Story credit – Matt Gregoire PDGA
The 2017 Aussie Open came to a close on Sunday just outside of Perth, Australia at the beautiful and very difficult Mundaring DiscGolfPark. For the first time in several days, the competitors, staff, and volunteers were blessed with a break from the extreme heat that had been pushing a majority of players to their limits, both physically and mentally. It’s been an extraordinary week and we couldn’t have asked for a more exciting or dramatic finish.
On the women’s side, going into the final round, Paige Pierce’s lead was already strong enough to make her pretty much a safe bet for the FPO winner. The question of the day was whether or not Paige would earn a spot at the prestigious United States Disc Golf Championship. A total of 10 spots were to be awarded to the 10 best players accross all Pro divisions.
At the end of the day, Paige’s -6 total for the week was enough to place her on the 11th place in overall Pro Division scores. Ricky Wysocki and Eagle McMahon however, had already qualified through last year’s USDGC, meaning we will be seeing Paige at the Winthrop Gold this October. Paige is the 2nd female competitor ever to qualify for the USDGC, with the first one being Des Reading in 2003.
Paige accomplished this feat by shooting under par for the first three rounds, including a 1003-rated Round 1 and a 1022-rated Round 3, both of which were played in temperatures exceeding 100°F (38°C). Paige finished the weekend shooting four over par (69) in her final round. Afterward, she anxiously awaited the rest of the Open divisions to finish, with multiple competitors in the hunt.
However, going into the final round 19 ahead of the next closest competitor, Paige had little to worry about as far as winning the event. Still, there was some excitement in the women’s division with plenty of room for movement between the threesome of women below, including Jennifer Allen in 2nd, Madison Walker in 3rd, and Des Reading in 4th.
Teeing off early in the morning for the first time all week, the women faced a wet and chilly morning with a seemingly endless drizzle that was just heavy enough to make the discs, tee pads, and fairways slick. Despite the slippery conditions, most of the women threw rounds this afternoon that compared to the scores they had been finishing with in the days prior.
Video: Paige Pierce on hole 18. Find more videos like this here!
A strong round of two under par (63) shot by Jennifer during Round 3 gave her enough of a cushion over Madison to hold her off on the final day. Des rounded out the lead card for the final round in 4th place, and all four of the ladies would finish in the same position in which they started.
Wysocki Cards 16 Birdies, 2 Pars to Win in Dramatic Fashion
Video: Ricky Wysocki started the birdiefest on hole 1. Find more videos like this here.
Watching the battle between Eagle McMahon and Ricky Wysocki this week was an epic experience. No one expected that the record-breaking insanity we witnessed during Round 2 followed by the back and forth drama of Round 3 could be combined into one of the most exciting final rounds a PDGA Major has seen since Wysocki’s win on the last hole at the 2016 European Masters at Järva DiscGolfPark in Sweden.
Eagle entered the final round leading by three over Wysocki with a chance to not only take down a wire-to-wire win, but to win his first PDGA Major and his first Disc Golf World Tour event, and all this while being only 18 years old. Right out of the gates, it was clear that it was going to be another birdie-or-die round. And it wasn’t just the two of them. Joined by Paul McBeth in 3rd and Japan’s Manabu Kajiyama, the course was about to get absolutely ripped to shreds.
In the front nine alone, the four of them carded no bogeys and 27 birdies. By the time the dynamic foursome finished hole 12, Wysocki had reduced his deficit to Eagle to just one. Keep in mind that at this point, 12 holes into the round, Ricky was at 11 under par with a birdie streak that started on hole 3, McMahon was at nine under par, and both McBeth and Manabu were at six under par.
Ricky and Eagle went birdie-for-birdie for the next three holes and then finally, with just three holes to go, Ricky uncharacteristically missed a birdie putt inside the circle, giving Eagle a lead of two with just two short par 3 holes to go. It was an intense moment, but those that know Ricky’s game knew it was definitely not over.
Hole 17 is a downhill 394 foot (120 meter) par 3 to a very small green surrounded by out-of-bounds (OB). To make a long story short, Eagle’s drive didn’t have enough power behind it, and it hit a branch, fading into the OB on the left. Ricky teed off last and parked it, forcing Eagle to have to make a 50 foot (15 meter) putt to save par and avoid a tie going into the 18th hole. With the pressure on, he nailed it, and we were off to the 18th tee pad with Ricky still one back.
Video: Eagle McMahon par save on hole 17 was nothing short of impressive. Find more videos like this here.
Hole 18’s green is very similar to Hole 17, surrounded by OB with a very small and risky landing area to secure a birdie putt. Unlike 17, it is much shorter at only 312 feet (95 meters) and plays uphill instead of down. Ricky teed ahead of Eagle this time and parked it. Once again, the pressure was on for Eagle, this time teeing off at the back of the box.
Eagle played a spike hyzer up the slope and out to the right. It landed on the right side of the green and never made its way back towards the basket. He was OB again, and was forced to putt from the drop zone, sitting roughly 65 feet (20 meters) from the pin. When he let go of the putter, he knew it was over. It glided towards the basket but was fading left too soon, and fell to the ground.
Video: Eagle on hole 18. Find more videos like this here.
After the others cleaned up their putts, Ricky tapped in for the win to close out a nail-biting finish. It took an incredible 1096-rated round of 16 under par to catch Eagle, but he did it, showing the experience and skill of the reigning World Champion & DGWT Points Champion.
Video: Ricky Wysocki brings home the title. Find more videos like this here.
Paul McBeth finished with an impressive 14 under par (51) that included a throw-in eagle on the par 5 hole 16, which bested his previous personal course record, a 52 at the 2015 Aussie Open. Manabu tapped in on 18 to finish at 12 down, firmly securing his 4th place position. During the round Manabu earned a new nickname “Mr. Bullseye”, thanks to his precision upshots and drives that found the 3 meter circle on 39% lot of the holes on the Mundaring DiscGolfPark course during the last 18 holes of the tournament.
Recap on the Final Day Action!
Video: Eagle McMahon is just a hair short of hitting an eagle on hole 7. Find more videos like this here.
During the final round, our social media team was following mostly the top 2 groups on the course. 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 final round. While you wait for those, see below for our daily facebook live report from right after the round, with of Paige Pierce, Eagle McMahon, Ricky Wysocki and a special guest performance by Jeremy Koling.
Make sure to check out also our tournament coverage videos published so far:
Feature Card Round 1 Front 9 ->
Feature Card Round 1 Back 9 ->
Lead Card Round 2 Front 9 ->
Lead Card Round 2 Back 9 ->
Lead Card Round 3 Front 9 ->
Lead Card Round 3 Back 9 ->
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, is in place here at the Aussie Open too, so make sure to check those out by clicking the tiny red arrows where available.
The majority of the Metrix stats are available for registered users only, so make sure to register here if you haven’t already! And if you’re in luck, registering may pay off in a big way, as we’re raffling a $100 Discmania prize package among our followers next week.
The final scores of FPO, MPM and MA1 divisions can be found over at PDGA.com. Find the results page with preliminary round ratings here!
Story: Marty Gregwah & DGWT Staff