The 2018 PDGA Pro Master’s World Championships took place in Kansas City this past weekend and Team Discmania’s Bob Kulchuk was in attendance. It’s easy to say that you aren’t familiar with Kulchuk, but around the Discmania side of things, he’s certainly part of the family right along side the Simon Lizottes and Eagle McMahons of the world.
Having joined the team earlier this year, Kulchuk has spent much of the season learning a new line up of discs, but has seen his game become stronger each week leading up to Worlds.
Kulchuk battled the courses and the strong field to finish the tournament in 23rd overall.
“I am generally pleased with how I played,” Kulchuk tells Discmania. “This year’s field was very competitive with 12 of the 54 players over 1,000-rated in the MP40 division so I knew that just making the semifinals cut was going to be a test. I played very consistent golf averaging well above my rating for the four tournament rounds and was able to meet that goal.”
The format of this year’s tournament mirrored the PDGA Pro Worlds with just one round per day. With hot weather at the start of the week, Kulchuk says the single-round-days were a blessing, “I stayed focused on each shot as best I could and tried to stay in each moment. Of course, I made a few mental mistakes along the way and did not consistently execute my putting as well as I should (my Circle 1 putting was 80%, 88%, 80% and 94%) which cost me strokes, but when the last putt fell on the 18th hole of round four, I had secured a tie for 20th with three other players.”
The cut line and payout line was set at the top 22 competitors. With 23 players overall making the cut, one person in the semifinals wasn’t going to hit the cash payout. Unfortunately, that was Kulchuk.
“(I played) quite poorly in the semi final round and had a few unlucky breaks, but I feel very fortunate to have elevated my game throughout the rest of the week.”
Kulchuk says he was very lucky to have family and friends back home follow his progress online and heard the encouragement on social media loud and clear, “I also travelled with two friends from Massachusetts who competed in the MP50 and MP60 divisions—it was great having them to relax with and encourage each other. They also made the cut in their divisions. Being on the road is hard so having that support system really helps to stay grounded.”
Along with the support from friends and family, Kulchuk had a good luck charm from his daughter that he carried throughout the tournament. Kulchuk’s good luck charm, Lewis, pictured below, has been with him for years and he says serves as a fun conversation piece as many other competitors also carry a little extra something from their family.
After things settled down, Kulchuk says he feels he played fairly consistently off the tee and on his approach shots, but knows he still has work to do when it comes to putting, “This was, by far, my biggest area of weakness this past week. There are also one or two shots that I was not able to execute well so I’ll need some field work.”
A series of discs helped Kulcuck battle the courses in Kansas City, “My S-line MD2 and D-line P2 and P3x were indispensable for approaching. My S-Line TD2 and DDx were money off the tee, especially for tight hyzerflip shots. I also leaned heavily on my swirly Lizotte Doombird FD3 for flick drives and approaches.
“I've come to realize that almost anyone can shoot a 1,000-rated round but the difference between an above-average Pro or Amateur player and a 1,000-rated player is consistency and great putting. For me, getting to the next level where 1,000-rated rounds are the norm, means that I’ve got to dial in the C1 putting,” Kulchuk says.
We last talked to Kulchuk after the Las Vegas Challenge when he was still getting used to his new selection of discs. He says that he feels more and more confident with each round, “I am much more comfortable off the tee especially on tight or wooded fairways. My mid range and putter approach shots have also improved. I play a lot of events but this year I have focused on higher tier events where the stakes are higher. That has helped my mental game tremendously. I find that, event though mistakes and unlucky breaks still happen, I am able to shrug them off quicker and refocus on the next shot.”