Brilliant performances and big payouts.
September 6, 2022 by Justin Westfall in Analysis with 0 comments
It was a year of redemption at the 2022 PDGA Pro World Championships. FPO favorite Kristin Tattar began to pull away from the field on moving day and won her first world championship in an eight stroke victory over Henna Blomroos. Tattar had given up a one stroke lead on the final hole of the Champions Cup earlier this year; this time around, she left no doubt. In MPO, Paul McBeth earned his 6th World Championship after once again tying in regulation and going to a one hole playoff against Aaron Gossage. While McBeth fell short to James Conrad last year, he was given a second chance to stick an island green and reclaim the title of World Champion.
McBeth not only got some redemption for last year’s Worlds but his entire 2022 season as well. After his win in Waco, Paul’s season had really quieted down, from losing the playoff in Jonesboro to coming up one stroke short of Eagle McMahon in Finland. Now he’s once again the World Champion, the DGPT points leader, and squarely in the Player of the Year conversation.
Paul now has the 2nd most pro world titles of all-time in either division and is just one Major championship away from tying Ken Climo’s MPO record of 181. He also continues a 10 year streak of finishing 1st or 2nd at the event, dating back to his first win in 2012. With a 1054 event rating, this was actually his lowest winning rating at a world championship.
McBeth led the field in fairway hits and Circle 2 in regulation, finishing 7th in strokes gained tee-to-green and 22nd in strokes gained putting. Staying in bounds was key to winning on these courses, and Paul only collected 6 OB strokes and five bogeys in the entire tournament. What’s most incredible about McBeth’s win is that he did something rarely seen: he completely changed his game plan in the final round to take advantage of some of the lines Aaron Gossage had been throwing all week. In doing so, he overcame a three stroke deficit in the final 18 holes, the largest in Worlds history. In 23 tries, no player had ever trailed by 3+ strokes going into the final round of Worlds and emerged victorious until this year. The $20,000 winning payout matches his career high from the 2021 USDGC and pushes his season total over $70,000.
UDisc debuted their new ‘win probability’ feature last week, and it gave Gossage less than a 1% chance of finishing on the podium. Aaron had an excellent performance at the Dynamic Discs Open earlier this year, where he finished 3rd, and he came to Worlds with a perfect game plan. His power forehand game set up well for the style of courses in Emporia, and Gossage played terrific all week, wavering just enough with the putter for McBeth to catch him on Saturday. Aaron bogeyed just two holes through five rounds of regulation play; in both cases, it was the tricky hole 1 at Jones Supreme.
He led the tournament in scramble rate converting 8-of-11 attempts. Keep in mind, those three failed attempts were the two bogeys at Jones and the playoff hole in which his drive landed on the island but out-of-bounds. While Gossage only collected the 7th most birdies in the event, he played even cleaner than McBeth with just five OB strokes. He improved on his previous best Major finish of 25th at last year’s Worlds and is the only person aside from Ricky Wysocki, Paul McBeth, and Josh Anthon to finish as the runner-up since 2013. His $13,500 payout decimates his previous career-best of $3,200 at the OTB Open earlier this year.
After making the final day lead card at the Las Vegas Challenge to start the season, Tanner dealt with injuries and hadn’t finished better than 31st since the Texas State Championship. He was placed in the B pool to start the week and shot an incredible 13-under at Emporia Country Club to take a three stroke lead in round one. After round two, he was shuffled into the A pool and continued to play great, leading the entire event with 52 birdies.
He executed in both phases, gaining the 7th most strokes putting and the 8th most from tee-to-green. He unfortunately collected six more OB strokes than McBeth and seven more than Gossage, and ultimately finished the tournament four strokes behind them. With a previous best Major finish of 55th, UDisc also gave Tristan a less than 1% chance to make the podium. His $7,500 payout well eclipses his previous best of $1,750 at the 2020 Las Vegas Challenge. He has also moved into 44th in the DGPT standings, giving him a chance to make a run for a DGPT championship spot.
