Last year in a stellar performance at the MVP Open at Maple Hill, Hokom made a last-minute push to take first in Tour Points before traveling south to Florida and winning it all at the Tour Championship. This year, in a similar fashion, Hokom hit her stride late in the season, carding her first Pro Tour victory of the year at the Green Mountain Championship. While this was not enough to push her into winning the Tour Standings, it could be a good indication of what we can expect from Hokom in Charlotte next week.
Hokom has been a supporter of the Tour since Day one. In 2016 she won the Tour Standings by a margin of 35 points and finished second at the Tour Championship. In 2017, she finished second in Tour Standings and 4th at the Tour Championship. Then last year, she was able to unite the crowns finishing first in both Tour Standings and at the Tour Championship. Hokom is not a stranger to the Tour Championship and is in a unique position to be able to possibly be the first player to be a repeat Tour Champion.*
What do the stats say?
If you have been following Hokom's performances this season, one will quickly note that it has taken her quite some time to get comfortable with her new discs. This season, while Hokom finished 3rd in Tour Standings, the only statistics which she was third or better in was scramble percentage and OB rate. What is more interesting is when you narrow down her stats to look at GMC and MVP her two most recent Pro Tour events, those same stats are practically the only ones where she was first (at MVP she was also first in fairway hits).
Sarah finished second at MVP and first at GMC thanks to her precision and scrambling in the woods. For Sarah, GMC was won on Brewster Ridge but was not lost at Fox Run Meadows, thanks to her ability to keep her drives in bounds. All of this to say, her game is set up well for a strong performance at Hornet's Nest. If she avoids the OB on the Hornet's course and stays on top of the scramble percentage, she has an excellent shot at being the back-to-back Tour Champion.
So what about this course?
Sarah was the only player in the FPO division of the Tour Championship other than Catrina Allen to play at Hornet's Nest during 2012 Worlds. What happened? Hokom received her World Title there. Now, Worlds was not won by Hokom at Hornets, but the good karma associated with a World Title cannot go understated.
Looking at Hokom's stats on the wooded courses shows that she is set up for success at Hornet's Nest. Her precision sidearm allows her to get out of trouble with ease. It also gives her the ability to carve up a wooded course with unparalleled accuracy.
It should be an absolute delight to watch Sarah Hokom take a shot at defending her 2018 Tour Championship title. The course is looking phenomenal thanks to the design efforts of John Houck and the diligent work of Mark Huether and the Charlotte Disc Golf Club. If you have not already, make plans to watch the Tour Championship October 18-20th. It will be one tournament you will not want to miss!
*Chris Dickerson is also in the same position this year, though because the FPO play in the morning should Hokom win, she technically would be the first due to timeframe. Also, Dickerson has to play through the qualified round yet again while Sarah has a bye to semifinals.
James Conrad is no stranger to making final round lead cards. When he plays in October at Tour Championship, all he will need is to advance through the semifinals round to find himself there again. While James finished sixth in Tour Standings this season, his most notable finish comes this past week with his first Major victory at the United States Disc Golf Championship. When James makes his way 45 minutes north of Rock Hill to Hornets Nest, he will have the opportunity to be the first player to win both the USDGC and the Tour Championship in the same year.
After winning the USDGC, James noted that he began touring full time in June of 2016. In 2016 James played every Pro Tour event and finished 6th in Pro Tour standings. He would fail to make it out of semifinals, though. In 2017 James finished 5th in Pro Tour standings thanks to his first Pro Tour victory at Idlewild. He would advance past the semifinals and would end up taking 4th place at the Tour Championship. In 2018 James would finish 3rd in Tour Points, only finishing outside of the top ten at three events. He would yet again not be able to advance past the semifinals round. This year he will look to change that and proceed to the finals round in Charlotte.
What can the stats tell us?
James's best stat on the Pro Tour is birdie percentage, where he finished 12th on the season. Outside of this stat, you have to go pretty far down the stat sheet to find a bright spot. Much like our other successful players, his second and third best stats are C1 and C2 in regulation. He finished 17th and 20th, respectively.
To get a better look at where James can be successful, we need to look at his tournaments played this season. James finished T6th at Waco and outright 6th place at MVP. Two of the more wooded courses with a top ten performance will bode well for James. His best finish, 2nd at Idlewild, only helps bolster his possibilities for a Tour Championship final round appearance. Many already know of James's ability in the woods, but let's take a more in-depth look now at how he will stack up in the woods.
