Final Round Recap
March 1, 2021 by Bennett Wineka in Recap with comments
Eagle McMahon had been in this position before. In 2018, McMahon took the lead during the third round of the Las Vegas Challenge and pulled away on the final day of the tournament to win his first Elite Series event.1
It was a similar situation in 2021 for McMahon, except this year McMahon was trying to win against the highest cumulative rating on a single disc golf card in history, as all four players from the lead card are currently at a 1050 or above rating.
“I can’t believe how it went down with the top four players in the world — you know we’d like to have [Chris] Dickerson here — all the 1050 guys at the event going in the final round,” said McMahon. “I wasn’t expecting an outcome like this.”
All four leaders, McMahon, Calvin Heimburg, Paul McBeth, and Ricky Wysocki, shot double-digits under par on the Innova course Friday during round 2, but the winds had picked back up from the extremely favorable scoring conditions a few days earlier. Regardless, it was going to be a birdie or nothing mentality, and that meant any error would not go unpunished.
Heimburg, the 2019 LVC champion, had not fallen below second place after being the day one leader of the tournament, and had played 53 holes of bogey-free golf after double-bogeying the first hole of the event on Thursday. He was one stroke back of McMahon to start the final round. barring a collapse, Heimburg seemed the only person capable of catching McMahon.
Almost immediately, McMahon created the necessary scoring separation to start feeling more comfortable, if that’s possible on a birdie-or-die course. McBeth and Wysocki were able to keep up early but were a couple of strokes back as McMahon opened the round with five consecutive birdies. Meanwhile Heimburg added a bogey to a couple pars, and even needed a 50-foot uphill comebacker to salvage the bogey. McMahon was up five strokes in an instance.
“I just kept my head down early and took advantage of the other players’ mistakes,” said McMahon. “I was fortunate enough to build a hefty lead from the start.”
A double-bogey from McBeth on the short hole 6 cooled a run, and a number of bogeys from Heimburg, who appeared to have run out of course karma, essentially took the two out of first contention. Wysocki was still lingering, keeping McMahon honest, until Wysocki had a par stretch after the turn as McMahon started another five hole birdie streak on holes 11-15 to wrap up an easy win. A three-putt on hole 16 for par was inconsequential in McMahon’s eight stroke victory. He finished with a 1090-rated, 13-under par 49 final round to finish at 48-under par total.
“It being the first event of the year, this is really a big bonus,” said McMahon. “Now I’ve got a target on my back but I kind of like it. It alleviates some pressure because it’s always nice to get a win during the year but to get the first one feels really great.”
For the event, McMahon lead the division in every major driving category, including a 63% Circle 1 in regulation rate. His 19.24 strokes gained from tee-to-green was best in the field, and his stroke gained putting were fourth best, trailing Wysocki, Heimburg, and James Conrad.
The win is McMahon’s first DGPT victory of the year and fourth of his career. He currently has four PDGA National Tour and one Major championship, as well.
Day two tournament leader Ezra Aderhold was able to climb back into a tie for second place with Heimburg at 40-under par total with an 11-under par final round. Heimburg, 6-under par final round, should have had an easy par on hole 18 to take solo second but misplayed an upshot resulting in a bogey and tie with Aderhold. It is Aderhold’s best career Elite Series finish.
Garrett Gurthie jumped Wysocki to take fourth place with a 12-under par final round. Wysocki, 8-under par final round finished fifth. McBeth, 3-udner par final round, fell six spots on the leaderboard into ninth place with a 1013-rated effort. Not counting the 2019 USDGC in which he was injured, the last time McBeth dropped as many places during the final round was at the 2019 Las Vegas Challenge.
Aderhold, Drew Gibson (6th), Kevin Jones (T-7th), Brian Earhart (T-7th), and Clint Calvin (10th) qualified for the 2021 USDGC.