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2019 DGPT MPO Semifinals Recap: Sixteen becomes four

By Baker Helton
​The steepest cut in disc golf is in the books, and four players are set to play for the Tour Championship title tomorrow. Today began with sixteen players, all hoping to be playing for the opportunity to be the 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Champion. With eight players coming into the day playing their first competitive round on Hornet’s Nest, it becomes a battle of experience vs. freshness. Some players were on their third round in two days, and it became an endurance race to see who can put up a round worthy of advancing.

The first card of the day featured players who had been playing since the qualifying round. Paul Oman, Zach Melton, Colten Montgomery, and Michael Johansen were all hoping that they could use their experience to conjure up a finals round appearance. Oman and Melton would be the first players to show cracks in their game plan, taking a double-bogey and bogey, respectively, on hole four. Melton would land a few more birdies to help get back on track but ultimately came up short with only a three-under performance. Oman would struggle to get back on pace and finished the day even par, one position away from the bottom. Colten Montgomery gave it more of a shot playing consistent golf until two bogeys on twelve and thirteen. Without those bogeys, he would have finished seven-under, which would have been just shy of making the finals round. Michael Johansen rounded out the card, and many thought the local pro would have a shot at winning the event. However, it would come down to tour points, and his 42nd position would not be enough to help him break the tie. MJ only had one uncharacteristic hole today when he took a double-bogey on the hole two island, going OB on his drive and then two-putting inside C1. While he would go on to make nine birdies in his round, a seven-under-par would not be enough to guarantee a spot in the finals. In the case of card one, experience on the course did not pay off as none of the four were able to make the finals.

The second card of the day featuring the rest of the players who played yesterday faired slightly better. This card featured two players who had two rounds under their belts, and two with only one. One of each advanced to the finals round today. Missing the cut were Philo Brathwaite and Nate Perkins. Philo started with back-to-back birdies and looked poised for success until he carded a bogey and double-bogey on holes three and four. Philo would be unable to card a consistent round and finished his day one-under-par, six back of the line to advance. Nate Perkins only played one round yesterday and was the eighth person to advance winning the tie-breaker yesterday based on Tour Standings with a four-under-par performance. Today Nate would struggle to put together a hot round and sandwiched all of his birdies between bogeys and finished five-off the advancing mark. However, Drew Gibson and Chris Dickerson were both able to advance today with solid nine-under-par performances. Yesterday Philo set the tone with a ten-under-par performance hot round, so Drew and Chris’s rounds were not the best of the weekend so far, but they were not far off. Chris was able to card his nine-under going bogey-free on the day. Drew took a slightly more challenging route, carding bogeys on twelve and sixteen and using two of his eleven birdies to offset those. Both will be favorites to win tomorrow based on their solid performances across both days.

The third card of the day featured Adam Hammes, Calvin Heimburg, Chris Clemons, and Alex Russell. There were several players on this card who were favorites to advance to the finals round based on recent performances. Still, ultimately, only two players would play well enough to advance, and only one would be able to based on a tie and tie-breaker. Chris Clemons played a great front-nine today, but was unable to find birdies on the back-nine and had a double-bogey on seventeen that took him out of contention. Adam Hammes put together plenty of birdies for today, but four bogeys on holes five, ten, thirteen, and eighteen ended up costing him a shot at advancing.

The players who did have a shot at advancing were Alex Russell and Calvin Heimburg. Alex Russell started the day with a bogey but recovered quickly with four birdies in a row. However, eight birdies would not be enough to garner Alex a berth in the finals round tomorrow. Calvin Heimburg, who finished two spots ahead of Alex Russell in Tour Standings, was able to advance today on the tie-breaker over Alex and Michael Johansen. Calvin did have one blemish on the day, a bogey on the par-four hole eleven, but his eight birdies were enough for him to eek by into the finals.

The final card of the day featured the top players in the Tour Championship field. Simon Lizotte, Kevin Jones, Garrett Gurthie, and James Conrad looked like a card poised to be repeated on the finals round tomorrow. Still, ultimately, only one player would barely make it to tomorrow’s round. James Conrad was playing catch-up early after taking double-bogeys on holes one and two. He would end up only getting three birdies on the day, while carding four more bogeys and a double-bogey to finish seven over par. Simon Lizotte also struggled early and bookended his birdie run with two bogeys towards the beginning and end of his round. He would finish one-under-par. Garrett Gurthie was in contention all day but was unable to convert enough birdies to advance to the finals round. Gurthie had one bogey on hole three, and had he pared he would have beat out Calvin Heimburg for the last spot in the finals round. Kevin Jones was able to keep together a good front nine and used a birdie on fifteen to offset his bogey on fourteen to finish seven-under-par. Thanks to Kevin’s fourth-place Tour Standings, he was able to win the seven-under-par tie-breaker to advance to the finals round.

It is going to be an exciting finals round for the 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship. Drew Gibson, Chris Dickerson, Kevin Jones, and Calvin Heimburg will all be gunning for their shot at a Tour Championship title. Will experience reign supreme for Chris Dickerson, or will another player be able to unseat him? Tune in at 3 PM ET tomorrow to watch live!