By Chrös McDougall | July 12, 2018, 8:32 p.m. (ET)
Kim Rhode competes in the women's skeet final at the ISSF World Cup Rigle/Pistol/Shotgun on April 28, 2018 in Changwon, South Korea.

 

Kim Rhode won her 21st ISSF World Cup gold medal on Thursday, holding off teammate Caitlin Connor in her attempt to win her first.

The two Americans were tied with 55 hits through 60 attempts in Tucson, Arizona, forcing a shoot off. It was there that Rhode, a six-time U.S. Olympian and six-time Olympic medalist, finally shook her younger teammate.

Rhode, 38, now has 21 gold medals and 36 total medals in world cup competition, while Connor, 27, has six, all of them silver.

Women’s skeet was the first final at the Tucson Trap & Skeet Club, where more than 200 shotgun athletes are taking part in the last of four shotgun world cups of the season and one of the final competitions ahead of the world championships, which begin Aug. 31 in Changwon, South Korea.

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The two Americans came into the final hot. Rhode hit 73 of 75 targets on Wednesday and 122 of 125 total to qualify first and tie the qualification world record she set earlier this year in Guadalajara, Mexico. Connor hit 121 targets to qualify second.

In the final, the two Americans separated themselves again, although not right away.

Rhode missed her first target and three of her first 16, while Connor started 45 of 46. However, Rhode, of El Monte, California, showed her mettle in catching Connor, of Winnfield, Louisiana. The two went toe-for-toe over the final six targets to move into a shoot off, which Rhode won by going 4 for 4, while Connor missed one.

The competition continues through July 19 with competition in skeet, trap and trap mixed team. It marks the first ISSF World Cup Shotgun in the U.S. since 2014.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.