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Chase is On as Gossage Seizes Lead

By Baker Helton
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Aaron Gossage continues to play his game, and Paul McBeth recognizes it.

With that, the final chase to the 2022 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championship title is on.

Gossage — the underdog, the Cinderella Story, the improbable, whatever you want to call it — has strung together four consistent rounds of ice-cold disc golf to enter the final lap through the Emporia Country Club with a three-stroke lead with his first PDGA Major and largest career win by far squarely in his sights.

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Mr. Consistency Aaron Gossage leads Pro Worlds by three strokes. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

“That’s been my goal out there — just to play safe shots,” Gossage said. “I told myself to just make good misses and avoid danger.

“I’m really happy with the place that I’ve put myself in. I know that I struggle at the end to get strokes back so I hope that I can continue to play the same game that I’ve been playing, stay consistent and make everyone else chase after me.”

Complete Coverage of 2022 PDGA Pro Worlds »

Gossage and McBeth entered Friday’s round tied up, but Gossage (-39) quickly took the lead, which built to as many as four strokes during the round, and never relinquished it even down the stretch as he admitted the pressure got to him a little bit.

“Aaron played great today,” McBeth said. “He didn’t make any mistakes for us to capitalize on.

“I’m in second place right now, so I don’t have anything to lose. Like he said, he played it safe and if he continues to do that (Saturday), then he has a good chance of winning, but I hope to put additional pressure on him, not just the crowds, the cameras, I want to be right there chasing him down.”

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Paul McBeth is ready to apply the pressure on Championship Saturday. Photo: Justin Anderson / PDGA

The stats show the consistency for Gossage: 20.28 strokes gained tee-to-green (4th), 53% in C1 in regulation (5th) and 79% C2 in regulation (4th), according to UDisc. McBeth (-36) has been a little more sporadic, most notably on the green in an up-and-down putting performance, but he continues to give himself opportunities here. He leads the field in C2 in regulation at 85%.

Also giving chase is Matt Orum and Calvin Heimburg, who round out the Championship Saturday lead card at 34-under. Orum, competing in his 17th PDGA Pro Worlds, turned in a clean sheet on Friday to jump to the lead card. Heimburg finished 7-under with two bogies, including one on the 18th for the second-straight round at ECC.

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Matt Orum jumped to the lead card to close out his 17th PDGA Pro Worlds. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

Those are the players, and this is stage — the underdog vs. the 5-time and so many more who are right there ready to pounce, that’s if Gossage gives them that chance.

“It’s either win or lose for me,” McBeth said. “I’m looking at one person right now to catch.

“I want that championship.”

Live coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. on the Disc Golf Network.