Oh boy. What a day, what a finish. The 8 FPO players and 72 Open division players that made the cut for the final round got to enjoy a beautiful Finnish summer day at the Beast, as the wind was down and skies were sunny all the way until the prize ceremony here at Nokia. The great weather also brought huge galleries once again to Nokia and we got to witness a crowd of an estimated 3 000 spectators following the action here on Championship Sunday. There was no lack of excitement for the gallery, with a race to finish all the way to the last putt on the Open division today. But first, ladies.
Catrina sticks to the game plan
Starting the final day, and having a 7 stroke advantage over your competitors, what do you do? Do you play safe, do you try to extend your lead, or will you defend your lead, by ‘simply’ countering what the competition is doing? Those will, no doubt, be questions on most players’ minds in that position. But not Catrina’s. Judging from the way she played the front nine (1 birdie & 1 bogey, you would say she simply sticks to her own game plan she made before the tournament. Catrina Allen (USA) came her to win, and that’s what she did; leaving the rest of the field to fight for second best.
Evellina Salonen (FIN) and two strokes behind her Valarie Jenkins (USA) and Henna Blomroos (FIN) did just that. Fighting for that second spot, right until the end. For all of the front nine, it seemed that Eveliina was going to grab that second spot; except for a momentary glitch, where she took a par on the 203m long par 5 hole 3, and Val carding the lone bird. Hole 10 was the turning point for all. Val and Henna took a par, while Eveliina took a 7; which somersaulted the battle for second place.
The fact that Cat even took a 9, a quintuple bogey, on hole 10 seemed to worry no one, and certainly not herself; her lead shrunk from 9 to 6, with only 8 holes to go, and during the previous rounds, she had not played the back nine worse than +2.
A playoff to determine 2nd
Eveliina’s unfortunate end of the round, +4 on the last 3 holes due to 2 OB’s, caused her to slip to fourth spot. Val and Henna had been deadlocked for the second spot from hole 15 onwards, and didn’t manage to resolve that anymore until the end of the round. To ensure that the better of the two would go home with the second place trophy, a sudden death was played, and in the end it was Val’s experience that triumphed over Henna’s youthful assertive play.
Barsby starts strong
Video: Gregg Barsby with a great birdie on hole 3. Find more videos like this here!
In the Open division, the setting for the day couldn’t have been much more exciting. Gregg Barsby, who had been leading the tournament all the way from round one was in the lead, but only by one shot over Simon Lizotte (GER) and two over Paul McBeth (USA) and Nate Doss (USA). Paul McBeth, who’s won the 3 past editions of the European Open, started the round maybe even surprisingly slow, carding par 3’s from the 2 first holes. On hole 1 Paul’s drive drifted too deep for a clean look of the birdie and on hole 2 he went ob on the right side off the tee, but was able to save the par from outside the circle.
Video: Nate Doss started the round strong. Here’s his birdie on hole 2. Find more videos like this here!
Barsby on the other hand had a pretty good start for the round, shooting 4 under for the first 5, and was on the sole lead by leading by 3 over Doss, who had jumped on the 2nd place with his 3 consecutive birdies on the first 3 holes. Barsby’s pace winded down a little bit on holes 6 thru 9, where he shot 4 consecutive pars, allowing the competition to creep closer.
McBeth ties the match on 11
Video: Barsby’s great 2nd shot earns him the birdie on hole 10. Find more videos like this here!
Barsby would go and birdie hole 10, much thanks to his amazing roller upshot from a difficult lie, but on the very tricky par 3 hole 11 Barsby’s drive found the OB pond again, this time leaving him in basically a blind spot to try and salvage the the par. Barsby made a great run for it from behind the bush, but stayed a touch too high, resulting in a bogey. In the meantime Paul had landed his drive just outside the circle and was able to convert the birdie, taking two strokes from Barsby and tying the first place.
Video: McBeth ties the lead with this birdie on hole 11. Find more videos like this here!
Barsby will not give in
Queue in holes 12 and 13, both very picturesque, long and mostly narrow par 4’s. Out of the lead group, we saw a total of 7 birdies and one par on these 2 holes. It’s safe to say that all of these guys had their drives and approaches on point on those two today. Simply amazing golf. Then a long walk to the “Theater hole”, a right turning 112-meter par 3 that plays slightly uphill. The co-leaders Barsby and McBeth both end up about pin high, but wide right in the schule. Paul would be the first to putt. A good run but can’t make it stick. Barsby up next – makes it from outside the circle to reclaim the lead to himself!
Video: Barsby takes back the lead on hole 14. Find more videos like this here!
The final 4 to determine the winner
A popular expression on the Beast is that the round really starts only when you walk to the 15th tee. So many times the winner has been settled on those final 4 holes, each very much birdieable, but still very dangerous with a lot of out-of-bounds. Your shot placement really has to be on point if you want to finish your round well here. Barsby with the birdie would be the first to tee, placing his drive right on the sweet spot in a showman-esque style in front of the huge gallery. Also McBeth would place his drive at a perfect position and both turn their great drives into great birdies.
Video: McBeth with a great birdie on hole 15. Find more videos like this here!
Barsby up by 1, hole 16. This seemingly simple, but yet so challenging par 4 hole with a island green and the buncr rule in effect is well-known for being a dream crusher on previous editions of the European Open. With probably the biggest gallery we’ve ever seen in an disc golf event watching, neither Barsby or McBeth cracks under the pressure. Quite the opposite – like champion chess players, both place their shots far away from danger and close to each other, converting the birdies in front of cheering fans. 2 holes to go.
