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Niklas Anttila - The Nordic Phenom

Nordic Phenom

If you are a fan of European professional disc golf, you already know the name Niklas Anttila. Since pursuing disc golf competitively at just 16 years old, Niklas took the European scene by storm. 

For those not familiar with his accolades, just a few highlights in the last 5 years include; Finnish Juniors National title, European Champion, Finnish National Champion, and several wins on the Prodigy Disc Pro Tour. 

Coming to America

It wasn't until this 2022 season that Niklas made the journey to Disc Golf Pro Tour and PDGA Major stops in the US, in search of greater competition and glory. His first stops proved to be a challenge as he battled in several new conditions - including ripping 30 mile per hour (48 km/h) winds!

The wind wasn’t the only thing moving fast either. DGPT life demands always being on the move - tournament rounds Thursday to Sunday, drive to the next tournament up to 20 hours away, practice a whole new course, repeat for several weeks in a row.

When asked the biggest difference between touring in Europe and the US, Niklas said, “The biggest thing is that it’s so fast. You become tired more easily with the quick schedule.”

Niklas also found himself in a whole new level of competition. Battling against disc golf legends such as Simon Lizotte, Ricky Wysocki, and Paul McBeth brought him a new perspective on competitive play.

“They are better at throwing but they also have a different mindset. They are there to be the best and win the tournament. In Europe the focus is participating and doing your best, rather than pushing to win everything.” - Niklas on competitors in the US.

United States Disc Golf Championship

Nine US tour stops later, Niklas finds himself on one of the most prestigious competitive stages in the sport - USDGC. On a mission to prove himself as more than just some European there to participate, he set his sights on proving himself as a top competitor.

“I didn’t have any placement goals, but I wanted to play smart golf. Winthrop is designed to penalize you with the tough OB, so I didn’t want to do anything crazy. Stay in bounds. Make the putts.”

A game plan well executed. Sporting a unique and highly consistent backhand, along with some huge highlight putts, Niklas found himself making history by the final round. Niklas is the first European in USDGC history to lead the tournament going into the final round. 

While the nerves of competing against the most famous names in disc golf might intimidate some, Niklas was focused on the game plan. 

“It’s easy for me to focus on picking an aiming point and angle, then executing the shots. But I also want to keep it relaxed at the same time. Talking with Tuukka (his caddy) about other things between shots and not thinking about disc golf the whole time helped.”

Nothing less than a 1090 rated Winthrop course record round was required for Gannon Buhr to ultimately catch Niklas in the final stretch of the tournament. Niklas shot a 1071 rated round himself, netting him the second place trophy over all-star cardmates Paul Mcbeth and Calvin Heimburg.

“I was trying my best to focus on my game. I have been looking up to Paul [McBeth] my whole career, but I try to be a competitor more than a fan and focus on my own game.” - Niklas on battling McBeth in the final round

We at Discmania have to take a moment to congratulate Niklas on his amazing performance over the tournament. We are ecstatic at his growth as a player since joining Team Discmania in 2018, and his stellar performance on one of the world’s biggest stages!

The Journey Continues

Though Niklas accomplished something amazing at USDGC, he now sets his sights on the future. 

“I have always said I’m not going to play a tournament if I don’t see myself winning. I don’t want to be the European that’s just there to participate. I want to be the best - that’s why I play the sport.”

We wish Niklas the best in his journey, and relish the opportunity to support his mission. If you want to support Niklas, pick up one of his most thrown discs off the tee at USDGC - the Niklas Anttila Signature Series Nordic Phenom PD!

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