WILTSHIRE’S Kane Kauppinen finished third in a FootGolf Association of England tournament at Bassett Downs Golf Club last week.

Footgolf is a mix of football and golf where the aim is to kick a regular football into a slightly larger cup in as few shots as possible.

The person who scores the lowest at the end of a certain number of around 50-100 yard holes is declared the winner.

The competition operated in a matchplay format throughout, with a group stage followed by a knockout phase similar to that of football’s Champions League.

Kauppinen came in with modest expectations and admitted he was surprised he managed to progress as far into the 63-man competition as he eventually did.

But after picking up a bronze medal, the Chippenham man stated he couldn’t be happier with his performance.

He said: “I’m massively proud of the achievement, and I was quite surprised that I finished as high as I did because there were some quite big names in the world of footgolf at the event.

“It was the first national competition that I’d taken part in, so to come third, I was massively surprised and really proud.”

The overall competition was won by Nottingham’s Jason Parkinson, with club mate Shaun Lindsay finishing runner-up.

Those who didn’t make it through to the knockout phase played in a supplementary competition called The Basset Down Cup. That competition was won by Chris Hopton, while Paul Boulton reigned supreme in the O45 bracket.

In the Women’s category, Claire Williams won with Sarah White the runner-up.

Kauppinen explained that a person’s footballing ability does not necessarily mean they will be good or bad at footgolf.

The Chippenham man revealed he had only been playing for less than two years after being convinced to give the sport a try by some keen friends.

He said: “There’s elements of football that come into it, being able to kick a ball obviously really helps, but the closer shots are a completely different way of playing.

“In football, you’re firing it into someone to control whereas in foot golf, you’re trying to stop it in a certain spot which has its challenges.

“I’ve only been playing it regularly over the past year to 18 months, so I was really pleased with how I performed.”

Organisers stated before the tournament began that everyone who took part would receive ranking points in order to qualify for national representation spots later on in the season.

Asked whether Kauppinen would fancy pulling on an England shirt if he was able to qualify, the modest footgolfer suggested he still has some way to go before that can be realistically considered.

He said: “I think I’m a bit far away from being able to represent my country because some of the guys who are playing all the time are effectively semi-pro.

“For me, I’m just playing it at the weekend or when I get time. If I could eventually play for my country, that would be an amazing achievement, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet.”

The FAE will be back at Basset Down for another event on Saturday, June 19 for an 18-hole strokeplay competition.

For more information about footgolf or how to register for the next event, go to www.fgaengland.com.