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2019 PDGA National Tour

2019 PDGA National Tour

Calvin Heimburg drives from the cobbles on hole 18 on the way to his Las Vegas Challenge title. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

HENDERSON, Nev. – Calvin Heimburg needed a friend.

The stoic slinger was unshakable as he took the Las Vegas Challenge’s first three rounds by storm, rarely showing any emotion as he staked a six-shot lead into Sunday’s final at Wildhorse Golf Club’s Innova course. But the last 18 of a PDGA National Tour event is a whole different animal, and while Heimburg didn’t show any distress on his face, he did with his game.

Paige Bjerkaas takes a moment to collect herself after winning the Las Vegas Challenge in a sudden death playoff. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

HENDERSON, Nev. – For someone who admitted to lacking confidence earlier in the week, you never would have known it by watching Paige Bjerkaas during Sunday’s final round of the Las Vegas Challenge.

Precise drives. Chain rattling jump putts. A four-shot deficit chased down in the first seven holes. A three-stroke advantage gained by hole 10.

Calvin Heimburg takes questions after round three of the Las Vegas Challenge. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

HENDERSON, Nev. – Calvin Heimburg hasn’t blinked. Now, he’s on the cusp of his first career PDGA National Tour victory.

Catrina Allen kept a level head and added to her lead at the Las Vegas Challenge. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

HENDERSON, Nev. – On paper, Catrina Allen’s Las Vegas Challenge performance thus far has resembled a weekend vacation at the local amusement park.

The Minnesota native’s fairway hit rates have undulated: 78 percent in round one, 61 percent in round two, 84 percent in Saturday’s third round; circle 2 in regulation (67 percent, 39 percent, 83 percent) has been a loop-de-loop; circle 1x putting (0 percent in round three) a death-defying drop ride.

Andrew Presnell, shown here during round one of the Las Vegas Challenge, provided the highlight reel ace during round three. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

Calvin Heimburg has yet to blink, but big names are on his tail heading into the final round of the Las Vegas Challenge. And it's a tale of two Allens in the Open Women's division. This time tomorrow we'll have our first PDGA National Tour Champions of 2019!

Calvin Heimburg mixed accuracy with aggression during round two of the Las Vegas Challenge. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

HENDERSON, Nev. – Calvin Heimburg and Josh Anthon stood underneath the one bit of neon here that is reminiscent of the nearby Las Vegas Strip, as Wildhorse Golf Club’s brightly hued logo hovered over the entrance of this week’s venue. The duo were about to make their exit after sharing a day that started together on the chase card and ended – still together – at the top of the Las Vegas Challenge leaderboard.

Catrina Allen's 994-rated hot round catapulted her into first place at the Las Vegas Challenge's halfway mark. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

HENDERSON, Nev. – Frigid conditions here this week have found Catrina Allen sporting a Queen of the North-style look, a red down vest with a fur-lined hood that has combined fashion and function. It’s so fashionable, in fact, that as she stood on hole 13’s tee yesterday at Wildhorse Golf Club’s Innova Course, she started to reminisce – and quiz her cardmates – about watching America’s Next Top Model.

Paul McBeth hits the practice basket at the Las Vegas Challenge. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

Steve Hill covers the action from day 2 in the desert, as Calvin Heimburg and Catrina Allen take the lead at the Las Vegas Challenge. Plus news on Nate Sexton's shoulder, and who had the shot of the day?

Anthony Barela, shown here at the 2018 Utah Open, scorched Wildhorse Golf Club on Thursday morning to take an early lead at the Las Vegas Challenge. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

HENDERSON, Nev. – At just 19 years old, Anthony Barela packs immense potential into a tall, lanky frame. And he delivered on that potential here at Wildhorse Golf Course Thursday morning, launching the 2019 PDGA National Tour season with a 15-under par 44 to take an early lead at the Las Vegas Challenge.

The 1078-rated effort was the best statistical round of Barela’s young career.

Sarah Hokom jumped out to an early lead at the Las Vegas Challenge. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

HENDERSON, Nev. – Snow blanketed Wildhorse Golf Club’s fairways Thursday morning, and while the dusting made for idyllic scenery, it wasn’t ideal for disc golf. Open Women’s competitors at the Las Vegas Challenge made last-minute shoe swaps, huddled under hoodies, and geared up for battle with the elements.

Sarah Hokom, though, wasn’t going to let a little snow spoil her first round playing for a new team.

Las Vegas Challenge Tournament Director Jeff Jacquart (left) has been at the helm for two decades.

HENDERSON, Nev. – Flashback to January 2000. It was just beyond the turn of the millennium, the Y2K scare not yet a distant memory. Next Friday topped the box office for a second straight week by netting a shade over $8 million, while Christina Aguilera’s “What A Girl Wants” spun on repeat on the nation’s airwaves. The St. Louis Rams, under the guidance of a former grocery bagger-turned-NFL MVP, were just about to win their only Super Bowl in franchise history.

Calvin Heimburg finished 2018 with a flourish and has a full slate of tournaments lined up for this season. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

On the lunar calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Pig. A cursory internet search for personality traits associated with people born during the time of the swine brings up words like “diligent,” “brave,” and “willpower,” all qualities that can be useful during tasks that are mentally and physically demanding.

Tasks like, say, touring the country as a professional disc golfer.

Jennifer Allen brings a career-best 946 player rating into the PDGA National Tour opener. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

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Registration for the 2019 Santa Cruz Masters Cup presented by Innova, a PDGA National Tour event taking place May 17-19 in Santa Cruz, California, is now open! Priority registration this week goes to Open players with ratings 1000 or higher, as well as Open Women's competitors with ratings greater than 900.

In addition, the MP40, MP50, and MP60 divisions are now open for the Masters Cup's concurrent A-Tier.

The 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour's Portland Open will now take place May 25-27, and the PDGA National Tour's Beaver State Fling has moved to June 7-9.