Preserve Championship: Locastro Gets Elite Monkey Off His Back

Final Round Recap

Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – DGPT

It’s hard to believe that it’s been the better part of a decade since Nikko Locastro lifted a trophy from a tournament higher than an A-tier, but the drought ended in Minnesota at the Preserve Championship. Locastro held at least a share of the lead at the end of every day on the way to his first Disc Golf Pro Tour victory.

  • Locastro has had a handful of victories outside the continent, and some early Ledgestone Insurance Open wins, but the Preserve is Locastro’s first Elite Series win since 2011.
  • While he did have the share of the lead after rounds 1 and 2, Locastro was trailing for much of the front 9 during the final round. He used an eagle on hole 18 to edge Simon Lizotte and Calvin Heimburg by one stroke with a final score of 41-under par.
  • Notorious for his on-course outbursts, Locastro missed a 20-footer for birdie on hole 1 that momentarily appeared like it might derail a promising tournament. While some flavorful language persisted throughout the round, Locastro was able to keep most of his emotions in check until finishing out the win.
  • Locastro was top five in every major driving category, as well as fifth and ninth in Circle 1X and C2 putting, respectively.
  • Lizotte put pressure on the leaders with his bogey-free round and was momentarily tied for first after recording the only birdie of the lead card on hole 17. Unfortunate footing on his second shot of hole 18 is probably all that kept him from an eagle and forcing a playoff with Locastro. For the second day in a row, he had a major throw-in: this time a 90-footer on hole 12.
  • Heimburg finished first in parked shots, second in C1X putting and finding C2 in regulation, and third in C1 in regulation. A bogey on hole 5 after turning over his drive OB, however, was the decider.
  • Emerson Keith’s 16-under hot round moved him up five spots into solo second. He was 100% from C1X and had four C2 putts connect for under-par scores.
  • An uncharacteristically sloppy day off the tee dropped Eagle McMahon into a tie for sixth place after starting the day in third. He finished the 2019 season third overall in fairway hits but was 38th at the Preserve after only landing 65% of the short grass on a very forgiving layout. McMahon was putting down a lot of rollers in Clearwater, though.
  • Colten Montgomery, Jordan Castro, Thomas Earhart, Collin Bailey, and Kyle Klein earned USDGC spots with their finishes.

Heard

“Finally a course that doesn’t require food breaks every other hole. No flukes. Good shots get rewarded and bad shots get punished. That’s what we need. I hope we can realize this and move away from these dumb OB lines everywhere and people taking 10s on holes because they got unlucky or missed their line by an inch. One of the best courses we play on tour, in my opinion.” – Simon Lizotte

Statline

With a field of more than 100 players, the open field averaged 5.68 strokes under par each round. No tournament tracked in 2019 even approached average scores that far under par, not even the Memorial Championship (2.98 strokes under par over two courses). The Beaver State Fling was a little more than 3-under par per round over two courses.

Preserve Championship Final Round Front 9

Preserve Championship Final Round Back 9

  1. Bennett Wineka
    Bennett Wineka

    Benn started playing disc golf in the '90s but has somehow never gotten any better. He lives in Decatur, Georgia and cares too much about Atlanta United and UNC basketball. Email him at bennett@ultiworld.com

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