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2019 Pro Masters World Championships Final 9 Showdowns - Part One


After four days and with five champions already crowned, the 2019 PDGA Pro Masters Disc Golf World Championships came to an end on Saturday morning on the beautiful courses of the Smugglers’ Notch Disc Golf Center in Jeffersonville, Vermont. With clouds barreling over the scenic backdrop of the Green Mountains, six more divisions took to the tees to determine who would emerge as the 2019 world champions.

Semifinals

While the foursomes of the Masters 65+ (MP65) and the Masters 40+ Women (FP40) divisions warmed up on the Fox Run Meadows final 9 layout, the competitors that made the cut on Friday in the four largest divisions were already on the Brewster Ridge course for one last 18-hole semifinals showdown. While all four divisions saw heated battles at the cut line for finals, two of them would need sudden-death playoffs to resolve the four that would make it through.

The first playoff came from the Masters 65+ division, where the chase card’s Jonathan Baldwin and Tim Weimer finished the round with equal scores of an 11-under par 50 on Brewster Ridge Blue, also thrown by Ron Convers and Kevin Babbit of the lead card. Meanwhile, the lead card’s last player to round out their threesome, Patrick Brown, could only manage a 5-under 56, leaving Brown, Baldwin, and Weimer in a three-way tie for third place. The playoff began almost immediately after the scorecards were turned in and it wasn’t long before Brown and Baldwin ousted Weimer to earn their spots in the finals with Convers and Babbit.

The semifinals for the Masters 40+ (MP40) division left the lead card’s Steve Rico tied with the chase card’s David Madruga, as Rico finished his round on Brewster Ridge Gold with an uncharacteristic 1-under par 60 against Madruga’s 6-under par 55. In an unexpected move, Rico declined the playoff and handed the spot over to Madruga, who is not only a friend of Rico’s but is also a sponsored player for his company, Legacy Discs.

“I was done,” said Rico. “I was playing so bad and I was so frustrated. [Madruga] came back after being six shots back. He was on the up, he had all the momentum. I wanted to give him the chance to know what it’s like to compete in a Final 9 and let him show the world what he can do.”

When it was all said and done, the MP40 finals would consist of Madruga joined by Dave Feldberg, Barry Schultz, and JohnE McCray, with Feldberg teeing off three ahead of Schultz.

Sias Comes Back for Fourth World Championship Title

With the semifinals in full swing, the MP65 finals, as well as the FP40 finals, began. The MP65 field had been led all week by two legends of the sport, South Carolina’s Alan Beaver and three-time pro worlds champion Johnny Sias, separated by one stroke with the advantage to Beaver, joined by Kevin Rounds and Glenn Henry, who were in a race of their own for third place, but well out of reach from catching Beaver or Sias.

Just a few minutes into the finals, Sias had already taken over as the leader by nailing a 35-foot birdie putt on hole 1. Beaver left himself with a look to save par but missed the putt low, meaning a two-stroke swing to open the round. Beaver quickly tied it up on the hole that followed with a solo birdie of his own and the two went shot-for-shot to card pars on holes 3-6. It wasn’t until hole 7 (course hole 16) that things took a turn for the worse for Beaver, where a double-bogey put him two strokes back with only two holes to go.

Sias never gave Beaver an opportunity to gain strokes from there on and after a perfect drive down the slope of hole 9 (course hole 18) followed by a perfect anyhyzer approach, there was no looking back. Sias pitched up to within a few feet of the basket and tapped in to grab the first ever world title in the MP65 division (the division has never been offered for the world championships until this year), his fourth professional disc golf world championship title overall.

King Reigns Supreme to Become Eight-Time World Champion

The Masters 40+ Women followed a few holes behind throughout the MP65 battle, where Elaine King was slowly but surely pulling further and further away from her cardmates Susan Stephens, Sandy Gast, and Natalie Holokoi. As the winningest PDGA disc golfer of all time, and already a five-time Open Women’s world champion and two-time Masters 40+ Women’s world champion, King was in a class all her own.

Starting the finals with a lead of eight and more experience under the pressure of a world championship than all three of the other women combined, there was simply not going to be anyone making a run at the title. King was proud of her finals performance, stating that she played nearly perfect on the Fox Run loop. Her bogey-free score of 30 for the final 9 was unmatched and she would eventually tap in for her eighth world championship title finishing 15 ahead of second place finisher Stephens. Holokoi made a run at the second place position after starting from fourth, finishing one stroke behind Stephens and three ahead of Gast.

Only the MP60, MP55, MP50, and MP40 remained, where Dave Greenwell, Mitch McClellen, Ron Convers Jr., and Dave Feldberg would eventually drop in their putts to become world champions, respectively. Check back tomorrow for more details about how those battles shook out.

Final results, round ratings, and payouts »

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