Calvin Heimburg, Missy Gannon Grab DDO Victories

Calvin grabs his first DGPT win in over a year.

Calvin Heimburg after winning the 2024 Dynamic Discs Open. Photo: DGPT

Winning is often about taking the chances when they come.

In a tournament where multiple players in both divisions had opportunities to win, it was Calvin Heimburg and Missy Gannon who capitalized on their chance when it arrived in the Dynamic Discs Open in Emporia, Kansas, this past weekend. For Heimburg, the three stroke win over Gannon Buhr ended a long drought of victories dating back to April 2023, even as he finished top five in 16 out of the 20 events he contested in the last year. For Gannon, it was her second big win of the season and the seventh of her career.

Disc golf only travelled roughly 500 miles west, in a geographical sense, from Peoria to Emporia last week, but it traversed an entire spectrum of disc golf courses from one extreme to another. After the dark forest of Northwood, the tour emerged blinking into the bright sunlight and open spaces of Champions Landing, formerly the Emporia Country Club and now under the banner of Dynamic Brewing Company owned by Dynamic Discs Founder Jeremy Rusco.

Missy puts it all together when it matters

Missy Gannon and Hailey King started the tournament sharing the lead and, at the end of round three on Sunday, they finished tied at five under par as well. Despite the wind wreaking havoc with most of the field in the first two rounds, Champions Landing did very little to separate the top FPO contenders. At the end of round one, there were five players sharing the lead at one under par: Gannon; King; Hanna Huynh; Holyn Handley; and the 18-year-old from Texas who would feature in the dramatic last holes on Sunday, Emily Weatherman.

At the end of round two, it was Lisa Fajkus, on the strength of the only 1000+ rated FPO round for the tournament, who had joined King and Gannon for a share of the lead. Handley and Weatherman were one and two strokes back, respectively, and a host of others were still in striking distance. Fajkus then seemed to take herself out of the race by crossing the OB lines twice on her way to a triple bogey eight on the par five 9th. Handley, too, seemed to end her chances with matching bogeys on holes 8  and 9. Both players fought back, though, and with a couple of holes to play, Gannon, King, Fajkus and Weatherman all shared the lead at five under par with Handley one stroke back.

Then in the space of one hole, it all changed: Fajkus and Handley both went out of bounds on hole-17, while King threw a brilliant upshot, partially obstructed by a tree trunk, that snuck under an overhead branch by inches, to within 20 feet of the basket. Under pressure to match King’s approach, Gannon left her upshot wide and blocked by a tree. The birdie by King gave her the one stroke lead with just hole 18 left to play. Weatherman’s bid for the win off the chase card ended when her drive on hole-18 slid out of bounds by such a tiny margin that it took some deliberation from her card before they voted it out of bounds.

With the lead card now on 18, Gannon left her drive short and partially behind a tree. King drove to an ideal position overlooking the island green across the water. Gannon was able to put her upshot on to the green but outside the circle. King’s moment to take the tournament came, but she couldn’t take it. Needing only to land her upshot in putting range, Hailey’s hyzer upshot was thrown well too soft and landed in the water.

Gannon and King went to a 3-hole aggregate playoff — the first appearance of the new option on the DGPT — instead of sudden death. On hole 16, the island hole, Gannon pulled her drive wide and skipped off the water onto safety; Missy’s disc straddled the OB line on the far right of the island. King landed her drive inside 20 feet. Staring at the water from outside the circle and facing a potential 2-shot swing. Missy ran the putt, her disc kissing the top band before deflecting down into the chains. King hit her birdie putt, too, but the psychological momentum was all with Gannon.

Gannon was bouncing back from some bad putting from, by her standards, hitting only 69% of C1X putts at the Champions Cup and hitting only 61% from inside the circle for the first two rounds here. She improved inside the circle to 88% in the final round and then hit the clutch putt when it mattered.

“It’s determination and knowing that I’m one of the best putters out there, so I just have to remember that,” Gannon said when reflecting on her putting. “I stayed with my game plan and knew I could make every putt that I put my mind to. Even though that hole wasn’t sudden death, I just had in my mind that it was and that I just had to make it.”

