention for victory. Veli-Pekka Hakala, the first ranked qualifier, dropped a few too many shots on the front nine which were not fatal to his chances, but 16 others were ahead of him on the day after nine holes which opened up a lot of possibilities for other players. The form players in the leading group were Pasi Puputti and Markku Virtanen each of whom were one under their handicaps after nine.
Many of the chasing players were also trying to make a move, most notably Heikki Kivioja who played the front 9 in 4 under his handicap and Minna Keski-Kastari who included birdies at the 5th and 9th in a first nine score of 40 which was 3 under her handicap. With 9 holes to go the fate of the KCT was in the balance, the advantage that Vellu had earned by qualifying in first position had been wiped out and if the results had been calculated based on the 9 hole situation there would have been a tie for the overall KCT between Vellu (the 1st qualifier) and Heikki Kivioja (the 24th qualifier).
As the back nine unfolded the ups and downs continued. Heikki Kivioja kept his good play going through the second nine, and reached the 18th tee still two shots under his handicap. Fifteen minutes later he walked off the green having carded a disastrous eleven on the 18th and his hopes for a win were over. Tarvo Viita-Aho (the 29th qualifier) recorded a fine birdie on the last to set the early clubhouse lead with a net score of level par. Minna Keski-Kastari had a difficult start to the second nine with double bogeys on 10 and 11 but recovered very well to take the lead with an excellent score of 1 under par. The target had been set for the following players.
In the leading groups, things were getting very tight. A bogey on 11 left Vellu in a dangerous position and out of the running for victory in the Tour Championship, his chances for winning the KCT overall were still very good but he would have to rely on the results of other people to get there. It was going to be close.
As the leading groups came to the final hole the fate of both the KCT Tour Championship and the whole KCT was very much in the balance. Vellu had steadied his ship with a run of pars and was sitting on a score of +4. Markku Virtanen had played a very steady round to be on -1 and Pasi Puputti had birdied the 17th to get to +1. The KCT Tour Championship would be won by either Markku or Minna, if Markku could make a par or better , he would win the Tour Championship, if he made bogey or worse the day would belong to Minna. There were still 4 possible winners for the KCT overall – a par would be enough for Markku to win, if Markku made a bogey or worse then Pasi would need a par to win, if Vellu made a par but Pasi and Markku both made bogey then Vellu would win. If all three made bogey or worse then the KCT would be won by Minna Keski-Kastari.
After Markku finished out for a bogey the Tour Championship glory belonged to Minna and after Pasi carded a double bogey Vellu was able to seal the overall KCT victory with his 7th consecutive par, a strong finish after a difficult start!
Final results of the KCT Tour Championship can be seen from here:
Final results for the KCT overall can be seen from the attached PDF kct-2016.
Congratulations to Minna for winning the KCT Tour Championship!
Congratulations to Vellu for winning the overall 2016 KCT, rounding off an excellent season!
KCT competition director
KCT 2016 lopputulokset:
Tältä sivulta löydät viimeisimmän tiedon KCT-rankingista
KCT tilanne (13.09.2016):
KCT tilanne (09.08.2016):
KCT tilanne (04.7.2016):
KCT tilanne (30.6.2016):