Kat Mertsch Wins Her First DGPT; Calvin Heimburg Defends Jonesboro Title

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Two Wins in One Weekend

Team Innova had our best finish so far this season at last weekend’s Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open. Calvin Heimburg took 1st place in MPO, continuing his historic season of dominance. Kat Mertsch won her first ever DGPT event, beating teammate Hailey King in one of the closest finishes of the year. And Eveliina Salonen shot a 1024-rated final round, the best of the tournament. 

 
 
 
 
 
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An Emotional First Win for Star Team’s Kat Mertsch 

Photo by DGPT

Kat Mertsch has had the fire, determination, talent, and killer instinct of a Pro Tour winner since she first showed up on the scene in 2019; now she has the title to go with it. Kat took down the win at last weekend’s Jonesboro Open, beating teammate Hailey King in a one hole playoff. It was among the most exciting finishes in either division so far this year. This is Kat’s first DGPT victory, likely of many. It was hard to not feel emotional watching Kat accept her trophy. She wanted the win more than anyone else on tour and she made it happen. Her victory cry was one of a player who has devoted herself to disc golf and saw years of hard work be validated in a single moment. 

Hailey King and Kat Mertsch came out blistering on day one, shooting a -11 and -10 to get out to an early lead ahead of the field. With both players coming off 3rd place finishes at the Champions Cup, the stage was set for a battle between two women playing at the top of their game. 

On day two, Kat doubled down on her strong first round performance, shooting a -7 and moving into first place. Hailey King struggled on the front nine, but managed to reset and scrape together a respectable 3 down. On the final day, Hailey came out determined to make up for the slow start she had in round two. After shooting three down through the first four holes, Hailey was tied with Kat. The two remained neck and neck through hole 18 and beyond. Kat would ultimately win in a one hole playoff after a mistake from Hailey. 

Photo by DGPT

Kat led the field in Scramble percentage and only took one OB stroke for the event. This is her fourth top ten finish of the season, moving her into 10th place in the DGPT point standings. 

It was moving to see how much this win meant to Kat Mertsch. Disc golf is much more than just a job or a sport to Kat; she says she would not be here without disc golf. Now that she has seen herself take down a big event, Kat will have added confidence going forward. The first one is always the hardest.

Team Innova moved Kat to Star Team because the trajectory of improvement in her game and her unmatched motivation made it clear that she could compete with the best. With this big win and Kat’s overall strong start to the season, she has proven that she is where she belongs on Star Team. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3rd at Champions Cup, 2nd at Jonesboro, _ at OTB 

Hailey King took 2nd at the 2023 Jonesboro Open. Hailey shot a 1022-rated opening round at -11, the lowest score of the weekend. She led the field in Fairway Hits and Birdie percentage. She was 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting, 3rd in C2 Putting, and 4th in C1x Putting. Her finish in Jonesboro has moved Hailey into 8th place of the DGPT point standings 

Photo by DGPT

Hailey struggled in the first half of the second round, but managed to reset and finish her event charging. She shot -8 on the final day, making three C2 putts and putting 100% from inside the circle. Her ability to put that rough stretch in the second round behind her and make such a solid run for the win shows a maturity and level-headedness not normally found in such a young player. Hailey got 3rd place two weekends ago at the Champions Cup, and 2nd place last weekend in Jonesboro… Things are trending in the right direction for Hailey at the OTB Open. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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One of the Hottest Rounds of the Season

Photo by DGPT

Eveliina Salonen shot the hot round on the final day in Jonesboro at -10 to rocket nine places up the leaderboard into 5th. That was the highest-rated round of the weekend at 1024, and one of the best-rated FPO rounds at any event so far this season. Eveliina only missed one putt inside the circle that round, one of her best putting performances of the year. For the weekend overall, Eveliina led the field in Strokes Gained Tee to Green, Parked percentage, C1 Hits in Regulation, and C2 Hits in Regulation. If Eveliina can stay in the rhythm she found on the putting green in the final round of Jonesboro, she will be hard to beat at OTB. 

Henna Blomroos got her fourth top ten finish of the season last weekend, landing in a tie for 8th place. She was 2nd in Strokes Gained Tee to Green and 3rd in C1 Hits in Regulation. 

 


Calvin Heimburg – The Number One Player in the World 

The 2023 MPO field is the deepest and most talented group of athletes disc golf has ever seen, yet Calvin Heimburg has managed to dominate. His consistency given the strength of the field is making for an historic and unprecedented start to the year. Through eight events, Calvin has three wins, six podiums, and only one finish outside of the top 5. 

Photo by DGPT

At last weekend’s Jonesboro Open, Calvin set the pace with a hot first round, and held that pace through to victory. He shot 13 under par in the first two rounds to land tied for the lead going into the final day. The conditions in the third round were difficult, but Calvin put together a solid -5 to secure the win. 

Calvin’s precision and distance off the tee won him the event. He led the field in Parked percentage and C2 Hits in Regulation. He was 2nd in Birdie percentage, 3rd in Fairway Hits, and 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee to Green. This was Calvin’s third win at Jonesboro in the past four year, making him one of only two players on tour to win the same DGPT event three times. His aggressive game plan on the Disc Side of Heaven course has paid off time and time again.

 
 
 
 
 
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Photo by DGPT

That aggression led Calvin to his two -13 rounds, but it also kept things interesting down the stretch. Calvin missed a C2 putt on hole 15 resulting in a late-round bogey and giving Eagle McMahon a one stroke lead with three to play. But just one hole later, Calvin slammed a death putt from deep C2 to take an eagle and regain his share of the lead. Calvin’s bold and fearless decision-making this season has been a thrill to watch. His confidence in his abilities to scramble or make a comebacker when the aggression doesn’t pay off has allowed him to make some incredible shots. 

Calvin’s fans and competitors have been saying he is the best in the world for months, but the World Rankings have finally caught up. Calvin Heimburg is officially the number one player in the world on just about every ranking that exists. Calvin is the UDisc number one player in the world, the Statmando number one player in the world, the PDGA highest ranked player, the highest-rated player on the Disc Golf Pro Tour, and the DGPT points leader by a huge margin. This is the season of Vinny. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Another Top Ten for Williams

Bradley Williams continued a strong start to his 2023 with his 3rd top ten finish of the year. He ended in a tie for 5th place, shooting back-to-back double-digit under par rounds on the first two days of the event. Bradley had one of the big highlights for the weekend of any competitor, a near 100 foot throw-in for birdie on hole 17 in the second round. He jumped 8 spots up the DGPT point standings into the top 20.  

 


25 Years on Top

Halo Aero - 40th Anniversary

2023 was always going to be a special year for Team Innova. We are celebrating 40 years as a company, 25 years as a Team, and 25 years of the USDGC. But as we get deeper into the season, it is becoming clear that we aren’t just celebrating our history this year, we are making new history too. Calvin already has enough top finishes to make for a stellar season and we haven’t even hit the midway point. Every weekend, our players are landing on the podium or better. 25 years of Team Innova and we are still bringing home trophies from nearly every event. 

 

After a much needed break for the players this weekend, the Pro Tour will return to Stockton, California for the 2023 OTB Open. Follow Calvin Heimburg and the rest of Team Innova live on the Disc Golf Network. Check in at Innovadiscs.com for tournament recaps, tips, Innova news, and more.