A Sunday showdown is set.
April 18, 2022 by Cameron Guidry in News, Recap with 0 comments
APPLING, GA. — Coming into the day at virtually a dead heat with Ricky Wysocki and Calvin Heimburg, it was Chris Dickerson’s course management and clutch consistency that shone through as he battled to win the second major of his career at the 2022 PDGA Champions Cup.
His bogey-free 11-under was four strokes better than fellow hopefuls Heimburg and Wysocki. While both started the round with narrow leads, Dickerson overcame the gap late with five straight birdies to close out the tournament. As he began his streak starting on the 14th, the three players were tied, and Heimburg had the momentum, having capped off a birdie streak of his own that started early in the back 9. However, untimely pars proved to be his undoing, as Dickerson started carving gaps, finding C1 in Regulation on all of his last five holes, never having more than a 25-footer to stretch his lead. His play on 18 seemed like just any round for him, placing a Buzzz in the exact middle of the fairway, then sending an upshot easily to five feet on a tough turnover line.
“Surprisingly, I only got nerves on the last 2 to 3 holes, so I just kept telling myself, ‘One shot at a time, just worry about your shot and not anything else, you can’t control what anyone else does, do the best you can,'” said Dickerson.
Dickerson can often be overlooked in favor of the more present or the more prominent pros, but when the big tournaments come around, he has proved again and again that he can battle with the best of the best and come away victorious.
Disappointment for Wysocki and Heimburg
For the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, it’s easy to see what went wrong.
Both sacrificed bogey strokes early in the round to negate their advantage: Wysocki had two missed scrambles and a putting game that showed cracks, while Heimburg suffered a double and single bogey back to back. It was his first double bogey of the weekend.
While the race was certainly tight enough to necessitate an aggressive mentality, at times it seemed as though Dickerson was the one moving methodically and managing the course at his pace, and Wysocki and Heimburg were the ones fighting with their backs against the wall to pull ahead. Both players played fantastic for large stretches of their tournaments, but in the end, Dickerson’s killer consistency is what showed through, and the high highs the others reached weren’t enough to outweight the small mistakes in the end.
McBeth Proves a Point
Paul McBeth was out of the running, and he used that opportunity to turn into a supernova.
His stunning course record 16-under par was the talk of most of the day, as he shot 18 strokes better in the final round than he did in round 3. His round rating jumped from 984 to 1091, his putter went in from all over Circle 2, and he started hitting fairways with ease. While he couldn’t fight his way back into contention, it was a reminder that one bad round does not mean McBeth is done for good, and he can do what few can when he is on and locked in. He has had a recent run of putting up a poor round in tournament play that is bookended by excellence, and that will surely be his main focus to iron out for majors down the road.
Austin Hannum set the course record on Friday with a 12-under before McBeth obliterated it with a round that may not be seen again at a tough WR Jackson course. A number of other players also stepped up with strong rounds: Gannon Buhr shot a 13-under, and Emerson Keith, Joel Freeman, and Aaron Gossage all shot 12-down.
Watch McBeth’s full round here:
Big Picture Takeaways
For the first iteration of a new major, this was a triumph for the PDGA.
The level of play was high, players were invested, and the course balanced challenge and scoring in a mix that will prove popular for years to come. The early season always seemed to just be an elongated build up to Worlds, but now it has a crown jewel of its own to serve as a proving ground and a draw in the spring. The tour is in need of more big, unique moments for its fans and players, and early returns look to show that the Champions Cup is a big success, and now the challenge is to fit it more seamlessly into the tour schedule. This year, the tour is taking a snakelike approach to covering the continent, going from Vegas to Georgia and now back to California. If this is the goal, we’re on the right track, but will distance and drive times come into question in the future.
It’s also worth noting that next year, the tournament is scheduled to be held at Toboggan in Michigan, which will likely affect its timing on the schedule.
- Players with multiple MPO Major Victories over the last five years:
- Paul McBeth: 5
- James Conrad: 2
- Chris Dickerson: 2
- Ricky Wysocki finished with five missed C1X putts in the tournament, more than any other player that finished in the top five.