By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff
Elevation? No problem.
Bum leg? Not an issue.
Course record? No big deal. Twice.
That sums up Ricky Wysocki’s performance at this past weekend’s Great Lakes Open National Tour Series event, where the Prodigy phenom racked up his third NT victory with a three-round 32-under-par 154.
Prodigy teammate Garrett Gurthie shot a 23-under par 163 to place second, and Will Schusterick and Devan Owens tied for third place with 22-under 164s. Paul McBeth rounded out the top five with a 24-under 165, which took place at the much-revered Toboggan Championship Course at Kensington Metropark in Milford, Michigan.
As has been the case in the other events he has won this year, though, this one was all Wysocki from the first day.
After Owens held the lead briefly with a course-record 52 on Friday, Wysocki bested the score later that day with an 11-under 51. Wysocki then took that one shot lead and extended it to six by throwing a 1077-rated 50 – breaking his own Toboggan course record, all while playing through a calf injury – on Saturday.
Heading into Sunday with plenty of room between him and the rest of the contenders, Wysocki tossed a lead card-best 53 to close out play with a nine shot victory over Gurthie.
The victory gave Wysocki an additional 100 points in the National Tour standings, which he now leads with 463.5 points. The top five in the Series stayed the same after the weekend’s results, with Nikko Locastro (436), Dave Feldberg (410), Schusterick (409) and McBeth (375) all in contention for the rest of the season. With his third place tie this weekend, Owens is sixth in the rankings with 374 points, one shy of McBeth.
The Series continues in two weeks at the Kansas City Wide Open, an event in which Wysocki has continually improved the past two season, finishing 14th in 2011 and ninth last year.
Hokom edges Pierce for women’s title
Throughout the course of the 2013 National Tour, the final day of most tournaments have seen some combination Sarah Hokom, Paige Pierce, and Catrina Ulibarri on the lead card. In many cases, they’ve all been there together.
So it was only natural that the top three women in the points standings battled it out again this weekend at Toboggan.
And with all three having captured one NT victory apiece before the Great Lakes Open, the stage was set for one woman to jump the others on the leaderboard.
Hokom made the leap.
With a one-shot victory over Pierce, Hokom claimed her second NT win of the season and now sits atop the standings with 464 points. Her 3-over-par 189 bested Pierce’s 4-over 190 and Ulibarri’s 7-over 193. Ragna Bygde (202) and Des Reading (204) rounded out the top five.
Hokom said having her teammates battling for top spots week in and week out has benefitted all of them.
“We actually are really pushing each other really well right now, more in a really positive way,” Hokom said. “We don’t shoot good rounds unless one of the other ones of us is there to push us to do it. We’re just trying to play good golf, and as far as I’m concerned I love having both those girls right there with me. It makes it really interesting and makes me play better.”
Hokom also chalked up her win on the hilly Toboggan Course to past play on other courses with elevated terrain.
“Playing lots of different courses made it less of a challenge because of my experience on big mountain courses,” she said. “I think I play well with big elevation.”
And while there won’t be much of that elevation at the Kansas City Wide Open, where she’ll aim to keep herself atop the standings, she knows other natural elements will play a factor in course management.
“I expect the wind to be there in Kansas, and I’ll just handle it the same way I always do,” Hokom said. “Just stable up. It’s all good.”
Much like other tournaments this season, Hokom said she expects the final National Tour winner to come down to the wire. But she sounded confident in who would rise to the top.
“I have no doubt it’s going to come down to the end because it usually does with us,” Hokom said. “I think if I grab another one it’ll be tough for someone to unseat that, and I think I’ve got a shot at it.”
Steve Hill is the associate editor for Rattling Chains. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @OneMileMore.