Niklas Anttila Becomes First Finn, Fourth European to Win an MPO Elite Series

In FPO, Ohn Scoggins sets rating record in dominant performance at Open at Austin

Niklas Anttila after winning the 2024 Open at Austin. Photo: DGPT

The 2024 edition of The Open at Austin concluded with thunderstorms and high drama as Niklas Anttila fought back from catastrophe, draining a circle’s edge putt in the gloom to win his first DGPT event, becoming the first Finn and fourth European player to do so in the MPO Division. Earlier in the day, Ohn Scoggins put together a performance for the ages to completely dominate the FPO field by 11 strokes and put together the highest-rated FPO tournament ever (1029). Both winners had to overcome the impact of the weather before donning their winners’ Stetsons. The thunderstorms that had been foreshadowed ominously all week eventually hit on the last afternoon, creating a long delay to the FPO round and causing three holes to be trimmed from the MPO final round. It wasn’t just every disc golfer in Finland who was relieved when Anttila’s last put dropped in. The tournament director, too, must have been glad to have avoided holding a playoff in almost pitch dark.

Niklas seizes his moment

For the second week in a row, Niklas Anttila was involved in a contest that came down to the last putt. In Waco, Niklas had a three stroke advantage from the chase card with two holes to play, before leaving the door open for Gannon Buhr to card a birdie on 18 and take the win. You could say he left the sliding door open because Anttila’s drive out of bounds on hole 17 at Lake Waco was one those small events that alter the trajectory of the future: impacting prize money, sponsorships, and influencing whole careers. The difference this week in Austin was that when the moment came, the 23-year-old Finn took charge and left none of his future to chance.

We’ve grown accustomed to a crowded leaderboard in MPO on the DGPT now and making the turn into championship Sunday in Austin was another cluster of a dozen or so players with a realistic shot at a win. On the back of a 12-under-par 51 in round two that catapulted him from three strokes back, Anttila started the final day with a two stroke lead over Gannon Buhr, who had shot Saturday’s hot 14-under-par round.

Anttila’s first big moment came on the dreaded hole 6. The first of three wooded holes that had been freshly hacked out of the hackberry trees wrought havoc in both divisions all weekend, averaging nearly half a stroke over par, their fairways shaped and dotted with trees in such a way that, even if an early tree hit didn’t deflect into the rough, the player was still left with an almost impossible mission to save par.  Anttila fell victim to that devious design when his drive caught an early tree then had his second throw deflect off another tree into OB. The result was a double bogey that dropped him behind the pack of chasers from the cards ahead that included Anthony Barela, Kyle Klein, Cole Redalen, Corey Ellis, and Calvin Heimburg.

Niklas’s second big moment came on hole 14. Birdies on holes 8, 10, and 13 plus an eagle on 11 drew Anttila within a stroke of co-leaders Heimburg and Klein with three holes to play (along with hole 12, 15, and 16 had been removed). After parking his approach just outside the bullseye, Anttila seemed to tighten up in his putting stroke and send the disc into the very top of the chains to bounce back out again. It left him needing to birdie the last two holes to win. It was a tall order. Along with holes 6 and 8, holes 17 and 18 were the least birdied holes on the course. It looked like Anttila had again missed his moment and, after Heimburg miscued on the tee of 18, that the DGPT would have its first-ever winner off the third card in Kyle Klein.

Anttila’s flex shot on the par three hole 17 faded late and left him with a deep circle two putt which he sent home. “I could hardly see the basket,” Anttila said afterwards, “But I’ve been putting in the dark before.”

Then came the final big moment. On hole 18, Anttila threw a pure flip up to flat drive that bisected the fairway. It was the drive of the tournament on that hole. “I was telling myself after every shot. ‘This is the most important shot of your life’ and it worked out,” said Anttila afterwards. The drive was a little too good and left Niklas slightly out of position to throw his usual forehand shot. He improvised with a steeply angled anhyzer that made the turn and glided out to circle’s edge. The roar the young Finn gave as the putt sank home was one of redemption. It matched the deep throated howl that came out of the dark from the crowd.