One of the cleanest players on tour, Chris Clemons displayed his precision at Worlds by finishing 4th in fairway hits and holes parked. He also logged just four OB strokes, two of which occurred on hole 8 in round four. Chris continually put himself in scoring position as well, finishing with the 3rd best C1 in Regulation and 6th best C2 in Regulation.
Clemons not only earned his first career podium finish at a Major: he also jumped up to 9th place in the DGPT standings. Chris plays great in the woods, and with the Green Mountain Championship and MVP Open remaining, he has a real shot to make the top 8 and earn a bye to the semifinals of the DGPT Championship. The $7,500 he earned at worlds more than doubles his highest career payout of $3,200 from the Idlewild Open earlier this season.
Matty O finished 2nd at his first Pro Worlds back in 2005 and now 17 years later has earned another podium finish. He has actually finished on the podium at the World Championship three times in his career, most recently in 2009. Orum finished 6th in strokes gained putting and 12th in strokes gained tee to green but just made a few too many mistakes to compete for the win. He carded six bogeys on the week, four of which came in the opening round at Jones Supreme, and collected a total of 10 OB strokes. His event rating was the 2nd highest of his career at a Major championship — not bad for a man who’s been competing for nearly two decades.
Calvin finished the event 5th in strokes gained tee to green and led the tournament in holes parked, aided by three targets hits off the tee in round four. Vinny has now made the final day lead card at Worlds two years in a row, but once again had a disappointing final round. He collected four penalty strokes and missed five putts on Saturday to end the day with just a 1016-rated round. Heimburg has never performed particularly well at Majors; however, he now has top 8 finishes in all three that he has played this year.
Ever consistent, Joel Freeman finished top 10 in fairway hits, holes parked, C2 in regulation, birdies, and scramble percentage. Finishing tied for 7th, he improved on his previous best worlds finish of 21st and earned the 2nd highest finish of his career at a Major championship. While Freeman earned $10,000 for winning the DGPT match play championship earlier this year, his $3,800 payout at Worlds is a career high for a standard PDGA event.
Leading the field in strokes gained tee to green and C1 in regulation, AB was making a charge on Saturday before stalling out on the back 9. It’s a shame for Barela that they only played two rounds at Jones Supreme because he performed very well on that course, shooting a pair of 10-under par rounds. In total, he collected 15 OB strokes during the tournament, but only one of those came over at Jones. A double bogey on the final hole dropped him from solo 6th into a tie for 7th place, a solid improvement over his previous best Major finish of 26th.
The 2011 U.S. Amateur Champion played solid all week, shooting his highest event rating at a Major and collecting a top 10 to improve on his previous best Major finish of 30th. Callaway carded just seven OB strokes on the week and made 47-of-50 C1X putts. It’s a good thing the putter was accurate because while he finished with the 26th best C1 in regulation, he was only 82nd in holes parked. Continuing the trend of record payouts, the $3,140 that Ben collected is the highest of his career to date. He also jumped up to 45th in the DGPT standings. He’ll need to reach at least 36th in order to have a shot at the tour championship.
Earning his 5th straight top 10 finish at a Major championship, Sexton also extended his record cash streak at ES and Majors to 112 consecutive events. Similar to Barela, Sexton had an easier time staying in bounds at Jones where he collected just one penalty stroke, as opposed to nine at the country club. Most importantly, he now sits in 31st place in the DGPT standings. If Nate can move up in the next two events, he will make the tour championship without needing to play his way in. As long as he stays 36th or above, however, he still has a shot at the play in.
It was a very disappointing end to Ricky’s tournament after he came into the week as the favorite to win. After 51 holes, UDisc still had Wysocki with the highest probability to win the tournament, but he would go on to shoot just 7-under par in the final 39 holes. Ricky collected 13 OB strokes, 10 of which occurred in the final two rounds. With a 1037 event rating, it is his lowest rating at the world championship since 2011, and the first time he has finished outside the top 10 in that span. He has now missed the top 10 in back-to-back Majors, which has never happened in the same season during his career.
