BURLINGTON, KY-- The Disc Golf Pro Tour makes its return to the Ohio River Valley this weekend for the Idlewild Open driven by Innova Discs and Nati Disc Golf. Idlewild itself is a bruiser, even for the most talented players in the world.
Last year, James Conrad played an incredible final round to take the win, holding off a late-charging Paul McBeth. This year, the competition has gotten even more intense, and all the men will be capitalizing on their skill-sets this weekend.
The par-66 track is not as long as it is technical, and demands the most creative shots of its challengers. The first hole is not an accurate indicator of the feel of Idlewild, as it’s a wide fairway that flows downhill and is one of the easiest holes to par. The majority of the property is heavily wooded and features a lot of elevation change. Despite James Conrad’s lights-out final round in 2017, he only managed to finish -13 to win. Only Conrad, Paul McBeth, and Chris Dickerson finished -10 or better on the event, which is a testament to the level of difficulty this course presents. In direct contrast to the wide-open Toboggan DGC at the Great Lakes Open, Idlewild promises to challenge every competitor and force some to develop new shots or angles to be successful around this course.
James Conrad was the man to beat in 2017, taking the victory by a single stroke from Paul McBeth. Conrad is currently fourth in the Pro Tour standings, about 100 points shy of Ricky Wysocki in second place. However, the gap to Eagle McMahon in third is much smaller-- a mere 28 points separate the two. With McMahon in Finland this weekend, a significant shift could be on the docket for this year’s Idlewild Open and tour points standings. Conrad’s colossal power and incredible accuracy with his signature JK Aviar putter make his style of play stand out from others. While those with strong forehands might attack this course conventionally, Conrad will do anything but the conventional, shaping big shots with his backhand-dominant approach.
BIG HAIR, BIG AIR: If there’s anyone who knows his game, it’s James Conrad. Tune in live this weekend at 2pm EST for live MPO coverage.
Paul McBeth came up short at last year’s event by a single stroke. His overall accuracy and power gave him the edge he needed, but a few errors in the final round cost him the win. Coming off a record-setting -18 at the Great Lakes Open and a huge win, McBeth is in rarified air. His second round performance was impressive enough to warrant a leadoff segment on SportsCenter, his highlight drives and putts set to the sound of John Buccigross’ exuberant voiceover complete with Shakespeare references. For Paul McBeth to shoot a -18 at Idlewild would be nothing short of miraculous, but that doesn’t mean he won’t outshine and outlast his competition. The world champ will want to capitalize on this event and further extend his points margin over Ricky Wysocki, who is in Sweden at the Ale Open this weekend.
MCBEAST MODE ACTIVATED: Paul McBeth can put another nail in the coffin of this year’s championship with a win this weekend. The champion’s form as of late is impeccable, but the Idlewild track may have something to say about it.
The men of Idlewild will be pushed, challenged, and stretched to their limits this weekend. With foul weather afoot and an unforgiving, treacherous layout in front of them, only the best and brightest will emerge intact. Join the Pro Tour live at 2pm EST on Friday for round one coverage. The feature card of James Conrad, event winner, Paul McBeth, tour points leader, Gary Costa, event pick, and Zach Melton, fan vote winner, will tee off at 3:15. As always, stay with the Disc Golf Pro Tour all week long for updates, tournament news, and live coverage of the 2018 Idlewild Open presented by Innova Champion Discs and Nati Disc Golf.
Article written by DGPT Staff Writer Evan Clay
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