The Top 10 Storylines of the 2023 Portland Open

From the desk of Owl P. Jackson, Esq.

Aaron Gossage at the 2023 Portand Open. Photo: DGPT

We head to Oregon for the first ever Elite+ event. Scattered among the Douglas firs, we find them—near untouchable winners, ageless podiums, and one of the best endings of the season. In my opinion, these are the top 10(+) storylines of the 2023 Portland Open.

1. Adam Hammes back in the winner’s circle

“A fine little girl, she waits for me.”

Tournaments often come down to two players duking it out as they come down the stretch. What a treat to see a trio of players go back-and-forth during the final round in Portland! Adam Hammes, Aaron Gossage, and Corey Ellis took turns looking like the odds-on favorite throughout the weekend, but it was Hammes who made the biggest putts down the stretch and won over Gossage in a one-hole playoff. Could it be as simple as the fact that Hammes has been there and done that? It’s feels like a long road back to the top for Adam Hammes, but maybe that’s just life on tour. Hammes remarked on his win, “It’s surreal, man. My last win was almost two years ago. You’ll have your ups, and you’ll have your downs, and sometimes those downs will last a long time. But finally, back on top…man, that feeling was missed.”

2. Gossage and Ellis fall short again

“Me catch the ship across the sea.”

Has anyone been closer, and not gotten it done, than Aaron Gossage or Corey Ellis? Over the past two seasons, these two have found themselves in contention late — and have often lost in heartbreaking fashion. Remember Ellis’ anticlimactic O.B. toss in overtime at DGLO? Can’t you picture him, head-in-hands, after giving away the MVP Open? Gossage has had his share of heartbreaking losses as well, like watching a world title pulled from his fingers by a charging McBeth. The past few events this season, Gossage has been right there but hasn’t had a putter hot enough to win. In Portland, he was putting well enough until a brutal spit out. (Seriously, the basket was not doing what it was supposed to do. Get rid of the Dynamic/Latitude baskets already). On 18, and during the playoff, he went cold again and his putts weren’t really even close. In the end, if these two keep putting themselves in position regularly, eventually one of them will take down a big one.

3. Kristin Tattar

“Me sailed that ship all alone.”

What more can you say about Kristin Tattar? After two rounds, she had built a solid enough lead that it was basically over—no matter how hard Sai Ananda tried to make it interesting. To be honest, Kristin even looked a little bit off at times, but a little-bit-off Kristin is still head and shoulders above the field right now. Looking back at her 4-stroke victory performance, she mentioned, “I’m so relieved it’s over—one of the toughest rounds of my life.” Kristin is unsatisfied and almost untouchable. Who’s going to stop her?

4. Age is just a number

“Me never think I’ll make it home.”

Glendoveer offers two long “bomber” courses. Naturally, everyone looked to the young guns with the big arms as heavy favorites. Surely this would be a week to put your money on Ella Hansen or Holyn Handley or Kat Mertsch to take it down. But, take a look at the FPO podium! Tied for 3rd place were the reigning FP40 world champion Ohn Scoggins and FP50 US champion Juliana Korver, the latter of whom dominated FPO at the turn of the century. Distance helps, but nothing beats consistency.

5. The end of Nate Sexton’s cash streak

“Three nights and days I sailed the sea.”

The last time Nate Sexton missed cash the number one song in America was “Low” by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain, the number one movie at the box office was National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and Breaking Bad was still two weeks from premiering on AMC.

6. Eagle McMahon injury

“Me think of girl constantly.”

Eagle won the Beaver State Fling just two weeks ago. It feels like it might as well be two years ago. Eagle injured his shoulder once again, forcing him to DNF. He said on Instagram, “I’m all too familiar with this situation and has happened times before. It’ll take 2-3 weeks for me to get back into playing form so I am hopeful to be back at the DMC, but I also won’t be hasty.” Hopefully the professionals can get Eagle back to full strength, but it saddens me to think we may never have peak Eagle again.

7. Plus?

“On that ship, I dream she there.”

So, did this Elite+ event feel “+” enough for you? Sure, there were more points on the line. Yes, there were a little bit bigger purse and some bonus live camera feeds. To me, it just felt like an arbitrary title that they can throw at a few events each year. Why should winning at Portland Open be more important than winning at Dynamic Discs Open? Apparently, because “+”

8. Points shakeup

“I smell the rose in her hair.”

Well, as long as we’re throwing points around willy-nilly, let’s see how the standings have been affected. In MPO, it was big jumps for our top 3 finishers. Hammes jumped 9 spots to #8, Goose jumped 9 spots to #10, and Ellis jumped 10 spots to #12. In FPO, Sai Ananda jumped 9 spots to #12, and Kristin Tattar could go home to Estonia and return for the Pro Tour Championship.

9. Natural beauty

“Me see Jamaica, the moon above.”

Glendoveer East and West seem like two great courses. The players reportedly love them, and they have consistently produced dramatic finishes. Personally, I think a lot of the holes blend together and could be on either course—long hole with big trees, really long hole with big trees, random flagpole, long hole with big trees, etc. But I don’t care. This course is so naturally beautiful that it could be the worst course on tour and I would still love it. The grass really is that green and the trees really are so big, and I’m a simple man.

10. Return of the cutline

“It won’t be long me see me love.”

All tournaments should have cutlines, for the added drama and threatening shame, if nothing else. The struggles continued for Kona Montgomery, who did not earn the chance to play Sunday and finished +18 in a tie for 39th. In MPO, these notable names couldn’t pull it together: recent winner Emerson Keith, European powerhouses Väinö Mäkelä and Niklas Anttila, and last year’s Portland Open standout Garrett Gurthie. Let’s see who will join Nate Sexton in starting a new cash streak!

10+. Paul McBeth’s European vacation

“Me take her in my arms and then I tell her I’ll never leave again.”

Paul was not at this tournament, but what an absolutely stunning result in Estonia.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Let me know the storylines you think I missed. See you in Emporia.

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