Philomath native Nate Sexton has reached the top in disc golf.
Sexton won the U.S. Disc Golf Championship, staged Oct. 4-7 on Winthrop University's Gold Course in Rock Hill, South Carolina, to wrap up one of his best-ever seasons on the tour.
“I wanted to believe I was capable of winning a tournament like this, and I guess I am,” Sexton said in a story published on the championship's website.
Despite all of his success, Sexton hasn't had much luck in the biggest events. Two years ago in the same tournament, Sexton had the lead going into the final round, but ended up fourth. He said this year's event had less wind than that 2015 affair, plus he just has more experience.
Sexton said the 13th hole was important down the stretch. On the hole, his first attempt sailed too far to the left side of the fairway but he followed up with a risky shot that got his disc into position for a birdie.
In the USDGC story, Sexton said it was "probably the riskiest shot I took the whole round.”
Sexton finished out the day, including getting past the course's unpredictable 17th hole, and finished in first five strokes ahead of runner-up Richard Wysocki. Paul McBeth was third, seven shots back. Sexton was a model of consistency with rounds of 59, 58, 57 and 58 for a total of 232.
Sexton and McBeth made an appearance in the region during the summer of 2016 with a disc golf clinic at Adair Park as part of the McBeast Challenge.
“You have to be resilient … golf is a very mental game,” Sexton said at the time. “Confidence is a huge part of it — it’s just you and the course.”
Sexton attended Philomath schools, graduating in 2003, and originally got into Ultimate Frisbee. He began playing disc golf in 1999 with his father, Jay Sexton. He soon started making strides at the amateur level and eventually moved up to the professional ranks.
“It’s a combination of practice and talent in both the mental and physical for handling the stress of golf,” Sexton said last summer when asked about competing at a high level. “I think it’s a combination of work and talent and just sort of a desire to keep pushing.”