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In the Driver’s Seat – 2023 USDGC Round 3 Recap

By Nick Quargnenti
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In the Driver’s Seat

2023 USDGC – Round 3 Recap

Sunday, October 8, 2023 – 08:15

Kyle Klein took control and leads the USDGC by three strokes with 18 holes to go. Photos: Justin Anderson / PDGA

The wind was howling as the best players in the world made their way through Winthrop Arena in Round 3 of the 2023 United States Disc Golf Championship.

The fairways at Winthrop are lined with OB and hazards, so high winds can completely derail everyone’s gameplans as they watch their disc soar away from their landing zones. The course averaged almost three strokes higher than the day before as every player went OB at least once and a few players went OB 10 or more times. While Ricky Wysocki shot the only 10-under round of the day, the lead card played just well enough to stay on top, albeit in a slightly different order.

Kyle Klein might feel a little disappointed to shoot 4-under in Round 3, but it was solid enough to bump him into 1st place at 22 strokes under par.

When asked about playing in the windy conditions, Klein said, “It was a lot more than I think any of us expected so it was kind of an adjustment throughout the whole round.”

Klein was able to adjust through the difficulty and finished with 84% fairway hits and 89% C1X putting. After starting the round just one stroke behind Joel Freeman, Klein worked his way into 1st place with four birdies and an eagle on holes 6 through 11. He managed to get a five-stroke cushion going into the final hole but took one last bogey to drop his lead down to three strokes going into the final round.

When asked how he feels with a three-stroke lead on championship Sunday, Klein said, “I feel confident in my abilities and I’ll hold onto that tomorrow.”

While Klein has seen success with multiple wins on tour including an Elite Series victory earlier this season, this is Klein’s first ever outright lead going into the final round on tour according to StatMando. Both of his previous Elite Series wins were comebacks, including one from the chase card.

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Bradley Williams also shot 4-under for the day to move up into solo second place. Williams’ smooth and technical style made for a more consistent round with only two bogeys despite going OB three holes in a row from holes 13 through 15. Perhaps the biggest moment of Williams’ round came on hole 13 when he successfully saved par with a 60ft putt that sailed through the wind and into the chains.

“That’s when putting’s fun. When they float like that, it’s pure bliss,” Williams said of his impressive scramble.

After steadily working his way up the leaderboard and now going into the final round just three strokes back of the lead, Williams looked back on his progress at the USDGC over the years.

“It’s a career best situation going into the last day of this Major tournament so I feel like it’s a progression of my story in disc golf,” said Williams, who finished in 15th place at the 2022 USDGC, “I’ve gotten a little bit better every time I’ve played this tournament.”

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Joel Freeman and Sullivan Tipton had slower rounds as they fought through the wind, but both will remain on the lead card as they head into the final round tied for 3rd. According to StatMando, for the first time in USDGC history, none of the players in the final round lead or chase card have any MPO Major titles.

As they head into championship Sunday, there’s only 18 more holes between any of these players and their first {DGA Major victory at the 2023 United States Disc Golf Championship.

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