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Best Friend Battle: Hansen and Handley to Contend for Title

Best Friend Battle: Hansen and Handley to Contend for Title

2024 DGPT - OTB Open Round 2 Recap

Sunday, May 19, 2024 - 09:37

As the FPO lead card prepared to round the corner of hole 18 on Saturday, it looked to all the world like a three-woman race heading into championship Sunday.

Instead, Kat Mertsch hit an early tree -- one of the large majestic oaks that pepper the Swenson Park golf course -- and sent her next shot out of bounds on the way to a deflating triple bogey.

It was an unfortunate turn for a play who had, until that point, produced at such a high level including highlights like an obstructed C2 putt on hole 7 that was off-the-charts in terms of difficulty.

Meanwhile, her card mates, Ella Hansen and Holyn Handley, conquered hole 18 like they had conquered the rest of the course on their way to a 12-under course record and 11-under, respectively.

Their birdies on 18 produced a four-shot swing with Mertsch, giving the pair a seven-shot cushion heading into championship Sunday.

It will be must-see TV as Hansen and Handley, known as two of the closest friends on the Disc Golf Pro Tour, battle it out for a chance at their first Elite Series win.

"It’ll be interesting tomorrow,” Hansen said about the matchup. “Definitely bringing some intense but friendly vibes. We practice together all the time and we think very similarly about holes. It’s that kind of camaraderie, to know our own games and know how to read off each other as well.  It’s really fun, I like playing with Holyn and I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Her friend had similar thoughts.

“Hopefully we both come out really hot  and it’s a battle all the way down to the finish,” Handley said.

Rathbun One Ahead of Heimburg

On the men’s side, Gavin Rathbun will take the outright lead into the final round for the first time in his career at an Elite Series event.

Rathbun, playing on the third card, began the day with back-to-back C2 makes including a 43-footer to save par after going OB on hole 2.


Powered by a perfect 8/8 performance from C1X, Rathbun stayed bogey-free and turned in a 1066-rated (unofficial) 10-under to take a one shot lead over Calvin Heimburg, who sits in solo second place.

Heimburg, for his part, is looking particularly strong heading into the championship round. He won last week’s Dynamic Discs Open and owns 10 Elite Series titles while the other players on Sunday’s lead card will all be chasing their first.

Ezra Aderhold and Sullivan Tipton, tied for third at 15-under, will join Rathbun and Heimburg for the final round, with Paul McBeth among those within striking distance on Sunday’s chase card.

Follow live coverage of championship Sunday at the 2024 OTB Open only on the Disc Golf Network. FPO coverage kicks off at 9:00am PT/12pm ET. MPO coverage at 2:30pm PT / 5:30pm ET.

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