Tattar, Buhr Wrap Waco Wins in Wildly Different Fashion

Kristin Tattar turned a six-shot deficit into a five-shot lead in round 3. Gannon Buhr had to battle to the final putt.

Kristin Tattar holds the 2024 Waco Annual Charity Open trophy. Photo: DGPT.

The two winningest players in their respective divisions in 2023 prevailed this weekend in Waco, Texas, in the second tournament of the 2024 Disc Golf Pro Tour. In FPO, Kristin Tattar returned to the US after her long offseason and picked up right where she left off from last year’s history-making grand slam season. The dominant Estonian champion stormed away late in the third round and opened up a seven-stroke gap that proved too wide for the rest of the FPO field to bridge.

The term ‘dominant’ might seem less apt when describing Gannon Buhr’s final putt, one stroke victory over Luke Humphries and Niklas Anttila. Buhr’s win might seem at face value to be a continuation of the helter-skelter scrums that have formed within a few strokes of each other at the top of MPO leaderboards in the past couple of years. It should be noted, though, that since his breakthrough win at the USDGC in 2022, the ex-Prodigy prodigy from Iowa has won five Elite Series or Major tournaments, more than anyone else in the MPO field.

Kristin has still got it

You could argue that Kristin Tattar is disc golf’s first true star. With due regard to the various 12-time, 6-time, and 5-time world champions that have preceded her, the 2-time world champion has broken out in ways that no other disc golfer has. Her social media from the winter in Estonia showed her walking red carpets at gala events where she was recognized as a champion athlete first and disc golfer second. She added a luxury car maker as a sponsor and holidayed in a luxury Thailand resort. Of course, social media is partly an illusion, but this one was of someone who was living a true sports star’s lifestyle.

The question was raised in the minds of some: can these distractions be managed? Can Kristin continue to perform at the highest level? Tattar answered those questions in the first few holes at Waco when she came out throwing laser beams, landing in the fairway 80% of the time off the tee in round one and 85% in round two. The only thing that stopped Tattar taking over the tournament in the early rounds was some uncharacteristically poor putting. Only 57% of Tattar’s C1 putts dropped in round one, and she posted a lowly 50% clip in round two. Kristin made the correction in round three, though, hitting 70% from C1X as she cleared out to a seven-stroke lead. Tattar then made 90% of putts from inside the circle in the final round as she held off all challengers.

Tattar’s provisionally 1031-rated, 7-under par 59 round three at Brazos Park East, AKA The BEast, in windy and cold conditions that seemed to affect everyone but her, was where she won the tournament. Kristin turned a third place behind Ella Hansen and Ohn Scoggins after round two (where she was six strokes adrift of Hansen), into a five-stroke lead going into the final round. It was an eleven-stroke swing in the toughest conditions of the tournament.

“I try to have the same attitude whenever I come to the course,” Tattar said afterwards of her approach to the inclement weather. “It doesn’t matter what are the conditions. I’m out there giving my best and that’s all I can do.”

Tattar’s metronomic accuracy off the tee deserted her in the early parts of the final round and she left the door open for Hansen, Hailey King, Scoggins, Eveliina Salonen, and Holyn Handley to claw back some strokes. But each of her chasers crossed the white line into out of bounds at inopportune moments, and six strokes was as close as anyone got.

“Today I felt some nerves and I felt like it was showing in my throwing. But I came through,” said Tattar after her win. “Even though my throwing wasn’t as good as it was in the other days, I feel like my putting was better. So, I feel like I’m slowly getting the elements all into place. It felt weird to be competitive again after almost a five-month break. But I proved to myself that I still got it.”

Buhr holds steady

Gannon Buhr yells in celebration after making the tournament-winning putt at WACO. Photo: DGPT

In MPO, it was 2018 World Champion Gregg Barsby who stole the show in round one, playing an early tee time and shooting a 12-under par 51 to hold a clubhouse lead until James Conrad and Niklas Anttila joined him later in the day. Joining Chess.com winner Anthony Barela one throw back was Ezra Robinson and fan favorite Nate Sexton. Lurking back in ninth position was Buhr, four strokes off the pace.

