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Scott, Smith Bring Home Advanced World Titles


Evan Scott (MA1) and Ali Smith (FA1) are 2021 PDGA World Champions. Photos: PDGA Media

Six years ago, at 10 years old, Evan Scott learned the sport of disc golf from watching YouTube.

Ten months ago, Ali Smith entered her first PDGA sanctioned tournament — which she won — after feeling the desire to throw a disc again after retiring from ultimate.

Now, they’re both PDGA Amateur World Champions.

"I'm Running It"

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Evan Scott flips the putter out of the basket on Saturday. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

Scott, a 16-year-old from South Carolina, used those skills he learned from watching online throughout the week, pulling away in the semifinals before capping things off in a dominant final nine on Saturday at the 2021 PDGA Amateur Disc Golf World Championships presented by Dynamic Discs and Latitude 64 in Orlando, Florida.

Up by five strokes entering the final nine, Scott left no window of opportunity for anyone to enter contention with six-straight birdies to start. When asked if he was going to layup the final putt on the elevated basket to set up a championship moment, Scott laughed and said he was running it.

PHOTOS: 2021 Am Worlds »

As he did countless times throughout the week, he cashed it.

“It feels great,” Scott said. “I was able to put together a really good final nine to close it out. I was trying to birdie everything.

“It was really good the whole time (this week). I had a few times where it could have been better but I’m super happy with my putting.”

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Robert Burridge finished second at the 2021 PDGA Amateur Disc Golf World Championship. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

It was an all-out battle in the Advanced Men’s division between Scott and Robert Burridge, the 2021 U.S. Amateur champion, throughout the week. The two exchanged the lead throughout the week. The margin that never grew larger than two strokes either way.

Until Championship Saturday.

Down by a stroke, Scott torched Saturday morning’s semifinal round at Turkey Lake with a 10-under, 1042-rated round to grab a commanding five-stroke lead with nine to play.

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Evan Scott lines up a shot in Orlando. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

The battle was over, and those lessons learned by observing the best in the sport online showed in a big way.

Stick To The Plan

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Just 10 months after her first tournament, Kansas City's Ali Smith is a PDGA Amateur World Champion. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

Smith set some goals early in the week and stuck to them, all the way to the 135th and final hole of the week where her final putt sent a world championship back to Kansas City, Missouri with her.

“All of the respect and love for the came, competitors from around the world – it’s been a joy to have this opportunity to come here and play against all of these amazing women,” Smith said. “They’re so talented and I couldn’t be prouder to take it home today.”

Complete coverage from Am Worlds »

It was a simple plan for Smith: just shoot for par. After starting the week tied for ninth, clean play kept escalating her name up the Advanced Women leaderboard. She was four strokes back after the third round, two after the fourth and went up by two strokes after the fifth round.

She didn’t give up that lead.

“Par out – that’s been my goal from the beginning, to par out,” said Smith, a high school math teacher in KC. “Birdies are going to come, bogies are going to come but I had to keep my head on steady.”

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Canada's Julie Moens finished second in FA1 at Am Worlds. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

Smith took a two-stroke lead over Chelsea Bazley and three-shot advantage over Julie Moens into Saturday. Moens trimmed it down to one stroke in the semifinals with Chantel Budinsky two strokes out entering the final nine.

Just keep it clean, Smith said.

Moens bombed the 342-foot third hole to tie things up and then took the lead with a drop in on the 338-foot on the sixth. But Moens found trouble on the penultimate hole of the tournament and again on the finale.

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Ali Smith celebrates after hitting a putt to win on Saturday. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

Just par out, she told herself.

Smith took an extra second on her par putt on the uphill, elevated basket and connected for the one-shot win and, just 10 months from entering her first tournament, a PDGA World Championship.

Comments

Submitted by GnrBoom on

This was such an exciting tournament to watch! Glad Evan pulled out all the stops at the end. Why was the second and final round not filmed or shared on YouTube?

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