Väinö was the highest finishing European in the field, and it was also his best Major finish in the United States to date. Mäkelä averaged a 1034 event rating at the DDO earlier this year and he once again averaged a 1034 rating at worlds. Väinö struggled to get off the bogey-train at times, finishing 154th in bounce back percentage with just 2-of-11 saves.
Despite an ongoing elbow injury that sidelined Tattar for a bit earlier this summer, she has played the best golf of her career since returning to the United States. She shot the three highest rated rounds of her career in a 14 day span, two of which occurred during the World Championship. She joined Paige Pierce as the only FPO players to record two 1020+ rated rounds in the same tournament. Kristin has firmly cemented herself as the best player in the FPO division by ran and rating — and she now holds the title of World Champion.
That she finished 2nd in OB rate, 3rd in strokes gained tee to green, and 5th in strokes gained putting still doesn’t do justice to how well Tattar performed. Her 1001-event rating is not only an FPO world championship record, she has now averaged 1001 in back-to-back events and has averaged above a 1000 rating in three wins this season. Tattar completed 41 straight holes without a bogey and shot 21-under par in the final 36 holes of the tournament at ECC, setting the course record in round four. UDisc was mocked a bit for their win probability giving Kristin a 58% chance to win the event, which went all the way up to 79% just 9 holes into the tournament. By pulling away so strongly in the 4th round, Tattar certainly helped give validity to their model.
In a tale of two phases, Henna Blomroos was simply incredible off the tee in Emporia but struggled mightily on the putting green. Blomroos led the field with 38.04 strokes gained tee to green, 9 more than 2nd best. However, she lost 11 strokes to the field putting, making far too many mistakes to keep pace with Tattar. She of course led the field in holes parked, C1 and C2 in regulation, and had the 2nd best OB rate along with Tattar. A 989-event rating is nothing to sneeze at and is in fact the highest of her career at any event.
A $7,000 payout more than doubles her career high of $3,200 from the European Open. Henna still has some work to do in order to make the Tour Championship; she currently sits in 24th place.
In just her third career major championship, Handley gained the 2nd most strokes from tee to green and earned a solo 3rd place finish. Holyn actually threw six fewer shots than Blomroos but collected 11 more OB strokes than her and Tattar. She bounced back tremendously from an opening round in which she carded seven bogeys and eight penalty strokes. Handley sat 10 strokes back of Tattar after the first round and closed that gap to just two strokes by the end of round three. UDisc gave Handley just a 2% chance of finishing on the podium to start the week, and for such a great performance, she only shot her 3rd highest event rating of the year. Holyn collected $5,600, which well surpasses her previous career high of $1,361. She is currently qualified for the DGPT championship as well, sitting in 14th place.
Missy’s recipe for success is always to stay clean off the tee and putt well, both of which she accomplished in Emporia. Gannon gained the 4th most strokes on the putting green, and contrary to many players actually shot cleaner at ECC than Jones where she collected more than half of her OB strokes. The 4th place finish ties her best finish at a Major and also gives her six consecutive top 10 finishes at Major championships. Quickly becoming known as “Big Money Missy,” Gannon’s $4,700 payout is only her 5th highest in the past 12 months!
There would be no redemption for Paige Pierce this year, whose 6th world title continues to elude her. For the first time since 2011, she has missed the podium at two Majors in the same season. Of course, this is also the fourth season in which she’s won multiple Majors in the same year. The 977-event rating she shot at worlds actually matches the event rating from her win at the European Open in July.
Paige finished 6th in strokes gained tee to green and had the 4th best C2 putting percentage. Unfortunately, she finished just 55th in C1X putting with a lot of crucial misses.
Another big-time thrower that tore up the Jones Supreme course, Salonen shot 16-under and bogey-free in rounds one and three combined. In the three rounds at ECC, however, she was only able to shoot a total of 6-under par. Eveliina led the field in fairway hits, had the 2nd best C2 in regulation, and finished 4th in strokes gained tee to green. She also earned her best finish of the three Majors she has played in the U.S. this year and has now moved into 16th place in the DGPT standings.
Salonen has won over $20,000 this season, a whopping 42% of her entire career earnings.
Note that there were far fewer Majors on the calendar in Climo’s era ↩