Buhr improved to a tie for fourth place after round two but then stamped his authority on the event with an 11-under par 52 on the BEast to share the lead with Luke Humphries heading into the final round. Within four strokes, though, were eight players. Within 7, there was 15. Just another final round on the DGPT.

It was a wild final round where Buhr and Humphries traded blows early on with lead cardmate Mason Ford, while Nate Sexton dropped off the pace and Anttila and Barela charged from the chase card. After birdieing 7 out of the first 10 holes, Buhr hit a rough patch in the middle of the round.

“That was just an insane round for me, “Buhr said afterwards. “I went from feeling like I was going to win it early on in the front nine. Then in the middle stretch where I got a time warning and a dead center spit out for birdie. Then with another bogey and an early tree hit after that I knew I had to go perfect. I think I birdied four out of the last five to seal the win.” (He did.)

Hole 17 delivered some fireworks as advertised. After Anttila had opened up a three shot lead three holes ahead of the lead card, he found the OB golf green just left of the basket, laid up the death putt, and settled for bogey. But he set the mark — 36-under — that Buhr and Humphries would have to chase down the stretch. Buhr’s drive on 17 landed well outside Circle 1 at around 60′, just safe but staring up at the basket perched on the hilltop. Humphries nearly parked it with his tee shot. Buhr stepped up to the biggest putt of his season so far and buried it dead center, no spit out this time. Humphries showed no sign of nerves as he putt his putt in to secure a one shot lead over Anttila and Buhr.

It came down to the final hole, with a potential playoff looming. Humphries, suddenly looking very nervous, late released his drive off the tee into a position where he needed to keep his second shot low to stay under some tree branches. The shot skipped on to the golf green and out of bounds. Buhr’s drive put him in reach with a second shot. He shouted “Get over it! Go!” at his towering approach shot as it cleared the guardian trees and skipped to within 25 feet of the basket. Buhr made the birdie putt to take the win with Humphries and Anttila sharing second place one stroke back.

“It’s always how it goes down,” said Buhr. “In the moment, you want to have the win be easy but when you go back and watch the video, it’s always sicker if it’s done in a cool fashion like that. That was just an insane round for me. It was such a crazy finish. “

The course as a character

The change to a two-course setup for WACO with the inclusion of the Lake Waco Golf Club as a venue for rounds two and four wasn’t entirely popular with the players.

“It’s a golf course,” said Paul McBeth before the tournament, adding no other comment as he stuck to the adage of ‘if you’ve got nothing positive to say, then say nothing at all.’

Watching play unfold on the undulating open fairways reminded me that the course itself is a character in these dramas that are acted out in each big tournament. In most Elite Series tournaments, the camera only has to throw to a player and an experienced viewer will almost immediately know where they are standing. “Oh that’s the haybales,” or “there’s the bamboo,” and so on. Watching play unfold on Lake Waco, there seemed to be a homogenous look to the place. It might take a year or two before we start to ascribe some character to these holes.

Changing of the guard

Despite the encouraging performances of Paige Pierce (who might have been on the chase card if not for a 12 on hole 16 in round two), Juliana Korver, Gregg Barsby, and Nate Sexton, a notable storyline coming out of Waco was the ‘who’s who’ of who didn’t make the cut. Names like Catrina Allen, Sarah Hokom, Jennifer Allen, Paige Shue, Holly Finley, and Madison Walker all missed the cut in FPO, while Isaac Robinson, Chris Clemons, Kevin Jones, Paul McBeth, Simon Lizotte, and Drew Gibson all had Sunday off in MPO. There’s a lot of majors, world championships, and Elite Series wins in that crew.

Might we now be seeing a changing of the guard?

  1. Kingsley Flett
    Kingsley Flett

    Kingsley Flett is a writer, photographer, and disc golfer who lives in Western Australia. You can find some more of his work on Instagram. He told us that he rides a Kangaroo to work every day, but we don’t believe him.



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