L-R: Tim Vecchione, Ben Gould, Damien Mudge, Pat Canavan,
L-R: Tim Vecchione, Ben Gould, Damien Mudge, Pat Canavan, Manek Mathur, Chris Callis.

Big Apple Open Draw SDA Live

SDA veteran Ben Gould won an unprecedented tenth Big Apple Open title—and fifth with partner Damien Mudge—over a span of eleven years, defeating first-time partners Manek Mathur & Chris Callis in the final Monday night at New York Athletic Club.

After John Russell & Clive Leach broke Mudge & Gould’s four-year title streak in 2014, the venerable Australian world No. 1’s returned this year to reclaim one of the most iconic trophies on the SDA tour, defeating a 2015 SDA Award-winner in each stage of the tournament.

Canadian national champions and SDA rookies of the year, Robin Clark & Scott Arnold, met the top seeds first in the quarterfinals, after advancing against Philadelphian qualifiers Alex Stait & Ed Garno. Clark & Arnold challenged the champions early on, winning the first game on simultaneous game ball 15-14. Mudge & Gould responded to win the match emphatically in four 15-11, 15-11, 15-3.

Sportsmanship Award winner Jonny Smith & Greg Park were next in the semifinals. Smith & Park took out the tournament’s four seeds and one defending champion, Leach & Raj Nanda, in a four-game quarterfinal. Mudge & Gould found themselves one game down again against Smith & Park, but once again dug themselves out of an early hole to reach the final 7-15, 15-7, 15-13, 15-8.

A familiar final foe in the form of Mathur awaited Mudge & Gould, but this time with first-time partner Callis, the 2015 most improved player of the year. Mathur & Callis topped a bottom half of the draw that saw three seeds Bernardo Samper & Yvain Badan exit the tournament in their first match against Viktor Berg & Hamed Anvari, whom Mathur & Callis defeated in a four-game semifinal.

The two seeds acquitted themselves well in the final. Although the top seeds had a clear edge to win the first 15-9, Mathur & Callis stayed within reach of the world No. 1’s throughout the second and third games, pushing them to decisive simultaneous game balls in each game. Mathur & Callis held game ball in the third, but Mudge & Gould rattled off two points to claim the title.

The final is available for replay on the SDA Live YouTube page.

The SDA tour resumes this weekend with the $40,000 PDC Cup in Atlanta, Georgia.

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