Allen puts on another dominant display in Women's Pro Open field for seventh consecutive win.
May 2, 2016 by Steve Hill in News, Recap with 0 comments
If you told most people a world champion disc golfer won this weekend’s Glass Blown Open in a nail-biter of a finish, they probably wouldn’t give you a second glance.
Tell them it was 2001 Professional Disc Golf World Champion Cam Todd atop the leaderboard, though, and watch that second glance turn into raised eyebrows and a wide smile.
Todd put on a vintage performance in Emporia, Kansas, taking a share of the lead at the end of rounds one and two and holding off late charges from Ricky Wysocki (-20) and Paul McBeth (-20) in round three to land at a 21-under par 160 on the weekend. His one-shot victory garnered him not only $5,000 in prize money, but also his first NT win since 2004’s Discraft Great Lakes Open.
Catrina Allen dominated the weekend on the women’s side, finishing with a four-under par 177 to take first place by 17 strokes and earn $1,800. Paige Pierce (+13) took home second place, while Madison Walker, Karina Nowels, and Des Reading (+19) all tied for third.
The unexpected finish for Todd was the culmination of his return to full time touring after a long lay-off that saw him mostly playing regional tournaments in the Carolinas and taking up traditional golf. After he and his wife decided they were ready to give the road another go, all that was left was getting back into the swing of winning.
“I don’t think [the GBO victory] has set in yet still,” Todd said. “I think I re-remember it every day and I’m like, ‘Really?’ It’s pretty amazing. I’m surprised I didn’t get nervous at all in the tournament, but it’s just something I knew had to happen to make what I’m doing worth it in the end, or to make it more full of experience and life. You want it all if you’re going to do it.”
Although many of his contemporaries from early in his career have opted to play in the Masters division, Todd, 42, said he never considered playing in an age-protected bracket.
“I played Open the very first tournament and I’ve never played anything but Open,” Todd said. “No, the sport, to me, it still needs Open players and a full field of great competitors. And if you want to see where you stand, to me, that’s the division you play in.”
And that division challenged Todd plenty at the GBO, where his wire-to-wire victory starkly contrasted that of Allen’s.
Saturday’s final round saw plenty of peaks and valleys for Todd, as he traded birdies and pars with either McBeth or Wysocki on six of the Emporia Country Club’s first 12 holes. Todd’s out-of-bounds drive on Hole 13 then saw a two-stroke swing in McBeth’s favor that left the two tied and Todd finding a long walk back to the box for a re-tee.
“It was heartbreaking,” Todd said. “I thought I threw a pretty good shot…At the same time I have to get it and go re-tee, so I had to get rid of any emotion I did have before I got back to that tee.”
That composure was a hallmark for Todd the entire tournament and something he has been honing over the last few seasons.
“It’s become a matter of me being on tour now and getting tournament practice and developing a better mindset,” Todd said. “Literally, within the things I say on a daily basis, it’s leading to more confidence and positivity, and you can see it in my daily routine and in my game now.”
It remained on display on the home stretch of the third round, where a birdie on Hole 15 saw Todd recapture the lead for good. And even with younger players with longer arms on his card – “I had to watch them throw 600 foot hyzers, it was pretty amazing,” Todd said – attacking the course in his own fashion was the key to victory.
“I kind of felt that day they were trying to keep up with me,” Todd said. “At the same time, I can’t keep up with them because, as far as their ratings and their skill, I have to play my game. And I know exactly how to play my game, so I can never judge it by someone else’s game. So I just play the course and shoot it like I know how to shoot it.”
Allen, meanwhile, put on a three-day clinic. After opening up a two-shot lead during Thursday’s first round, she threw a 1019-rated 57 (-5) Friday before sealing up the win in relatively anticlimactic fashion with a solid two-over par 65 in the final.
The win marked Allen’s seventh consecutive victory of 2016 and her third NT in the last two years. While it would have been easy to coast to victory on Saturday, she said she brought the same mentality into the final round that she did the rest of the event.
“I was really focused and still playing very well until about Hole 17,” Allen said. “I wasn’t really looking over my shoulder ever or worrying about what everyone else is doing.”
While Allen mentioned that her sidearm game was the best it has ever been, she attributed her dominance more to an emphasis she and husband Paul Ulibarri have been placing on their individual mental games – the two have been listening to books by sports psychologist Bob Rotella on the road – and to taking a bit of time off before the GBO to mentally refresh.
“One thing I’ve taken from it is he talks about trying these new ways way of thinking and being patient with them,” Allen said. “I’ve been doing them, and I think I just finally fully committed to them.”
As for her men’s counterpart, Allen said the joy of Todd’s moment in the sun was palpable.
“I can’t say there wasn’t one person who wasn’t happy to see him win,” Allen said. “I thought it was awesome. It’s always good to see someone win and you just feel their emotions, you feel how happy they are.”
For Todd, the outpouring of support and goodwill left him brimming with confidence as the National Tour moves to next week’s Kansas City Wide Open.
“Oh, it’s unbelievable.” Todd said. “I can’t even believe it. It’s like a fountain’s going off and it’s not stopping.”