The Mid-America Open has once again yielded an exciting finish in the women’s open division, but this year with a different victor. Ellen Widboom, Missy Gannon, Heather Young, and Vanessa Van Dyken battled head to head, alternating leads, all tournament.
The first three names were on lead-card for both the second and third round, while Van Dyken snuck on for third round after shooting a 955 rated 56. Her one over par round was tied hot for FPO with only Widboom matching her consistent performance.
These hot rounds largely contributed to these two ladies’ T-2 finishes. However, they did it with very different rounds. While Van Dyken hit 43% of fairways and made 41% of C2s in regulation, Widboom finished the tournament with a division high scramble rate of 50% and a division high 47 pars for the tournament, followed by Van Dyken at 43 pars. These two also took entirely different approaches; Widboom heavily relies on her sidearm while Van Dyken throws almost exclusively backhand.
While par may not always be the most entrancing score on the card, it played an integral role in finding success at the expansive and intimidating Albert Oakland disc golf course. The 6,188 foot par 55’s long par threes require accurate drives and precise upshots to shoot well.
The tree littered roughs and tight fairways required touch and the ability to steer one’s disc, explaining Missy Gannon’s success at the tournament. The 2019 Women’s World Putting Champion placed fourth on the weekend but won the tournament statistically. Gannon led the field in fairway hits (46%), C1 in regulation (20%), C2 in regulation (46%), birdies (17%) and strokes gained from tee to green (6.61). She displayed the utmost faith in her drives and approaches, but in the end took too many bogeys to edge out this year’s champion, Heather Young.
Heather Young is the youngest disc golfer to ever win a Disc Golf Pro Tour event, at just 18 years old, and nobody should be surprised. Young showed signs of intent, taking eighth last weekend at the Jonesboro Open and she has not looked back. Heather finished in the top three of every UDisc title statistic except for ‘parked%’ in the FPO division, but her putting took the spotlight for the entire tournament. She went 88% in C1X (28 of 32) and 32% in C2 (6 of 19), leading the field in both categories. For reference, and as a testament to how difficult the course was, the next best C2 putting conversion rate was Deann Carey at 18%.
Heather also finished the tournament with eight birdies, the second most in the
division. She put her incredibly rounded driving skills on display throughout the weekend, wielding forehands and backhands both off the tee and onto the green. Regardless of where you watched her round from, it was a sight to see. Today is a good day for the color purple.