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An argument could be made that our Men’s Breakout Player of the Year actual experienced his breakout season in 2015.
With high profile lead card showings at last year’s Glass Blown Open and United States Disc Golf Championship, and a 10th place finish at Worlds, he made a mark on the scene as a teenager.
But as 2016 rolled around and he officially crested adulthood, Eagle McMahon ascended higher, thus earning our Men’s Breakout Player of the Year award.
Where 2015 saw flashes of brilliance, 2016 found McMahon playing more big events and performing more consistently. His low finish at any PDGA National Tour event was ninth place at the Beaver State Fling, while he pulled fourth place showings at two other NTs. His third, fourth, and sixth place finishes at Majors were the true mark of his potential, though, and reason to believe he’ll be pushing for a signature win in 2017.
And we haven’t even addressed his raw talent, which finds him with one of the most electric arms in the game and a full complement of shots that can carve any course to shreds.
For McMahon, the move toward stronger play in 2016 came from, he said, simply elevating his aspirations.
“Last year was my first year on the scene, and I feel like I was just making my way up the ladder at that point,” McMahon said. “I was [just] playing each event, so I didn’t really have any expectations. This year I set some higher expectations for myself and I started to achieve those things.”
Eagle McMahon Hole 18 USDGC Drive GIF
He also turned heads. Besides being the talk of this year’s USDGC after a massive drive to close out round two, he drew high praise from one of disc golf’s most respected veteran players.
“I was kind of thinking, I’ve been playing this game for a long time,” Nate Sexton said. “And I saw [Will] Schusterick he was 18, [Paul] McBeth when he was 18, Ricky [Wysocki] when he was 18. And I kind of think Eagle might be the best 18-year-old I’ve ever seen…The surprising thing is how well he’s been able to maintain his composure.”
Sexton pointed to those high Major finishes this year as proof of McMahon’s level head.
“For a kid that young, that’s incredible I think,” Sexton said. “You can have all the talent in the world, but obviously just by the fact of him being 18, by default he doesn’t have much experience. Just to be able to do that is a surprise, and I’m happy for him because he’s a good kid and a guy that I like to root for.”
When told of Sexton’s comments, McMahon was every bit of those 18 years for a moment – in a good way – almost sounding star struck at the praise being thrown his way.
“I think that’s pretty awesome, honestly,” McMahon said with a laugh. “…Coming out of Nate Sexton – I have so much respect for him, and him saying that about me only makes me want to try even harder and go further with this game.”
McMahon will do that during what he deems “not really an offseason.” He’ll play numerous events through the winter, he said, only taking a brief period of time off in December before jumping back into full-time play in January. It’s all in an effort to build on his strong finish to 2016.
“I felt like the offseason actually hurt me a little bit last year,” McMahon said. “I did some – I worked out a little bit, I’ll do some exercise. But when I got to my first event [this year] I felt like jitters, and it was only a B-Tier. I think playing through the year, I’m hoping it’ll be easier to keep my momentum from right now and try to take it to next year as opposed to just stopping.”
We don’t expect him to just stop, either.
Originally published at: https://discgolf.ultiworld.com/2016/11/04/mens-breakout-player-year-eagle-mcmahon/