Before I left for the World Championships I posted something on social media that I think you should know about now because after witnessing the events that unfolded this past weekend it holds more meaning now than it did before:
“What does it mean to be a World Champion?
Consistency, talent and grit. Those are just a few things that come to mind but endurance is also key. What is it about endurance? While the first three factors are built throughout practice leading up to Worlds I think it really is about endurance.
The World Championships is the longest event out of all of the PDGA tournaments. You are out there in the heat, it is the middle of summer, there are sometimes long waits to play the next hole and you are playing against people from around the world. No pressure there, but you really need to secure this next shot and the one after that because really you need to pull all of these elements together for five straight days.
This is why I love the World Championships. It is the ultimate marathon of disc golf tournaments. It peels back the layers and gets you out of your comfort zone to a place where all you have left is the will power to endure physically and mentally.”
Paige Pierce didn’t have the best first round, but I don’t think that stopped her from enjoying the moment because she posted on her Instagram page that it was World Elephant Day after the round. She shook it off and secured her shots until the last putt was made.
I witnessed something inside of Paige that final day that I had never seen before. I could tell that she was nervous, they all were, Catrina Allen, Eveliina Salonen and Paige were all tied for first place going into the final round. But all of those elements, all of that practice, talent, consistency, grit, endurance and sportsmanship came out with fire under her wings.
This final round was at the Sunset Hills Golf Course in Pekin, IL. If you ever get the chance to watch women play disc golf at this level it is unbelievable. The crowd is not as big as the MPO field. It is more intimate, you can hear their hearts beating and the crowd roar. I just consider myself lucky that they let me photograph it.
To photograph this round I used my Canon EOS R and Canon 28-300mm white lens. I kept it simple with a small backpack, snacks and water. I woke up at 5:00am, an hour before my alarm, and was on the green of 18 at 7:00am to get that first shot of the basket with the sprinklers going off in the background.
Story by Lauren E. Lakeberg (@thediscgolfphotographer)