Statum wins 2020 USPMGA Masters
18 Oct 2020 at 13:48 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 2016 | News search
Statum receiving the green jacket (Photo by )
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – In an event that was fittingly crazy for the year 2020, Rainey Statum, the 2018 U.S. Open winner, added another United States Professional Minigolf Association (USPMGA) major to his victory list on Saturday, October 11. This year’s tournament was the 24th edition of the largest miniature golf tournament in the US, though COVID-19 damped the participation slightly with only 60 players putting. The format was unchanged from the previous year with twelve total rounds over three courses: Aloha, Hawaiian Village (Pineapple) and the home of the Master’s, Hawaiian Rumble. The tournament kicked off Thursday and into Friday morning with three rounds on each of the courses in a round robin style for the competitors. This was followed by one round at the Aloha course then the closing two rounds back at Hawaiian Rumble on Saturday.
With the round robin format, it’s hard to tell who the leader is after the first day but there’s some scores that can stick out. Danny McCaslin’s morning score of 77 for three rounds at Aloha was certainly one of those. However, the competition was tight at the end of the first day with Rick Baird and Greg Newport sitting at 187 to McCaslin’s 188. They were the presumptive leaders going into Hawaiian Rumble for their last rotation as the other top scores would be faced with the more difficult Hawaiian Village.
The picture cleared up significantly after the 9th round, especially with McCaslin, a four-time Master’s champion, putting up an impressive 25 in round 9 on the Rumble course. He would follow this up with a 31 on Aloha for round 10 and despite a 26 by Jay Klapper, McCaslin would go into the final day with a six stroke lead 306 to 312. Directly behind Klapper was Baird with a 313.
The drama would unfold over the last couple of rounds. Rainey Statum would make the first charge carding a 30 in round 11 to McCaslin’s 35. Statum was nine back to start the round and was suddenly in striking distance of the top spot. Klapper and Baird didn’t make significant movement but Olivia Prokopova, former Master’s champion, also pushed her way up the leaderboard with a 32. Prokopova, who is five months pregnant, would card a solid 28 in the final round but would ultimately miss out on the top spot and finish in second. McCaslin’s fall continued in the final round as he putted his way to an even 36 for the final 18 holes. This wasn’t strong enough to hold off Prokopova or the multiple aces Statum would card over the final 6 holes on his way to a final round 29. That score was good enough to move into first place, two strokes over Prokopova. McCaslin would finish in a three-way tie for 3rd with Klapper and 2019 runner-up Gary Hester. This was the first USPMGA Master’s win for Statum.
The Master’s also kicked off a couple of other events for the USPMGA. The first was the induction of John Forbes into the USPMGA Hall of Fame . John was instrumental in getting Bluegrass Mini Golf in Oceanport, NJ open and in bringing the USPMGA there for the U.S. Open in 2014, 2017 and planned for 2020 prior to COVID-19 cancelling the event. In addition, the tentative Team USA for the 2021 WAGM Was announced as follows: Rainey Statum, Gary Hester, Brian Johnson, Rick Baird, Geoff Mosk, John Ventura, Nate Nichols, Frank Bisesi, Tim Tally, Lee Messinger, Mark Hubbard and Vanette Block.
The USPMGA will pick up its major tournament schedule again in the Spring when the U.S. Open returns to Putt U in Center Valley, PA for the second time.