Another Sunday has come to an end and with it comes the end of the sixth PDGA National Tour event of the 2014 season. After three days of intensely close battles at the Fort Steilacoom Open we have several new champions to congratulate. Unlike many of the other National Tour events this year, we were blessed with near-perfect weather the entire weekend. The weather combined with the stacked field of top competitors made for an awesome weekend of championship level disc golf.
Unlike most major or NT events, the Fort Steilacoom Open had scheduled the final day of action in a way we don’t see very often. The pros were to tee off at 8:00am PDT for their final round. The only divisions that had a scheduled final round was the Open division and it would only include those competitors that finished the weekend in fourth place or better. This meant among other things that before noon hit there would be tournament champions to crown in the Open Women, Masters, Grandmasters, Senior Grandmasters, and Senior Grandmasters Women divisions.
In the Open Women’s division Val Jenkins #17495 added another W to her lengthy and impressive disc golf resume. She lead the Open Women’s division all weekend long throwing perfectly placed drives, parking her approaches, and most importantly, nailing huge putts basically every time she needed to. On the final round today Paige Pierce #29190, coming from a six stroke deficit, brought Val’s lead down to just two with six holes to go but would never break that barrier. Val turned in her card at the end of the day with a four stroke lead to take home her first National Tour victory of the year.
A similar story can be told about the Masters division, as Patrick Brown #25713 also lead the entire weekend and sealed the deal this morning after shooting a four under par, unofficially rated at 1000. He battled against Jay Reading #15864 all weekend long and was able to maintain his lead for the fourth and final round today to bring yet another NT victory back to San Francisco.
Marty Cook #5239 won his first NT title of the year after lading all week as well, winning by 11 overall above second place finisher Michael Williams. Kazuo Shirai #6075 would finish first in the Senior Grandmasters division despite shooting three above second place finisher Steve Simmons #19234 during their final round. Shigeko Sekiguchi #65543 was the overall winner in the Senior Grandmasters Women’s division as the only competitor in her division. She held her own each and every round all while playing with Senior Grandmasters players.
The fight for the finals in the Open division was one of the most intense we’ve seen all year. Every player at the start of the day from the leader Ricky Wysocki #38008 all the way down to 7th place was a single stroke off the person ahead of them. We can’t say for sure that this is something that’s never happened before, but it was certainly strange to see on the scoreboards. Ricky was joined on the lead card for the second day in a row by Will Schusterick #29064 ,Nate Sexton #18824, and Dana Vicich #26228.
Ricky held his lead for the entire round by simply doing what he does best, which when he’s on, is….everything. He hits his lines off the tee, he does the same with his approaches, and even if he’s slightly outside of where he intended to be for the putt, he makes it anyway. He shot a bogey-free 12 under par this morning on the Southeast course even after missing two birdie putts and an eagle putt.
The real fight this morning involved who would make the finals in the fourth place spot. On the 17th hole of the day, Dana Vicich uncharacteristically missed a birdie putt inside the circle, and unknowingly handed over his fourth place spot to Nate Doss #11794 on the second card.
After the lead card finished the 18th hole, Vicich was -28 overall and Doss was -29 overall. The chase card, having started on hole two, still had hole one to play to finish their round. Vicich’s only chance to make the finals banked on Doss taking a bogey on his final hole. Low and behold, Doss did in fact bogey. In doing so, Doss created a 3-way tie for fourth place between himself, Vicich, and Dave Feldberg #16262. All three of them would join Wysocki, Sexton, and Schusterick for the finals, now with a supergroup of six instead of four. After a four hour break they would tee off for the finals with a huge gallery supporting them.
The final nine holes was comprised of a mixture of seven holes from the Southeast course and two from the Northwest course. Ricky took back-to-back eagles on the third and fourth hole of the round, carding a two on a 515’ par four and a three on an 840’ par five. There really wasn’t much of a story after that. Even after taking a double bogey on the fifth hole of the finals, there was really no chance of catching him. He tapped in a par putt on the ninth hole to take home his second National Tour win of the year.
Congratulations to all of the winners at Washington state’s first ever NT event and we look forward to seeing everyone that played here at the 2014 PDGA Professional World Championships starting on August 12th just a few hours away in Portland, OR. High resolution pictures from the Fort Steilacoom Open can be found on the PDGA Flickr page and you can find plenty of other pictures and videos from the weekend by reading through @PDGALive’s tweets on Twitter.
We hope to see you all at the 2014 Pro Worlds!
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