Sunday Showdown at Maple Hill
2023 DGPT – MVP Open Round 3 Recap
The wind was howling in Round 3 of the 2023 DGPT Playoff – MVP Open at Maple Hill.
Both fields played in high sustained wins and even higher gusts and the MPO field faced a wind delay as the lead card was about to tee off. At the end of the day, both the FPO and MPO divisions ended with a tie for first that coincidentally includes the winner in each field from the most recent DGPT playoff event.
Got the Skills at Maple Hill
The FPO division fought through ripping winds as they made their way through Maple Hill on day 3 of the 2023 MVP Open. The whole field saw some colorful scorecards with every player taking at least two bogeys but overall, the course averaged nearly the same as in round 1. As players jockeyed for position in the final playoff even before the Tour Championship in October, the top of the leaderboard saw the same four names reshuffled.
Ohn Scoggins shot the hot round of the day, starting the round seven strokes back of the lead but finishing in a tie for 1st with Hailey King. While her card mates took some big numbers throughout the round, Scoggins only took three bogeys and birdied the last two holes to finish at 3-under for the day.
When asked about the windy conditions, Scoggins said, “It was very tough for us to throw normal shots and the putting was even worse. Whatever you practiced before the tournament couldn’t be used in this round.”
Even in the wind, Scoggins was ferocious as she attacked each hole and committed to difficult putts. On hole 14, Scoggins sank a 27ft death putt with the wind swirling and water right behind. Even when it would be understandable to simply lay up, Scoggins went for it and gave the gallery a show. With her unofficially 1017 rated round, Scoggins is now in position to take back-to-back playoff victories after winning the Discraft Great Lakes Open in August.
King had a rough start to her round, going 6-over through the front 9. Still, she was able to turn it around and pick up a few birdies on the back 9. Even though she scored 4-over in round 3, King was able to finish in a tie for the lead.
“It was definitely hard to throw a disc and it was hard to putt a disc, but the wind is just crazy,” King said after round 3, “It’s a lot of fun but definitely hard to read.”
Even after giving up a few strokes, King shows no signs of slowing down going into the final round as she has proven her ability to finish strong plenty of times at this stage. According to StatMando, King has held the outright lead or a tie for the lead going into the final round of each of her six Elite Series and Major wins.
Going into the final round, Scoggins and King are just one stroke ahead of Kristin Tattar and two strokes ahead of Eveliina Salonen. With the top five players separated by no more than four strokes, it’s still anyone’s tournament to win in the final round of the 2023 MVP Open.
“The More Wind, the Better”
As the windy conditions continued, a wind delay was called right as the MPO lead card was about to tee off, halting play for a couple of hours to make sure players and spectators alike stayed safe from falling branches and gusts reaching in the mid 40-mph range in some spots.
Once play resumed, the whole field still had some wind to deal with as they made their way through Maple Hill, resulting in a tie at the top of the MPO leaderboard.
After Round 3, Simon Lizotte and Calvin Heimburg lead the field tied for first at 16 strokes under par. Lizotte got off to a hot start, going four down through the first five holes.
“I felt really good about that start. I knew with these conditions that an early cushion would be important,” Lizotte said after taking one of only three birdies on the first hole.
Lizotte seemed to lose some momentum as he took three bogeys in a row from holes 6 through 8, but an 80ft putt onto a small island green surrounded by water got him a birdie on hole 9. Lizotte successfully avoided taking any additional bogeys and tied with Matthew Orum for the hot round at 6-under for the day.
Unlike his victory from the chase card in the 2022 MVP Open, Lizotte now finds himself on the final round lead card. As well as looking to win back-to-back MVP Open titles, Lizotte is now in position to win back-to-back playoff events after winning the Discraft Great Lakes Open.
“I love playing in the wind because I’ve got the distance advantage, I’ve got the overstable plastic,” said Lizotte, whose spin putt got him to 89% C1X putting in round 3, “The more wind, the better.”
Heimburg came into Round 3 leading by one stroke but found himself with a cold start when the lead card finally teed off after the wind delay.
“It’s definitely strange to warm up, get ready, walk up to tee 1 and then have the horn blown instantly,” Heimburg said of the wind delay, “It’s not the same as when you’re on your same normal routine before the round.”
Heimburg struggled on the putting green, only making 40% of his putts inside the circle. However, Heimburg kept giving himself opportunities to score as he led the field with 6.94 strokes gained tee to green and started picking up birdies on the back 9. Now with one more round to go, Heimburg has already proven just how well he can score on this course in calm conditions after shooting a 9-under 1084 rated round on Friday.
“With better conditions, it’ll be more like what we practiced in so I feel like everyone will be a little sharper out there and scores will definitely be lower,” Heimburg said in a post-round interview.
Lizotte and Heimburg will be joined on the final round lead card by Eagle McMahon and Ben Callaway, who are currently tied for second at 15 strokes under par.
Much like the FPO leaderboard, the top five MPO players are only separated by two strokes, setting up for a showdown in the final round of the 2023 MVP Open.