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Dickerson Weathers Two Storms for First Major Victory


Chris Dickerson delivered under pressure throughout to become the 2020 United States Disc Golf Champion. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen / PDGA

In the midst of battling for a career win, Chris Dickerson smiled when things started to go sideways, assisted a card mate with his lie and came up clutch in the biggest of moments.

The Tennessee native was, simply, all class throughout at the 2020 United States Disc Golf Championship.

Dickerson weathered the storm in two ways, battling through a torrential final-round downpour and an absolute heater from the chase card, to grab his first PDGA Major victory on Saturday at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

“Like I said before, I think this is the biggest tournament of the year because it’s always at the same place and it’s the most prestigious tournament of the year,” Dickerson told Terry Miller and Jamie Thomas of the Disc Golf Network. “It just feels great.”

Even when things weren’t going great as the rain set in and Calvin Heimburg was on an absolute tear – going 9-under through the first 10 holes – Dickerson was shown on the USDGC coverage with his hat backwards and a big smile.

But don’t get fooled, it was all business and it had to be for Dickerson, a two-time DGPT Championship winner without a regular-season DGPT or National Tour victory in his career.

“There have been a few tournaments where I’ve been right there but haven’t been able to pull it off,” Dickerson told the DGN. “Calvin shot great and I was just glad I was able to hold it all together coming down the stretch and stick to the game plan that I made up on the fly.”

As rain drenched the Winthrop Arena, Heimburg was undeterred, going 10-under through 12 and grabbing the outright lead after a triple bogey from Dickerson on the 10th.

The final round was nothing short of drama-filled from there.

Dickerson, as he did throughout the event where he led from the second round through 63 holes, bounced back time and time again. After his first OB stoke of the day on Hole 5, as the rain first creeped in, Dickerson pinned the water-carry basket to save par.

After his seven at 10, Dickerson bounced back with a birdie on 11. That, on the scoreboard, coincided with Heimburg’s first stumble of the day, a double bogey on the 13th and ensuing bogey on the 14th to tie things up. He bounced back with birdies on 15 and 16.

Dickerson, meanwhile, reset after a slip on his run up on the 13th and hit the basket from 300 feet away leading to a drop-in birdie, another championship-winning shot.

Then Heimburg had to make the walk to the 17th and a hold that has defined or decimated players in the history of the event.

His first shot came up just short of the dreaded hay bails, the few feet of barrier that stand in the way like a castle wall for players just looking to get on to the 18th. His retee hit in circle two and his bogey save attempt hit the cage and slowly rolled through the rain into the pond at Winthrop for a quadruple-bogey seven.

For the second time of the day, Dickerson, who entered the final round 10 shots ahead of Heimburg, had a four-stroke lead.

But he had 15-through-18 left to go.

Two holes back, Dickerson’s tee shot missed the mando on 15 and, while clinging to his tournament lead, he assisted cardmate Alex Russell with his lie before getting up-and-down for his bogey.

After Heimburg’s birdie on the 18th with a death putt, it was Dickerson’s to lose with a two-shot lead with 16, 17 and 18 left.

He played ultra-safe on 16 and his drive creeped over the hay on the 17th, allowing him to chip his way down the 18th and into the clubhouse as a Major champion.

It was then and only then after the putt dropped into the bottom of the basket that a sigh of relief came for Dickerson.

Ricky Wysocki quietly worked his way up the leaderboard with a finale round of 63 to grab a third-place finish.