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Gary Hester Wins Inaugural World Putting League Event


United States of America 01 Mar 2023 at 13:20 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 2838 | News search

Gary Hester Wins Inaugural World Putting League Event
Gary Hester playing Hawaiian Rumble in 2018 Masters  (Photo by The Putting Penguin)

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA – After some speculation on what was in store for this event, the World Putting League (WPL) put together an excellent show of United States minigolf talent on February 27 & 28. The WPL is the first US event to be fully live-streams and fully approved for sports wagering some US jurisdictions. It is sanctioned by the US Pro MiniGolf Association (USGPMA) and produced by the Pro League Network.

Twenty-six putters were chosen from a pool of applicants to play in two qualifying rounds at the Hawaiian Rumble course in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which is a familiar course to US putters at it is one of the host courses of the US Masters’ event in October. Among the putters selected were familiar Masters’ winners like Olivia Prokopova, Greg Newport, Randy Reeves, Joey Graybeal, Jay Klapper and Randy Orr. Sprinkled among the other putters were players familiar with the international circuit from Team USA like Gary Hester, Tim Tally and Jeremy Inabinet.

Joey Graybeal set the standard for the tournament out of the gate, opening up with a round of 28 (8 under) which vaulted him to the lead and after a round of 32 secured him easily the #1 seed for the knockout rounds. Behind him Gary Hester and Greg Newport combined for 2 rounds at 9 under and were tailed closely by Randy Reeves at 8 under and Matt McCaslin at 7 under. Odds on favorite Olivia Prokopova grabbed the 6th seed after a slow first round and Rick Alessi and Jeremy Inabinet rounded out the top 8.

The finishes set up an exciting slate of quarterfinal matchups held the next night. These were 18-hole stroke play, head-to-head matchups. At the end of the quarterfinals, players were re-seeded based on their scores from the previous round. The big matches to watch were the pairing of Reeves and McCaslin as well as Prokopova and Newport. Those matches didn’t disappoint as Newport would squeak by Prokopova by one stroke and McCaslin, as the 5 seed, would be the only “upset” in the first round as he took down Reeves. Graybeal and Hester handled their matches well to set up an exciting quarterfinal.

With the reseeding based on scores, Graybeal would head up against Hester and Newport would continue the run of tough match-ups facing McCaslin meaning he’d taking on the first and second places of last year’s Masters’ tournament. Unfortunately Newport wouldn’t find many aces in the opening holes of the round and McCaslin got off to a very hot start including a great ace at 10 which saw him at 5 under through that hole. He would cruise through the rest of the round and take the first spot in the final. Graybeal suffered some of the similar run of dry holes to begin with and even though he picked up an unlikely ace on the 11th, it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback on Hester who would win by one stroke to round out the final.

With the final of McCaslin and Hester, we saw two top players who have not won a Masters’ on the Rumble course despite being close. McCaslin did seal his first US Open in 2004 on that course. McCaslin, who had been getting off to hot starts, missed the ace on 1 where Hester picked it up and started what would be a great front nine, ending with back-to-back aces on 8 and 9. Hester would open up as a large as a four stroke lead before McCaslin would grab a unlikely ace on 14 to add some drama to the proceedings. The door was closed almost the whole way though when Hester aced 15 and even with an ace on 16 by McCaslin there wasn’t much he could do with two holes to play.

“It’s unbelievable….a lot of people were happy for me, it’s a great feeling,” Hester had to say later on about finally getting over the “hump” in a major tournament like this one. For his efforts, Hester walked away with a top prize of $5,000.

There’s no information available yet about future WPL events but the eyes of the US players will be on whether something like this can be repeatable.

» Hammer HQ Coverage Day 1
» Hammer HQ Coverage Day 2
» Puttcast Recap with Gary Hester & Tim Tally

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Happy Holidays and Welcome 2023!

WMF 22 Dec 2022 at 13:41 | views: 4095 | Comments: 0

Like many sports organizations around the world, for the World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) 2022 was a year of returning. In 2021 we saw many national championships back on the calendar but the international schedule was still bleak. In 2022, nearly a full ...
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Happy Holidays and Welcome 2023!

INTERACT Project Closing Online Conference

INTERACT Project Closing Online Conference

WMF 28 Nov 2022 at 12:15 | views: 5935 | Comments: 0

The INTERACT (International and European Sport Organisations Activating Citizens) project partners are pleased to invite you all to join our free closing online conference on 2 December 2022, 12:00-14:00 (UTC+1/CET). See the link below to register. The final ...
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2023 Youth European Championships Announced For Italy

Italy 10 Nov 2022 at 13:37 | views: 5147 | Comments: 0

Vergiate, Italy - The World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) together with the Federazione Italiana Minigolf (FIMg) and Golf su Pista Vergiate (GSP Vergiate) are proud to announce that the 2023 Youth European Championships (YEC) will be held in Vergiate, Italy. ...
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2023 Youth European Championships Announced For Italy

Olivia Remains Queen of the US Masters

Olivia Remains Queen of the US Masters

United States of America 13 Oct 2022 at 13:53 | views: 6306 | Comments: 0

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - It had been almost 10 years since someone won back-to-back USPMGA Master’s tournaments, with that someone being Olivia Prokopova in 2012 and 2013. Not to be outdone by herself, Olivia, now Sahmel and a mom, became the next ...
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