Last weekend we had the pleasure to film a tournament I’ve always wanted to go to and unfortunately always miss and that’s the Four States Open. It’s held in the Joplin, Missouri area and feature 3 different courses (McClelland, Morse Park, and Lakeside Park). Kevin Carder and Andrew Jinks did a great job running a very smooth tournament that left players wanting to come back next year. There were 188 total players including 38 playing open which led to a pro purse of just over $6,000 thanks to all the awesome sponsors. When we film a tournament we always hope for a close battle on the lead card and luckily that’s exactly what happened. There were six players with a 1000+ PDGA rating which usually means there’s going to be some hot scores posted. Let’s break down what happened round by round.
The first round was held Saturday morning at Morse Park located in Neosho, Missouri (a suburb of Joplin) and featured Micah Funderburgh, Andrew Presnell, Kyle Webster, and Bo Tillman. Now you could easily say that Andrew was the favorite to shoot the best round on this card but Kyle, Bo, and Micah are no slouch. Morse Park is a long and open course with painted OB lines on almost every hole which can get tricky especially if there’s wind out there, which there was. Andrew and Kyle started off pretty well while Micah and Bo were struggling to find their putting stroke. After 5 holes Kyle was at -2, Andrew at -1, Bo at even par, and Micah at +1. Andrew proceeds to get on a birdie run as he birdies out the front nine making him -5 with Kyle right on his tail at -4.
I’ve filmed Bo many times and I’ve never seen him get off to a slow start like this. The fact that he didn’t get a single birdie on the front nine is kind of mind-boggling but he knew he needed to turn it around on the back to have a chance to find his way back on the lead card.
After the first couple of holes on the back, Andrew starts to pull away as Micah closes in on Kyle leaving him just 1 stroke back. Bo finally got that birdie he was waiting for all-round which ignites that fire in him to catch back up with the card. Thru 15 holes, Andrew is now at -9, Kyle at -6, Micah at -3, and Bo at -2. Everyone proceeds to continue getting birdies except for Kyle which resulted in Andrew shooting -12 (1060 rated), Kyle -6 (1004 rated), Micah -5 (995 rated), and Bo -4 (985 rated).
This round started two hours after round 1 and was played at Lakeside Park in Carl Junction, Missouri. I’d say this is the easiest of the three courses because it’s fairly open and extremely attackable. After that hot 1060 rated first round from Andrew Presnell, he found himself at the top of the leaderboard going into round 2. He’s accompanied by Chris Eads (-9), Isaac Heinen (-9), and Alan Wagner (-7).
The first hole of this course is also the most daunting as Andrew and Chris both go OB water which instantly opened the door for Isaac and Alan to gain some strokes on their fellow card mates. Alan, unfortunately, missed his birdie putt and nearly goes into the water while Isaac taps in his birdie. Isaac proceeds to birdie the next 3 holes to jump in first place at -13 while Andrew stayed at -12. By the end of the front nine, Andrew and Isaac were tied at -14, Alan at -12, and Chris at -11. At this point, everyone on the lead card is playing pretty well which is no shock since Alan is the only one that isn’t 1000+ rated with a 995 rating.
After 13 holes, Andrew and Isaac remain tied while Chris jumps Alan by one stroke making this a close race at the top. After the second round, I heard from multiple players saying they saw horrible scores posted on hole 18. Not like double, triple, or quadruple bogeys but 12 over par on just that hole. MULTIPLE PEOPLE!!! It’s only a 240ft hole but the fairway is about 35ft wide with an OB street on the right and an OB pond on the left that both run from the tee box to the basket. Luckily the worst score on this card was Andrew with a par which allowed Isaac to take a one-stroke lead going into the final round.
Round 3 was a little different from the previous two rounds in the sense that we had tee times opposed to the shotgun start. I believe the Tournament Director made this decision so that the early morning players could form a gallery to watch the leaders battle it out on the hardest course in the area. Speaking of the hardest course in the area, McClelland Disc Golf Course is a very unique, long, and wooded (at times) course where you HAVE to be on you’re A-Game. There’s plenty of opportunities out there to gain some ground and unfortunately lose some as well. Just after 5 holes, we have a tie at the top with Andrew and Isaac both at -21 and a tie for second between Chris and Alan at -16. Andrew and Isaac remain close all the way up until the last hole where Isaac has a one-stroke lead.
The first half of the 18th hole (447ft) is extremely wooded then opens up on the second half. If you can make it to the opening on your drive then there’s a really good chance for a birdie 3. If you don’t have a good drive then it becomes a nightmare. Isaac had a nightmare! After Andrew drove it just short of the gap to the opening, Isaac rides the right side of the fairway just a tad too much and takes a gnarly 60ft kick off a tree heading in the wrong direction. Andrew isn’t in the best spot but he’s one good hyzer skip shot away from taking a birdie. On Isaac’s second shot, he tries to make the gap with a forehand and hits another tree. And then another tree on the following shot. Finally, its Andrew's turn to put it away but he leaves his approach shot about 35ft short of the basket to make for a difficult birdie. Isaac is now shooting 4 so he needs to have a field ace to tie it up assuming Andrew misses his birdie putt. Unfortunately, Isaac is in a tough spot on the left side of the rough and elects to stop the bleeding by just pitching out and accepting a second-place finish. This leads to Andrew laying up his 35 footers and tapping in for the victory.
While Andrew’s score of 59 (1027 rated) was good enough for the win, Bo Tillman and Larry Gardner came in with scorching hot scores of 57 (1041 rated) to jump them into the top 5. A huge thank you on behalf of the GK Pro team to Kevin Carder for having us out there to film. We got to meet some awesome players and watch an intense battle from start to finish. Can’t ask for any better.
Make sure to go watch all the videos from the tournament if you haven’t already!