Can a wooded course spell success for Conrad?
Hornet's Nest is considered by many to be a fair but challenging wooded course. The last time James played a rated round in Charlotte was Pro Worlds in 2012, his only Pro event of the year, and he finished 42nd. While James is from just north in Virginia, he very rarely made the trip down to North Carolina to compete. That being said, the courses in Virginia are similar to that of Hornet's Nest, so we can expect James to feel right at home in Charlotte. Look for plenty of putter drives from Conrad as he seeks to carve up the Hornet's Nest course and hopefully advance from the semifinals to the finals round at the 2019 Tour Championship.
As we look forward to October 18-20th for the Tour Championship, we cannot thank John Houck and Mark Huether of the Charlotte Disc Golf Club enough for helping put together a Championship level course at Hornet's Nest. We are excited to see the best in the game compete for top honors in less than two weeks. Make plans to watch live or in person as we look to crown the Champions for year four of the Disc Golf Pro Tour.
The Disc Golf Pro Tour is excited to announce its 2020 schedule. 2020 marks the fifth season of the Disc Golf Pro Tour. The Pro Tour will retain all eleven stops from the 2019 season.
The 2020 Tour is split into four distinct regions, The South, The West Coast, The Midwest, and The East Coast. Each area will feature Elite Series events from both the Disc Golf Pro Tour and The PDGA National Tour.
The Disc Golf Pro Tour will officially kick off the PDGA's Elite Series events with the Memorial Championship February 27th - March 1st. It will be one of only three tournaments in 2020 to span four days of competition (the other being the Ledgestone and GMC). The Tour will then take a break for two weeks before returning March 13-15th for the Waco Annual Charity Open. Following the Waco Annual Charity Open will be the first National Tour Event, the Texas States, which will be in Tyler, Texas. The next week will be Collegiate Nationals (a PDGA Major), which moves to Rock Hill, SC, for 2020. The Disc Golf Pro Tour will pick back up in Jonesboro, AR for the Jonesboro Open, April 17-19th. The South quadrant of events will wrap up with the Glass Blown Open a PDGA National Tour event, April 29-May 2nd.
The West Coast
Two weeks after GBO, the National Tour will have its third stop at the Masters Cup in Santa Cruz, CA, May 15-17th. The next weekend will be the USWDGC a PDGA Major in Placer Valley, CA. The fourth stop on the Pro Tour will be the San Francisco Open, which will take place May 29-31st. The Disc Golf Pro Tour will take another month break for a slate of PDGA Majors and an NT, which include Tim Selinske, USADGC, and Pro Worlds, the last of which will be in Ogden, UT June 13-20th. The National Tour will pick back up with the Beaver State Fling June 26-28th in Estacada, OR. The Disc Golf Pro Tour's fifth stop will be the Portland Open July 3-5th. The Portland Open will complete the West Coast swing and give players time to head overseas for the European Open before returning to the Midwest for the next section of the Tour.
The Great Lakes Open will kick off the midwest section of the Tour as the sixth stop of the 2020 Disc Golf Pro Tour. It will take place on July 24-26th. Two weeks later will be the Idlewild Open in Burlington, KY August 7-9th. The next week, August 13-16th will be the eighth stop on the Pro Tour the Ledgestone Insurance Open. The Disc Golf Pro Tour will then take a two-week break as it transitions over to the East Coast for the final leg of the season.
The East Coast
The East Coast leg of the Tour will pick up with the MVP Open, August 28th-30th. The next weekend will feature the final stop of the regular season for the Disc Golf Pro Tour, the Green Mountain Championship September 3-6th. With the Disc Golf Pro Tour season wrapped up, the Tour will move to the Delaware Disc Golf Challenge the next week, September 11-13th. The National Tour will then conclude at the Music City Open September 25-27th. The season will wrap up with the USDGC October 7-10th and the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship October 16-18th.
The DGPT is excited to announce a change in our test event program in the near future. We are currently working with 2019 test event TDs to establish the final details of a new series that will bring more prominence to events affiliated with the Pro Tour at the previous level of test event. If your event is interested in being considered please fill out the linked form. For the PDGA’s release and A-Tier selection please review the linked post.
We are excited about the 2020 season. We hope you are too! Let us know in the comments which event you plan to spectate at, and we will look forward to seeing you out there!
