Portland Open: McMahon Weathers Wild Back 9 For Win

Final Round Recap

Eagle McMahon at the 2021 Portland Open. Photo: DGPT

As the lead card made its way up the fairway of hole 18 during the final round at the Portland Open, the weather was matching Eagle McMahon’s mood. Raindrops began to fall, and McMahon had not been in the best headspace over the back half of the course.

“I counted myself out,” said McMahon after the round. “It did not feel like it was going my way.”

McMahon was tied with Ricky Wysocki at 20-under par heading into the final hole, and those two players were only in this position because Kevin Jones suffered some severe misfortune on hole 15 while he was leading the tournament by two strokes. McMahon over-juiced his roller off the tee on hole 18 and was already requiring some extra effort to get into position to birdie the par 5 when Paul McBeth, playing on the chase card, hit a 60-footer on the elevated basket up ahead on the green to also reach 20-under and tie for the lead.

With his third shot, McMahon curled a backhand approach easily inside Circle 1 to put the pressure onto Wysocki to create his own birdie look. Wysocki left his disc a bit wider on the edge of the circle and slightly in the fringe off the golf green. Putting first, Wysocki hit the cage with his must-make attempt. Pressure back to McMahon.

“It was a tester, and all I could think about was this elevated basket with the Portland Open band in front of me, thinking back to 2019,” said McMahon, alluding to his playoff defeat to Drew Gibson at the inaugural event. “I remember last time I really rushed the putt. I was just kind of feeling nervous. [Today] I was thinking about all the good moments I had in disc golf, like making the putt at GBO, making the final product DGLO, and those were because I took a little bit more time, went through my routine, and just trust myself.”

McMahon made good on his putt for birdie to win the Portland Open at 21-under par total. It’s his third DGPT victory of 2021, and even though he came into Sunday with the lead, it did not look like it was going to shake out this way.

“I didn’t really feel like I was playing bad, but the middle stretch I felt like I got unlucky, and then the guys were just shredding. It kind of felt like I started getting left behind,” said McMahon.  “I just weathered the storm.”

Jones was the first to really exert some pressure on McMahon by birdieing seven holes on the front 9. Jones started two strokes back of McMahon and caught him by hole 7. He took the lead for the first time with a 50-footer on hole 8 and pushed it up to two by hole 14, with McMahon and Wysocki (who had to forget a bogey on hole 1) having to rely on some clutch C2 putts to keep pace with the surging Jones.

Then came hole 15.

Wysocki was the only player of the lead card to cleanly get off the tee and into C1. Jones was very far wide and had to pitch up for a par save. McMahon landed in C2 and missed his attempt to birdie and pick up a stroke on the leader Jones. The basket of 15 sits on an elevated berm, and Jones’ first putt hit the top of the cage, flying to a similar position on the other side of the green. His second attempt to salvage birdie hit a similar spot on the top of the cage and skirting to the grass on the other side, except this time the gusty winds kept his putter on its edge and pushed the rolling disc down the ridge and into the OB.

When it was all settled, Jones carded a four-putt quadruple-bogey, dropping him from a two-stroke lead to fifth place, two strokes behind the now tied McMahon and Wysocki in first. McBeth and Calvin Heimburg had also worked their ways up to within a stroke of first from the chase.

Neither McMahon nor Wysocki was able to make a move across holes 16 and 17, setting up that final tester for McMahon on hole 18 to win it.

Heimburg and McBeth tied for the hot round at 9-under par, the lowest rounds of the weekend. McBeth finished tied for second with Wysocki at 20-under total, and Heimburg tied Jones for fourth at 19-under par after Jones hit a 38-footer for birdie on hole 18. In his second Tour event of 2021, Simon Lizotte finished seventh, one stroke behind sixth place Austin Hannum.

In the win, McMahon led the division in strokes gained from tee-to-green and third in C1X putting at 92%.

“I’m really happy to not go to the playoff,” said McMahon. “And I honestly can’t believe I’m holding this [trophy] right now.”

  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 [email protected]

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