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Ricky Ends an Era, Val Continues a Legacy


Photo Credit: AJ Risley #25890

There is no day more exciting in this sport than the last day of the PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships. Rain or shine, the most sought after title in disc golf is on the line, Pro Worlds Champion. Thankfully for the players, the staff, the volunteers, and the spectators, Emporia finally gave us a break from the heat without compromising sunshine. It was an ideal day for disc golf that led to epic showdowns.

Semifinals

Five divisions played Semifinal rounds in the morning before heading over to Emporia Country Club for the Finals. As only the top four players would make the cut for Finals, the more important battle was generally for the 4th place spot instead of the 1st. The morning flew by and before we knew it, each of the five divisions had finished their rounds. It was time for the big show.

The most significant story that emerged from the Semifinal rounds was in the Open Women’s division, where Paige Pierce #29190 and Catrina Allen #44184 had been trading the lead all week. When Round 4 ended on Thursday, Catrina lost the two stroke lead she began the round with, letting both Paige and Val finish ahead of her.

Paige went into the Semifinals as the leader, four ahead of Val, six ahead of Catrina. Teeing off at Peter Pan Park DGC, the dramatic swing that took place the day before quickly began to reverse itself. Paige carded five bogeys on the front nine to start the round giving Val Jenkins the spot at the top for the first time all week. The back and forth continued throughout the morning and they would eventually turn in their cards with Paige and Catrina tied for the lead with Val just one stroke behind.

Open Division lead card parking Hole 10 at Jones East during the Semifinals.

There wasn’t much movement at the top of the Open division, although some valiant efforts were made. The top four when the round began were Ricky Wysocki #38008, Nikko Locastro #11534, Paul McBeth #27523, and Cameron Colglazier #47407, with Colglazier being the one that the players below were looking to replace.

Cameron Todd #12827 and Eagle McMahon #37817 both made serious runs at the coveted fourth spot, finishing their Semifinal at Jones East with scores of 11 under par. It came down to the wire. Cam Todd birdied his last hole of the round to tie it up with Colglazier, but Colglazier finished strong with a birdie on 18 that sealed his position for the Finals.

Val Jenkins Wins Her 4th World Championship

The Open Women’s Final 9 began a little over an hour after their Semifinal round ended. It wasn’t much of a break, but scheduling it this way meant that SmashBoxxTV would be able to broadcast their Final 9 live and the fans at home definitely deserved a chance to watch such an amazing battle. Sarah Hokom #34563 joined them for the Final 9 as the 4th player. The supergroup of supergroups. Four women with eight World Champion titles between them.

Catrina went bogey-bogey to start the round, putting herself in 3rd place but easily within striking range. When they arrived at the tee of Hole 5 (course Hole 13), Paige was leading by one over Val, two over Catrina. There is nothing too difficult about the hole. There is an OB cart path on the right and OB left in the wooded area, but the hyzer line is wide open.

Val had the box and finished safely into the fairway; a standard safe hyzer so she could take an easy par. Little did she know just how important that was about to become. Paige’s first drive, OB. Paige’s second drive, OB again! Catrina’s drive, OB! What just happened?!

In one hole Val gained two strokes on Catrina and four on Paige, leaving only four holes left for them to close the gap. But Val didn’t allow it. All Val needed to do was play par golf to finish, but she went for the island green of Hole 8 anyway. It’s a shot that many of the Open division players avoid, but she nailed it along with Sarah Hokom to get a great birdie in front of the crowd.

Val tapped in on Hole 9 to become the PDGA Women’s Professional Disc Golf World Champion, once again. After a six year gap, Val now has four world titles; 2007, 2008, 2009, & 2016.

Wysocki Goes Wire-to-Wire for the World Title

In the Open division, the story is pretty simple. Ricky Wysocki has been a mission this year to prove that he is the best player in the world. What better way to do so than to win the World Championships?

Ricky has been battling against Paul McBeth for years. Year after year, Paul has edged out the competition at the World Championships to win the last four in a row, including one that ended in a sudden death playoff against none other than Ricky in 2014. Ricky took the lead from day one on a technicality, as Paul’s round of -15 was later changed to -13 because of a misplay penalty.

Because of this, it’s fair to say that Ricky went wire-to-wire for his win yesterday at Emporia Country Club. Paul made a move during the semifinals, bringing Ricky’s lead down to five, but there was simply no stopping Ricky from winning this one.

No real ground was ever gained on Ricky during the Finals, and he seemed drunk with happiness through the last few holes. Ricky is known for staying so intense that he often doesn’t say a word during the round, other than calling out his score. As he made his way up the fairway of 18 (Finals Hole 9), he was talking back and forth with the fans, and smiling like we have never seen before.

Even though Ricky’s birdie putt was well within his range on the last hole, he laid up to under the basket. With an enormous gallery crowded around the green, Ricky slowly walked up after everyone else had holed out, and laid his putter in the basket to end the McBeth era, earning his first ever win at the PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships.

This amazing event would not have been possible without the incredible support from the City of Emporia, the Dynamic Discs team, all of the media teams involved, and of course, the volunteers who worked tirelessly in the heat all week. We simply cannot thank you all enough.

Stay tuned for Part 2, covering the other seven divisions that had their Final 9 at Emporia Country Club yesterday at the 2016 Pro Worlds!

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Comments

Submitted by pjinks on

Ricky may have ended a streak, but I think it's a stretch to say he ended an era. It's one win. A good one, but just one -- for now. Highly doubtful the McBeth era is over.

Thanks for the feedback. I have heard this comment a lot. I was only suggesting that the era of McBeth winning Worlds back-to-back came to an end. In no way would I ever say that Paul McBeth is done winning. 

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