Buhr Gets The Oregon Sweep as Handley Wins Her First DGPT Event at Beaver State Fling

Slow starts to the final round didn't hold Buhr or Handley back

Holyn Handley at the 2024 Beaver State Fling. Photo: DGPT

It was a wild finish to the west coast swing of the Disc Golf Pro Tour this weekend as Gannon Buhr and Holyn Handley both hit clutch putts late in the final round to snatch dramatic, come-from-behind victories in the Beaver State Fling.

For Buhr, the win completed the Oregon sweep after he took down the Portland Open last week. Buhr became the second player to win three DGPT events in MPO this year after Anthony Barela, and the 19-year-old Iowa pro’s time in the Pacific Northwest has abruptly altered the narrative surrounding him. Talk of Buhr has switched from  ‘consistent but unlucky’ and ‘can’t execute in the home stretch’ to ‘winningest player on tour’.

Meanwhile, for Handley, the victory over Ohn Scoggins on the first playoff hole on Sunday represented a major breakthrough after 27 top 10 finishes and 12 podiums in 44 DGPT events and majors without a win1. After finishing outside the top 10 only once in a DGPT or Major so far this year and considering her fast finish to nearly snatch victory from Paige Pierce from the chase card in Portland last week, it seemed inevitable that Holyn’s time was coming.

The Iceman clutches up

Championship Sunday in MPO was chaotic. Halfway through the round, three out of the top four on the leaderboard were from different cards. Ricky Wysocki was leading from the second card at 19-under-par, with Gavin Babcock from the third card tied for second at 18-under-par with Kyle Klein from the chase card and Luke Humphries, who had been tied for the lead with Calvin Heimburg after round two, on the lead card. With seven holes to play, there were nine players within two strokes of the lead, and the fate of each of these contenders swing on moments of luck, execution, or decision making too numerous to list.

For Buhr, the first key moment came early in the final round. After a slow start and no birdies, Buhr’s drive on hole 4 stayed left and found the out-of-bounds.

“At that point, it almost felt like it was over, because I was checking the scores and they were so tight. I was like ‘dang, even if I birdie the next three holes, I’m still two back,’” said Buhr.

Buhr managed to save par on that hole and then got a birdie on hole 5 but failed to score on the next two holes, slipping to eighth place, three off the lead. “I was only one down through the first seven holes,” Buhr said. “I was talking to my caddie, Brodie, and I was like, ‘Even if I get the Philo hole and the Dream hole, I’m still two back at best.’ I got them both. I made a circle two putt on the Philo hole and then strung together another couple of birdies and felt that flow state that all players love to have and kinda kept it rolling.”

Buhr rode that flow to birdie seven out of the next eight holes and claim a share of the lead after hole 15. His birdie putt on 15 was pivotal. “It’s one of those moments I’m going to remember for a long time,” he said. “It felt so clutch. I had a twig about the size of my pinkie hanging right where I wanted to putt normally so I had to move a little bit back and to the right and I also had limbs up by the basket and maybe something down to my right. It felt a little bit awkward deciding even where I wanted to aim and what my stance was. Eventually I figured it out. The second it left my hand I knew it was just perfect: perfect pace, going uphill so it slowed down nice, hit the bottom of the bucket — the crowd went wild. It was such a great feeling.”

Buhr and Luke Humphries then shared the lead, one stroke ahead of Ricky Wysocki with Gavin Rathbun and Ezra Robinson two strokes back. Both players shot par on hole 16 and went into 17 level. Then came disaster for Humphries: after throwing short and left into the rough off the tee, his next shot clipped some high branches and dropped on to the OB road. He then threw OB twice more. The quadruple bogey dropped him to a tie for ninth. Buhr’s savvy response to his co-leader’s slipup showed what experience he’s already gained as a young player.

“After he went OB I looked (at the scores). I saw Ricky had parred 17, Gavin Rathbun ended up bogeying something ,so he was out of it. Kyle (Klein) and Gavin Babcock kinda dropped off as well. So at that point it was just me, Luke, and Ezra. It’s obviously one of the scariest greens in disc golf to approach. I was playing smart because I know if I crossed the road from where I was at, I was still going to get a par. I’d been getting up and down from the bottom of the hill every day for birdie so if I just add one more stroke and play from the bottom of the hill.  I just zipped it to the basket and put it one inch out. That was a great relief.”

