Disc golf world championships wrap up at Slippery Rock
Paul McBeth, the 2015 PDGA Player of the Year, tees off on hole four at the final round of the 2015 PDGA Disc Golf World Championships at Slippery Rock University. McBeth went on to win his fourth consecutive world title.
August 10, 2015
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The 2015 Pro Disc Golf World Championships on the campus of Slippery Rock University officially started with a men's open division preliminary round Aug. 4 at 8:30 a.m., but in reality the championships started more than two years ago when it was first announced that the top event in the disc golf world would be coming to the region.
In that time sponsors were found, numerous meetings were held to coordinate the smallest of details and even a complete redesign of SRU's disc golf course, which was converted from its previous nine-hole setup to a fully functionally 18-hole championship level course, was conducted.
All the hard work and preparation by tournament organizers and players alike culminated last week when 408 of the top disc golfers on the planet vied for one of 11 championships and more than $80,000 in prize money.
This year's field included 30 former champions as well as athletes from the U.S., Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Thailand. Preliminary round play was held Aug. 4-7 at four local courses: Slippery Rock University, Deer Lakes Park, Knob Hill Park and Moraine State Park. The top four players in each division at the end of preliminary round play advanced to a final nine-hole round at SRU Aug. 8 to decide a champion in each division.
"I was amazed how the courses were prepared and ready to go a week before the tournament even started," said Will Schusterick, who finished in third place in the men's open division. "There were people out here asking if the course was alright and if they could do anything. I've been to six world championships so far and I think it was really impressive to have this amount of people come out and support disc golf."
Sarah Hokom, the women's open division runner-up finisher, echoed Schusterick's sentiments.
"This has been one of the best world championships I have ever been to," said Hokom. "The courses, the staff, everything was just great."
In the end, Paul McBeth (men's open), Paige Pierce (women's open), Ken Climo (men's masters), Sarah DeMar (women's masters), Joe Mela (men's grandmasters), Sandra Frazer (women's grandmasters), Dave Greenwell (men's senior grandmasters), Shigeko Sekiguchi (women's senior grandmasters), Peter Shive (men's legends), Carlos Rigby (men's senior legends) and Ronald Byrd (men's grand legends) came away victorious in their respective divisions.
McBeth, the 2015 PDGA Player of the Year, has now won four consecutive championships. Pierce's title was the third of her career. Climo and Shive, two of disc golf's most decorated athletes, won their 15th and 12th world championships, respectively.
The Slippery Rock course proved to be the perfect setting for Saturday's final round. It's lengthy fairways combined with competitive basket placements gave disc golf's best a proper championship-level challenge.
"The courses were incredibly challenging," Climo said. "It's rare when you're happy to shoot the scores we did this week."
The golfers put on a great show in the final round for an estimated crowd of more than 700 spectators, who spent their afternoon on campus taking in the competition and great campus scenery.
Fans saw everything great final rounds of disc golf should posses from McBeth's dominance in the form of a nine-shot win to Climo's rallying from a four-shot deficit to the women's open lead going back and forth for the final nine holes between Pierce and Hokom.
One result of the world championships coming to Slippery Rock was that many armatures in attendance are now looking forward to competing on SRU's course as soon as possible.
"I've been here the last two days to watch and I can't wait until I actually have the chance to get out and play," said Bill Paxson of Clarksburg. "I love how the course blends so well into the campus. Anytime the pros are challenged like they were here you know it'll be a fun experience for an average player like me."
For more information on the Slippery Rock disc golf course visit http://www.pdga.com/course-directory/course/slippery-rock-university-disc-golf-links.
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