Birdie on 17 means a stroke on the field
Hole 17 is completely surrounded by ob and the fairway slopes hard towards the left side out of bounds. Try to reach the basket and chances are you will be trying to save your par from just outsite the circle on the left side. Leave your drive short, or to the right, and you’ll have to seriously trust your putter to go for the birdie, as OB lurks close and the disc can easily flip up and roll down the slope. Barsby goes first. Green flag, about 16 meters short of the pin, on the left side of the fairway. If you’re gonna run a putt, this is a fairly good place to be, as going right past the basket most likely won’t go OB, unless the disc rolls.
Next up McBeth. An aggressive line right down the gut. This needs to stay low to avoid skipping OB. It does. Finds the inside of the circle. Uphill putt from about 5 meters. Barsby putts first. Gives it a go, but nothing too crazy. It’s not the right time to go all in. Sails past the basket. Makes the comebacker for a par. Now McBeth has an easy job to make his birdie putt and tie the lead going into the final hole. Sound familiar?
Video: McBeth ties with a birdie on 17. Find more videos like this here!
Tied on the 18th tee
McBeth is the first man on the hole 18 tee. Finds the sweet spot near the curve. Barsby next. Opts to play the sidearm. Not the line he was aiming for. Sweeps through the first tree on the fairway and fades OB. Next up, Barsby is faced with a long upshot with OB in just about every direction. Places his disc in bounds, about 18 meters from the basket. Then McBeth. Throws a big hyzer and makes sure to play it wide enough to avoid the OB very close to the basket on the left side. Lands just inside the circle, not far from the OB area determined by the scoreboard/podium.
McBeth’s next play is now completely in the hands of Barsby. Attacking the elevated basket with OB in near vicinity will be a win or lose game. Barsby steps behind his mini. Needs to make the 18-meter putt to elevated basket or will surely hand the victory to Paul. The gallery of thousands stands still. The putter leaves Gregg’s hands on a high line as typical to him. Finds chains, and the crowd explodes in cheering. Wow. What a moment.
WOWZERS! #PlayByPlay #GreggBarsby starts #hole18 tied to the lead with McBeth, goes ob on his drive, makes the green with his upshot and has a huge putt to push McBeth to make his from just outside the circle fir the win! It doesn’t get much more exciting than this! Follow the live scoring at discgolfworldtour.com/live #DGWT #EO2017 #opendiscgolf #EuropeanOpen #discgolf #Nokia #Finland #frisbeegolf #Round4
Video: Barsby on hole 18. Find more videos like this here!
Moment of truth, vol. 2
Now it’s all up to Paul to make or break. In this chess game, there’s no ties. Putt in, take the birdie and win or miss and almost surely take an OB 5 and lose. A moment of silence. Concentration. Reach back, release and ka-ching! Money. Paul McBeth does it again, another come-from behind victory on the Beast. The crowd cheers and even the more seasoned players have a hard time believing what just happened. Gregg goes up to Paul, all smiles and gives him a hug to congratulate for the victory. No sour feelings, only pure joy of being able to be part in one of the most epic races to victory in disc golf. what a great competitor. While Paul had tied the lead with Barsby on at least 3 occasions throughout the tournament, Barsby was never not in the lead before the final putt. What a thriller.
YOU NEED TO SEE THIS. #PlayByPlay #PaulMcbeth starts #hole18 tied to the lead with Gregg Barsby. Barsby goes ob off the tee, but saves the par with a huge outside the circle putt, forcing McBeth to make his birdie putt for the win. Watch the rest from the video 🙂 Find the results at discgolfworldtour.com/live #DGWT #EO2017 #opendiscgolf #EuropeanOpen #discgolf #Nokia #Finland #frisbeegolf #Round4
Video: McBeth on hole 18. Find more videos like this here!
Lizotte, Doss and the rest
Outside the top 2, both Nate Doss and Simon Lizotte would have easily been in striking distance for the best part of the round, should the leading duo had made mistakes during the round. But they didn’t. Just like on the final round last year, Paul tied the course record to ensure victory. Barsby shot a very respectable 9 under. Simon took the 3rd place with his -6 for the day. Doss shot the same score today and took 4th, 1 behind Simon.
Outside the lead card, Eagle McMahon (USA) secured the 5th place in his European Open debut with -7 for the day. Ricky Wysocki (USA) finally was able to put together a great round, -11, and jumped to tied 7th place with the highest placing Finn, Väinö Mäkelä and Nathan Sexton (USA). KJ Nybo (DEN) rounded out the the top 10 with his -7 for today. Other top performers today include (but are not limited to) Philo Brathwaite (USA) and Henrik Johansen (SWE), who both jumped up the scoreboard with their -11 rounds for the day.
Recap on the final round action!
Video: Paul McBeth with great birdie on hole 7. Find more videos like this here!
During the final round, our social media team was following mostly the 2 top cards of Open division. As a result, you can find a lot of photo updates, as well as hole-specific play-by-play videos on our instagram account. Make sure to check them out here!
We also have The SpinTV production crew piecing together play-by-play tournament coverage videos from the lead card’s final rounds from both divisions, to be released sometime in the coming days. You can always find all of our official videos here and check out our facebook live recap show from after the final round below:
If the facebook video player doesn’t appear on your screen, click here to watch!
Scores and Stats
We also highly recommend checking out the leaderboard and Metrix and course stats from the final round. The new feature we added last year, player- and hole-specific instagram videos on the scoring interface, was in place here at the European Open too, so make sure to check those out by clicking the tiny camera icons where available.
The Disc Golf World Tour will be back in action at the tour finale on Winthrop Gold in South Carolina in early October. Find out more about the USDGC here!