Missy carried that momentum into the next playoff hole (17) when she threw a perfect drive and laid her upshot inside the bullseye. King hit an early overhead branch and her fairway drive left her over 200 feet short. Under pressure to stay close to Gannon, King again threw a tentative upshot short and outside of circle 2, then laid up for the bogey. Missy threw a similar drive on hole 18 to the final round but this time beat the tree that had blocked her. When King’s drive slid over the left side OB line, Gannon was able to pitch up for the win.

“I’ve been looking to get one of these glass balls for a long time,” said Missy when referring to the many years she’s been coming to compete in Emporia without a trophy. “Really cool to do it on the pro tour. It was my first playoff ever and the first time we’ve played the aggregate format. I hadn’t played the last three holes very well, I would say, during the regular event. So yeah, not a bad time to put it all together.”

Calvin cruises home

The story of the first two rounds in the MPO battle in Emporia was the resurgence of Ricky Wysocki. On the back of successive podium finishes in the previous two events, Wysocki was returning to an event where he had fared well over the years. Ricky won the DDO in 2022 and had finished on the podium five times since 2016; his worse finish was sixth place in 2023. Although he started the round with a bogey on the par five hole 1, Wysocki attacked the course with 13 birdies in the round to finish at 11-under-par and a one stroke lead over Calvin Heimburg.

“I played really solid,” said Wysocki. “In the back nine, I kept it smooth and in the front nine I was all over the place sometimes in a good way. I was overall happy.”

Wysocki and Heimburg matched step in round two to maintain the same one stroke gap. Ricky hit a big edge-of-circle putt on hole 18 to keep the gap over Calvin. Ricky also hit 100% of his circle-1 putts in round 2. Ezra Robinson made the lead card on the strength of a 440 shot through a gap and across the water for an Eagle on 18 and he shared third place with Gavin Rathbun.

Heimburg made the crucial break in the front nine, birdieing the first seven holes and then carding par on the treacherous holes 8 and 9, while Wysocki missed birdie putts on holes 1 and 3 and went out of bounds on the 5th. When Wysocki went OB again and bogeyed hole 8, Heimburg’s three stroke lead was already looking comfortable.  Rathbun’s double bogey on the opening hole and Robinson’s triple bogey – bogey combination on holes 8 and 9 had already taken the rest of the lead card out of contention.

Heimburg’s biggest threat came from Gannon Buhr on the chase card, who birdied the last six holes to claim second place and Joseph Anderson on the fifth card, whose tournament hot round of 13-under-par was enough to almost steal third place off Gavin Rathbun.

Heimburg was able to play out the final holes with a comfortable lead. Calvin hit the fairway 95% of the time in the final round, his only misstep a throw into the hazard on hole 13. He won the way many tournaments are won, not by dominating one aspect of the game or a particular round, but by being the most consistent in all categories across the whole event. The win was a fitting reward for one of the most consistent high performers on the tour in the past few years.

“It’s been a while since I finished on top,” said Heimburg. “It’s a great feeling. I’ve come close here a couple times, never quite pulled off the win.”

The disc golf capital of the world needs more people

The Champions Landing course has been home to the Dynamic Discs Open, the Glass Blown Open (since 2018), and the 2016 & 2022 World Championships. Jeremy Rusco’s purchase of the former Emporia Country Club that has hosted the tournament in recent years should have been bigger news. It’s a telling marker for how far our sport has come, that a business which started by selling discs out of the trunk of a college kid’s car now owns the place.

For years, Emporia, the Glass Blown Open, and the Dynamic Disc Open were destinations for many disc golfers. Rusco likes to refer to Emporia as the ‘disc golf capital of the world’ and that claim isn’t hyperbole. But for Emporia to stay in that conversation, the next challenge they face is bringing the spectators back. The 2022 Worlds was noticeable for its slightly flat atmosphere, and this year’s DDO also lacked the spectators to give the drama (particularly in FPO) the true theatre that a big gallery brings. I’m sure they’ll find a way.

  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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