The 2022 United States Disc Golf Championship (USDGC) and Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship (TPWDGC) returned to Winthrop University last week for two of the most prestigious-to-win competitions of the season. The events saw some of the best played disc golf in Rock Hill history, in front of a bigger and more amped up crowd than ever before.
At the age of 17, Gannon Burr became the youngest player to ever win the title of United States Disc Golf Champion. After tapping in the winning putt, with tears in his eyes, Gannon said that the USDGC was the first tournament he ever watched and was the event that he wanted to win most.
Catrina AIlen won the 2022 Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship. In her victory speech, the two-time World Champion and seven-time Major winner said that the TPWDGC came with the same nerves as a Major and that the win felt just as important as winning a Major.
Team Innova had players in both tournaments finish on the podium! Calvin Heimburg took 3rd place at the 2022 USDGC, taking birdie on seven of the final eight holes to maintain his position. And Henna Blomroos took 3rd place at the 2022 TPWDGC.
The Winthrop Arena
The courses at Winthrop are difficult, but fair, with a great variety of shot shapes that test every aspect of a player’s game. Each hole requires smart decision-making and precise execution. With OB, hazard, water, and manditories looming around every corner, if you lose focus for even one hole you can take yourself out of contention for the tournament. Course designers, Harold and Andrew Duvall, have created a track that not only tests shot-making skills, but also mental endurance. Features like the strategically placed long walk up to the often tournament-deciding hole 17 are design elements that make Winthrop such a compelling venue to host a Major.
The tournaments had an expanded Championship Village from year’s past, featuring food trucks, disc vendors, putting games, giveaways, and chances to meet the players. With so much going on in addition to the competition, Championship Week has become the most fun and full spectator experience of any tournament in disc golf.
Team Innova at the 2022 USDGC
After four hard-fought rounds, Calvin Heimburg took 3rd place at the 2022 United States Disc Golf Championship. Calvin led the field in Birdie percentage and in Strokes Gained C1x. This is Calvin’s third podium finish at a Major tournament. With his laser drives and pinpoint putting, Calvin’s first Major win feels on the horizon.
Joel Freeman took 7th place, after a course-record setting -12 in the third round, that launched him up the leaderboard 32 places. He led the event in Strokes Gained Tee to Green and Circle One Hits in Regulation. This is Joel’s fourth consecutive top ten finish at a USDGC.
Nate Sexton finished in 10th place, moving one spot up the leaderboard on the final day to secure his fifth consecutive top ten USDGC finish. Living up to his reputation for playing smart golf, Sexton had the lowest OB rate of any player in the MPO and took just one bogey and one double bogey through the four round event. He also led the field in scramble percentage.
Team Innova at the 2022 TPWDGC
Henna Blomroos finished in 3rd place at the 2022 Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship. Henna led the field in Fairway Hits, Circle One Hits in Regulations, and had the lowest OB rate of any player in the tournament. She has had an incredible 2022 season and will be a player to watch in the upcoming DGPT Championship.
Hailey King also played a great tournament, taking 5th place. She led the field in Birdie percentage and had two eagles for the event.
Ohn Scoggins took 8th place. As usual, Ohn led the field in Strokes Gained Putting and in Circle One Putting percentage. For the 2022 season, Ohn not only leads the FPO field in C1 and C2 putting, but leads all of Team Innova, MPO or FPO, in combined C1 + C2 putting stats.
Eveliina Salonen finished in a tie for 9th place. Eveliina led the field in C2 hits in regulation. Jennifer Allen finished in a tie for 11th. She shot a hot -6 in the final round to bring herself back to even par for the event.
A Life-Changing Event
The Winthrop Arena is a legendary course. It has hosted more Major tournaments than any other location in disc golf. To win is to go down in history. Gannon Burr was clearly a player with promise before this tournament, but his career has now been launched in ways we can only wait to see. Gannon’s 60 foot putt on hole 17 to gain a one stroke lead over Niklas Anttila will be a pivotal moment in the young player’s life. The USDGC victory that he secured with that putt will seed confidence to take down more big titles and will justify a life-changing sponsorship deal.
The addition of the Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship has been the most significant and exciting change to Championship Week of the past twenty years. It offers the women an opportunity to compete on the hallowed grounds of Winthrop in an event that is as competitive as a Major and as rewarding to win as a Major. Congratulations to Catrina Allen on adding this sought after title to her long list of accolades.
There is only one event left of the 2022 season. The Disc Golf Pro Tour Championships are taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina from October 12th through 16th. Team Innova has many players in both divisions who have qualified and are determined to give their all at this final tournament of the year. Tune in on the Disc Golf Network to watch Team Innova shred at the new venue for the Pro Tour Finals, Nevin Park.