Innova Team Champion & Discmania Tour Team member Nathan Sexton is known as one of the most skilled players in the game. Originally hailing from the great state of Oregon, Nate has recently found a new home on the east coast in North Carolina. While Nate doesn't always have the time to hop on the full-time tour life, he is known to finish very consistently on top of the leaderboards in regional tournaments. Last weekend in Rocky Mount, North Carolina at the Spike Hyzer Invitational Championship was no exception.
Boasting a field filled with touring pro's like Ricky Wysocki, Jeremy Koling and Barry Schultz, bringing home the win from Spike Hyzer Invitational was never going to be an easy task. Nate started the tournament somewhat modestly, shooting a 1015-rated 52, leaving 5 strokes behind Jeremy Koling going into the 2nd round. "I was struggling with some of my drives on the long Sunset Park course and to my disappointment carded too many OB's to really put myself on top of the leaderboard after round 1", Nate explains.
The 2nd & 3rd round carried a very different kind of groove for Nate, as on both rounds at the Farmington Park course he was able to keep his scorecard bogey-free, carding a pair of 43's, rated 1061 and 1063 respectively. The hot 2nd and 3rd rounds lifted Nate from 7th place to tied 3rd, 2 shots behind then leader Barry Schultz and 1 stroke behind Jeremy Koling on the 2nd place. The final round turned out to be the most eventful in the whole tournament, so we decided to give the recap in Nate's own words:
"The final round was out at Sunset again and I started well making birdie on the first 3 and then throwing a huge drive over the trees to make birdie on the par 4 6th hole. Barry and Brian both made bogey on the 6th against the birdies from Jerm and myself. I made the only birdie on #7 taking the teepad on the pivotal island hole #8. It was about 220 downhill with the most clear line being a spike hyzer. I agonized a bit over whether or not I should lay up for the safe 3 or take the risk and go for the green. I decided to go for it and parked the hole with my Glow Firebird, Brian also made birdie, while Jerm and Barry missed the island and made bogey 4s. I made a few more birdies and after everyone in the group birdied the 12th I think I had a 3 shot lead" says Nathan, while also explaining that he was not aware of this during the time, as he tends to keep his focus on the game rather than the scores during the round.
Nathan Sexton at the United States Disc Golf Championship. Image credit: Stuart Mullenberg / huklab.tumblr.com
"Moving to the last 6 holes, I lost a stroke to Jerm on two back to back holes, the 14th being a 430 island hole that Jerm parked! I layed up and played for a smart 3 there. 15-17 were forehand shots for me and I knew I would need to birdie them all. I ended up throwing all 3 to inside 20 feet and making the putts. I then asked my wife (who was holding the scorecard for me) what the situation was heading into the 18th. She told me I had Jerm by 1 so I knew a birdie would win the tournament. The 18th hole was a 400 foot blind shot with both a backhand and forehand gap. I threw the forehand and hit the only tree in the middle about 250 feet away leaving me 150 short behind a wall of bushes. I then threw a thumber (not my strength!) to 12 feet and saved my par. Jerm ended up hitting his pressure 25 footer to force sudden death." Nate recaps.
Finishing with the hot round over Koling, Sexton was the first man to tee off on the first playoff hole. "My drive left me with about a 30 footer on a fairly easy hole, while Jerm flipped his drive over a little too much coming up 45 feet short. He missed his putt and I had a chance to make a 30 footer for the win. Despite feeling quite a bit of pressure I took my time and drilled the putt with my trusty D-line P2! The best win of my career easily when you consider the competition and a great boost to my confidence for next year!" Nate celebrates his victory at the highly competitive A-tier event.
Check out the video coverage from the event here:
You can also check out Nate's recent "In the Bag" video here:
If you want to learn more from Nate, go follow him on Facebook and check out his recent interview on the Heavy Disc blog.
Image credits: Stuart Mullenberg / huklab.tumblr.com