FINLAND GET THE WINNER TITLE DURING THE COSTA BALLENA INTERNATIONAL WOMAN´S MATCH 2022
The Finnish amateur international team won the Costa Ballena Women’s Quadrangular International Match on 2022
At the start of each year, Costa Ballena Ocean Golf Club transforms itself into a stage for international golf competition on which top amateurs teams perform from a wide variety of European countries.
On one hand, the Men’s Octagonal International Match is held annually at the end of January, which is an evolution of the popular quadrangular match format. This has been taking place in this part of Cadiz province since 2001 and Spain holds the record for the number of wins, with an eleventh triumph in 2022.
Then there’s the Women’s Quadrangular International Match as well, an event which grew from the idea of holding a women’s version of the original men’s quadrangular and which in turn takes over in the RFEG calendar from the Spain-Sweden match that was played on the same dates since 2005 and which saw the best players from both countries taking part, many of them now successful professionals. Anna Nordqvist, Carlota Ciganda, Azahara Muñoz and Caroline Hedwall played in a contest that became a European classic.
The exciting mix of nationalities at these events and the magnificent facilities have given an international boost to Costa Ballena Ocean Golf Club, which has become a centre of excellence for training and the perfect place to prepare for competition seasons. It is for good reason that for two decades it has been a winter training base for national golf associations and elite teams from northern and central Europe.
This year (2022) it was a historic moment when the Finnish team won the Women’s Quadrangular International Match. Following on from this victory, we talked to their coach and captain, Jussi Pitkanen.
The Finnish team has taken part in most of octagonal matches, and later quadrangular matches, that have been held in Costa Ballena since 2000. This was your first victory, what was the key?
As you say, these tournaments were already a classic for our team. We know well the quality of teams like Spain, Sweden and Denmark, and previously the German team, because we have already had experience playing against them. So, with that in mind, the training sessions have been aimed at getting the players to focus on their game, avoiding difficult situations and making it as easy as possible.
The role of the coach is never easy because one shouldn’t influence the players’ game too much. My philosophy is to let them play their game, and it has worked.
And how have you found the Spanish team?
Spain is always a very strong team. In fact, we didn’t want to play against the Spanish in the first match and getting a draw with them gave us a lot of confidence.
You live in Spain, specifically in El Puerto de Santa María, so you know the courses in the area and Costa Ballena well. How have you found the facilities?
Yes, I’ve lived here for four years, and I know the course well. For me they are the best rounds in the area. The greens are taking shape and were spectacular.
We have seen a drop in the number of golfers coming to the courses due to worldwide mobility restrictions. Do you think the teams from Finland will come back to do their winter training at Costa Ballena?
In the Finnish golf association, we have a long history of visiting Costa Ballena and our hope is that teams of young golfers can still come here and get to know the area. For us, and especially for me living here, it is a paradise and the climate and facilities are unbeatable.