“I don’t know how but it felt really relaxed,” said Anttila afterwards when speaking of that final putt. “It was meant to be maybe. When I came to the US for the first time in 2022, I only had one goal in my mind and that was to be the first Finnish disc golfer to win on the Disc Golf Pro Tour and I did it today, so it’s good.”

Ohn does it her way

Ohn Scoggins celebrates after winning the 2024 Open at Austin. Photo: DGPT

We might never see the likes of Ohn Scoggins in disc golf in the future. The professionalizing of development pathways and coaching will inevitably lead to a certain homogenizing of technique. It’s hard to imagine many junior disc golfers being coached to throw forehands like the Californian out of Laos does with her high release and extended wrist. Yet it was this technique, combined with an anhyzer backhand that DGPT commentator Nate Perkins calls “baby flex” shots, that enabled Scoggins to gain strokes on the rest of the field through the treacherous wooded section of holes 6, 7, and 8. The low, skipping trajectory of Scoggins’ shots invariably put her within putting range and if her discs did catch a tree, she tended to be punished less than players who threw higher arcs.

Scoggins led the field in fairway hits (87%), parked percentage (24%), and making circle two in regulation (78%). Then when you consider that she made 39% of her putts from Circle 2, the numbers start to build a picture of how exceptional this record breaking performance was.

Ohn started slow, though. Four bogies in round one left her in fifth place at 3-under par. It was Kat Mertsch who led the way with a two stroke advantage as she matched booming drives with some solid putting in what DGPT commentator Des Reading described as “classic Mertsch form where she’s cool but goofy.”

Round two saw Scoggins shoot the fifth highest-rated FPO round ever with a provisionally 1055 rated, 13-under par 53.

“Today when I threw hole one and got the birdie I said ‘ok, today’s going to be better than yesterday.’ I told myself ‘It’s gonna be a good one,” said Scoggins after round two. “Also with no wind, I knew my putting was going to be on. The nerves are going to be up high for me tomorrow. I feel like if I chill I know I’m going to be ok out there.”

Ever present in the rearview mirror was Kristin Tattar, who, it seemed, was just a few made putts away from going on a streak that might close the gap. However, a slight waywardness off the tee that Tattar showed in the final round of her win the week before was not going to be tolerated by the skinny fairways of Harvey Penick. Kristen went out of bounds too often to make up ground. On the fairway of hole 18 in round two, Tattar showed the first signs of impatience that many had ever seen from her: rushing both an approach and then her putting routine on the way to a triple bogey that left the Estonian nine throws behind in fifth place and out of contention.

A three-throw swing early in round three after a double bogey on the par five hole 2 from Mertsch stretched Scoggins’ lead to five: there was no catching her from there. She followed up the previous day’s 13-under-par with a 1042-rated 10-under-par final round. Despite the wind and the rain, there was no stopping Ohn as she cruised to an 11 stroke win over Tattar, who came through from the second card as Scoggins’ lead cardmates dropped away. Ever one to enjoy interacting with the crowd, Scoggins ran a line of high fives all the way up the right-hand side of the hole 18 fairway on her way to her 11th birdie of the day.

It was Scoggins’ second win on the DGPT and, significantly, her first with Kristin Tattar in the field.

“It’s crazy because last year I played so bad on this course,” Scoggins said afterwards. “I still remember I got 16th place. I came here this weekend without any high expectations. I would have been happy with top 10. I was not even thinking about first place. But maybe it was just my week. When it’s your week, it’s your week.”

On to the USWDGC

Scoggins wouldn’t be drawn into a prediction of what her form meant leading into next week’s first major of the season, the US Women’s Disc Golf Championships, though. “Maybe we’ll see someone new win” was all she’d say.

The 2024 DGPT is three installments in now, and patterns are emerging. There does appear to be a new guard who has taken hold of MPO, and it’s looking like a long year for anyone in FPO not named Scoggins or Tattar.

  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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