“I felt like I could win it.”
That was the mindset of Team Discmania’s Nate Perkins going into last week’s 2018 PDGA Pro World Disc Golf Championships. He had a game plan. Confidence was high. As the tournament went on, Perkins found himself within striking distance of that world title.
A monster round at Brewster Ridge in Round Four launched Perkins up the leaderboard and in a prime position.
“I learned a lot.”
That is the main takeaway for Perkins after the final round at Fox Run didn’t quite go according to plan before he would finish in a tie for 14th.
Going into the tournament, Perkins knew he needed to perform a little better than expected at Fox Run in order to be in contention. The course didn’t always play to his strengths. He felt he needed something around a 55 (-8) or 57 (-6) to put himself in a good spot.
Perkins threw a 57 in the first round at Fox Run before throwing a 59 (-4) in the third round held at the same course. This put Perkins several strokes back after three rounds.
“I was a little disappointed and felt like I blew it a bit at Fox Run,” Perkins says. “I did feel like I could come back though. Every hole makes a difference and there was a chance I could get back on the chase or lead cards.”
“The lines are tight at Brewster Ridge and if you aren’t careful, a lot can happen,” Perkins says as the tournament returned to one of his favorite courses for Round Four.
“I had some good breaks early on and I was really making putts from circle’s edge,” Perkins continued as he talked about his monster 50 (-11). It was the best round of the day for the entire field.
While the 50 was the low number Perkins says it could have been better, “I felt some mistakes took place and I could have done more. I certainly left some strokes on the course.”
With a boost of morale under his feet, Perkins found himself in a tie for fourth place going into the final round at Fox Run.
“I didn’t chage my game plan at all. It was all there,” Perkins says about the start of the final round, but unfortunately, the momentum didn’t follow and the final round turned into a grind.
“Looking back, I played too fast. In front of the cameras and the gallery, I didn’t relax into my position and take my time,” Perkins reflected. “Things were happening fast and felt as if some of it was out of my control.”
Perkins was four-over-par through four holes and says it felt as if it was all happening in front of him without being able to focus on the shots.
He knows the result wasn’t what he wanted, but he learned a lot about himself as a disc golfer, “I have what it takes physically and mentally to compete at that level going forward. The best way to learn how to succeed in those positions is to put yourself in those positions. The next time I’m on camera in front of a gallery, I’ll remind myself to get comfortable and get comfortable with my shot and play smart — even if that is for a par.”
“The only thing I can try and do is take the positives from it. I’m disappointed, and it stings, but I’m proud. I’m constantly shaking my head at what happened in the final round and the position that I could have finished in, even if its wasn’t first place, with just a mediocre round. There is some disappointment,” Perkins says.
When asked when that next opportunity could come, Perkins quickly answered, “USDGC. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m very confident on that course and have what it takes to string it together for the title.”
Now that he’s been in a top position in a big tournament like Worlds, Perkins is ready to strike. It’s only a matter of time.