Taking a one stroke lead over Ezra Robinson into the final hole, Buhr’s approach shot didn’t make the corner and was buried deep in the rough short of the basket. Robinson’s approach was wide and outside circle two.

“Ezra’s drive was the best you could possibly throw it,” said Buhr. “I’ve had this situation so many times in my career already. I had to execute a shot on 18, didn’t. The mistake inside is a mistake but I know there’s OB right and I definitely didn’t want to do that and lose the tournament. I got in that scramble position and there was almost nothing, so I had to go PD2 from 50 feet on a forehand. I hit the gap I was looking for. I know it was going to trickle through some branches on the way out. I got a little kick right and I saw the bullseye marker and I know that if Ezra misses his putt, it was over.”

Robinson’s putt, indeed, was fired wide right and didn’t fade back towards the basket. Buhr dropped in for the 6th DGPT/Major win of his young career. It’s clear he has enjoyed his time in the Pacific Northwest: “I love you, Portland,” he called out to the large gallery at the end of the day.

Holyn clutches up — twice

Similar to Gannon Buhr, FPO winner Holyn Handley started the tournament a little slow, finishing round one tied for fifth place and three strokes off the lead held by Natalie Ryan and Ohn Scoggins. It’s been Handley’s pattern this year to finish strong and challenge for the lead off the chase cards. This time, though, she made that run in round two, carding a tournament hot round, 10-under-par 59 to climb into a share of the lead with Scoggins and one stroke ahead of Natalie Ryan turning into championship Sunday.

A triple bogey for Scoggins on hole four of the final round gave Handley a two stroke buffer. A double bogey on the same hole from Ryan dropped her five strokes from the lead. Scoggins chipped away at the lead over the next few holes, and by hole 7, the pair were level again. Then Scoggins hit four huge putts in a row — to save par on hole 10 from 35 feet, then for birdie on hole 11 from 45 feet, and then birdies on holes 12 and 13 from the edge of the circle — to take a three stroke lead into the last five holes. In the same stretch, Ryan and Missy Gannon had climbed up to share second place with Handley.

“I almost thought I was out of it,” said Handley. “But I told myself, ‘You are not out of it. Let’s play four good holes and do our best and you never know what’s going to happen.’ At the end there, I was just affirming myself. Telling myself, ‘You are going to make this putt. You are so clutch; you are so clutch’ over and over again. I made myself believe it and it worked out.” Handley hit a difficult edge of circle putt on hole 16 to claim back outright second and reduce Scoggins’ lead to two strokes with two holes to play.

It was on hole 17 where the course of the tournament changed. Scoggins and Handley both misfired off the tee, but Handley threw her second shot across the road and within 120 feet of the pin while Scoggins laid up short. It was looking likely that Handley would claw back one stroke with one hole to play before Scoggins turned her forehand over into the ground and the disc cut-rolled out of bounds. So many of Scoggins’ drives look like they are going to ‘turn and burn’ and then flex out and carry down the fairway. It was a surprise to see the flip over actually happen.

Although Handley’s approach only slid to circle’s edge in the long grass, she drained a slightly obstructed putt to take a share of the lead.

“When I first looked at the putt on 17, I was a little worried about it because those nose-up putts to an elevated pin are not my strength,” she said. “But I was just telling myself I was clutch and then I made it and it was fine.”

On hole 18, Scoggins laced her approach shot around the corner to lean it against the stump supporting the basket. The pressure was right back on Handley. Holyn threw a shot that was every bit as brilliant, but it skipped off one of the logs surrounding the green and rolled to 45 feet. Handley hit the long, arcing putt into the headwind to force the playoff. Holyn turned to the roaring gallery and screamed “C’mon!” as she leapt up on to the stump to retrieve her disc.

“When I was practicing this week, I put my practice basket up on a kitchen table and I was sinking 50-footers from that distance,” said Handley. “So, I’d practiced it, and I was in the right mindset to make it happen. “

The playoff was over after one hole when Scoggins had her approach shot knocked down 70 feet short and Handley was able to put her sidearm approach to within 25 feet. The first person to hug her when the putt dropped was Scoggins.

“You have to play so well to win,” said Handley. “It’s crazy how good everyone is. To win feels amazing. There was no doubt in my mind. Every time I got close and came up short, there was no doubt in my mind it was coming.”

  1. Handley did win the Throw Pink Women’s Championship in October 2023, and while the Throw Pink is neither a major nor a DGPT event, it does carry substantial prestige. 

  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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