2023 FootGolf World Cup Orlando Championship Recap

The biggest and most successful FootGolf World Cup ended the evening of June 6 ceremoniously at Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs in Orlando, FL. Exhausted from nine days of world-class FootGolf on five challenging courses spread across Evermore Resort and Walt Disney World’s Palm Course, 972 athletes from 39 countries ate, drank, sang, and danced to celebrate the six countries which would carry World Cup trophies home: Individual Men - Hungary, Senior Men - Norway, Women – Slovakia. The team winners were: Men-France, Senior Men-Argentina, and Women-Japan.
The individual championship final rounds were played on the Evermore Orange course earlier that day. In the Women’s Division, Slovakian Lucia Cermakova (-20) began the day in second place behind Japan’s Naoko Miura, who went 1-over on the first five holes and never found her stride, while Cermakova birdied four of the first five holes and never looked backed, eventually landing atop the leaderboard with a 9-under round and a 5-shot win. Marit Schaap of Holland (-15) was second, and Miura and Sandy Levittas of France (-10) tied for third place.
Bence Bacskai of Hungary (-37) began the day leading the Men’s Division field by three strokes and widened it to four with a 9-under round and a victory over Argentina’s Gonzolo Novosad (-33), who rolled an 8-under round but could never catch up to Bacskai. Simon Rigaud of France (-30) won a third-place tiebreaker over teammate Thomas Felix.
Jan Aksel Odden of Norway (-31) roared out of third place to defeat third-round leader Sebastian Godoy of Argentina (-29). Odden played a flawless round with seven birdies and no bogeys, while Godoy, who led by three strokes after three rounds, struggled on the back nine, including a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 15th hole. Tieing for third place at -28 were Gabriel Garcia of Mexico and Frederic Hedin of France.
In the team competition Women’s division, Team Japan eked out a 2-1 win over the battling Team Slovakia. In the two singles matches, Naoko Miura, with substitute Masumi Oyama defeated Valentina Flajzikova 4 and 3. Lucia Cermakova dispatched Rina Akutsu and her substitute Yuuka Kiryu 6 and 5. In the foursome (alternative shot) match, Japan’s Haruka Maeda and Saori Kawazoe, along with substitute Erii Yamashita defeated Slovakia’s Klaudia Nemcova and Silvia Zahradnickova 2 and 1 in the tightest match of the day, and securing Japan’s World Cup trophy.
Team Slovakia also advanced to the Senior Men’s division team finals, this time facing Team Argentina, which toppled the Slovakians 2-1 with all matches coming down to the last two holes. The first singles match featured Slovakian Marek Vittek and substitute Igor Gabris defeating Argentine’s Fabian Ayala and substitute Pablo Donatti 1-up. Argentina’s Sebastian Godoy and substitute German Lavallen evened the match with a 2 and 1 victory over Slovakia’s Branislav Thron and substitute Stefan Blahovec. Argentina’s foursome (alternative shot) team of Sergio Toth and Roberto Ghezzi, with substitute Norberto Oscar Conte, secured Argentina’s World Cup victory with a tense 2 and 1 win over Slovakia’s Jozef Mraz and Viliam Mozolak, with substitute Jan Holic.
As expected, the Men’s division finals between France and Argentina was the most competitive of the day, ending in a cumulative-holes-won playoff.
The French singles team of Camel Meriem with substitute Nicolas Cozzi dominated the Argentine’s Gonzalo Novosad with substitute Diego Murua, 7 and 6. Argentina bounced back in the second singles match, which saw Ruben Leffler and substitute Nestor Garaventa dispatch France’s Thomas Felix and substitute Tony Rhodes, 6 and 5. The third singles match went to Argentine’s Nicolas Garcia and substitute Giovani Anzisi, 3 and 2. Argentina’s lead was 2-1.
The first foursome (alternative shot) match ended tied with both teams winning five holes, between France’s Kevin Place, Corentin Coirnot, and substitute Christophe Delissus playing stroke for stroke against Argentina’s Guillermo Sandoval, Facundo DeGatica, and substitute Diego Tripailao. France’s Christopher Buaillon, Alexis Bellanger, with substitute Adrien Hunault tied the match in the second foursome 1-up, over Argentine’s Andres Bilancieri, Lucas Loustau, and substitute Julian Marini. The match was tied 2.5-2.5, with the tie earning one-half point for each team.
France took the match lead 3-2 with a 2 and 1 victory in the first fourball match with Simon Rigaud, Damien Dyrdol, and substitute David Thomas defeating Argentine’s Patricio Lahitou, Aaron Macsad, and substitute Brian Villarreal. With the World Cup at stake, Argentina’s second fourball team of Christian Otero, Matias Perrone, with substitute Fernando Mentasi, in the last match of the day, defeated France’s Cedric Bonnot, Fabien Helbois with substitute Antonio Balestra 1-up. The match was tied 3.5-3.5, taking it to a cumulative-holes tiebreaker.
The World Cup match tiebreaker is based on the total number of holes won by each team. France built an early lead winning 8 holes to Argentina’s 1 in the first singles match. Argentina bounced right back, winning 7 holes to France’s 2 in the second singles match.
Score: France 10, Argentina 8.
The third singles match thrust Argentina into the cumulative holes lead, winning 5 holes to Frances’s 2. The first foursome match was a tie, with each side winning 5 holes. The second foursome match went to France with 5 holes won to Argentina’s 4.
Score: France 22, Argentina 22, and two matches remaining.
The World Cup trophy would rest upon the feet of the fourball teams. France took a 2-point lead in the first fourball, 6-4. Argentina cut into France’s 2-point margin in the last match of the day, but by only a point, 4-3.
France triumphed in the tiebreaker by a razor-thin margin of 31-30, taking home the Men’s Team Division 2023 FootGolf World Cup championship trophy. Download the CTV Sports app with its FootGolf channel to see all the action and more.
And so, we bid farewell and watch as footgolfers worldwide pursue their passion in the young and growing sport of FootGolf.