Last year going into the Tour Championship, Garrett Gurthie was a player to watch. Garrett joined the tour in 2018 after observing the top pros play the course he managed, New World Sports Complex, for the Tour Championship in 2017. He realized he could still compete with the top Pros and wanted to be in contention to win the Tour Championship on his home course in 2018.
Last year Garrett finished 6th in Tour Standings, which gave him a bye to semifinals. Not too bad for his first season back on tour. He would, however, be unable to advance to the finals on his home course, carding only a three-under-par round. On his card was Nikko Locastro, who carded a -9 on the day, and -10 was the wild card score. While Double G was able to make the Tour Championship in the same year, he started back touring he was unable to use his home-course advantage into a Pro Tour finals appearance. Before we look into how the Tour location change will affect Garrett, let's dive into his stats from this year.
Does having a big arm help that much?
When you dive into Garrett's stats for this year, you might be surprised to hear that the only stat that Garrett holds in the top ten is a 6th in parked percentage. His next closest stats are 11th in C2 in regulation and 13th in C1 in regulation.
On the stats sheet alone, Garrett's performance this year is not the 6th place in Tour Standings finish that he secured. Garrett's 6th place finish came from his second-place finish at Jonesboro and MVP, and then a third and fourth-place finish at Idlewild and Ledgestone. It's Garrett's penchant for sustainable finishes that helped move him up to his bye worthy finish on tour. Looking at his stats shows that it's more important to consider the course Double G is playing than one or two specific stat, to determine his potential for success at the Tour Championship.
No Home-Field Advantage? No Problem.
Garrett was looking to take advantage of his familiarity with the New World Course last season. He also had a band of adoring fans following along during the semifinals round. However, while on paper, the course played well in his game, none of these factors helped him advance to the finals in 2018.
Looking forward to this year, coupling together all of Garrett's successes on tour, it seems like his lack of home-field advantage should not be a problem in Charlotte. The last time Garrett played Hornet's Nest for a rated round was in 2013 for the Carolina Clash. He carded a -3 55 on a par 58 layout. Garrett ended up taking 6th in the event. The previous year he finished 15th at Charlotte Worlds missing the finals and not playing Hornets.
This year, Garrett will be taking on a modified Hornets Nest layout adjusted by John Houck and made playable by Mark Huether and the Charlotte Disc Golf Club. If we look at Garrett's success on tour, we can look no further than his first-place finish at the Santa Cruz Master's Cup National Tour event to show that he has what it will take to succeed on a course like Hornets. His skill at courses like Hornets is reinforced through his MVP and Idlewild successes this season. While it will not be near as fun to follow Garrett on the course this year at the Finals given his multitude of fans he had last season, we still look forward to him putting on a show and having a legitimate shot at advancing to the finals.
Make sure you are ready to watch live or in-person October 18-20th to see who will bring home the Tour Championship victory this year from Hornet's Nest Disc Golf Course in Charlotte, NC.
Catrina Allen has finished the top four in Tour Points all four seasons of the Pro Tour so far. This year tied her best Tour Points finish with year one; second in Tour Standings. In year one, she was able to turn a second-place tour finish into a Tour Championship victory. In 2017 and 18, she would finish second fiddle to Paige Pierce and then Sarah Hokom. It remains to be seen if she can materialize a top finish at the Tour Championship this year.
This season Catrina would finish 4th at Memorial. There was a stacked field, which included Evalina Salonen taking home the victory. Catrina would then kick things into gear, finishing first or second at every event until MVP. While she finished round one at MVP only three off Paige Pierce's lead, she would struggle to maintain that pace and ultimately ended 13 back of first. Things would get worse at GMC, where she ended up finishing in 6th place. It is safe to say that the last few events have not been up to par for Catrina's standard game. Let's take a look and see what Catrina can improve on or hopefully continue to do to make a push for the finals round at the Tour Championship.
Stat to Watch: Putting
The stat to watch for Catrina will be her putting percentage. Catrina leads the field in parked shots and is second in both birdies and C2 in regulation. Saying that, for the most part, her driving is not the issue. Where things become problematic is her putting percentage. Catrina is currently 28th in C1x putting. As noted in our Paige Pierce preview article, there will not even be 28 players in the FPO field for the Tour Championship. For Catrina or Paige to take home another Tour Championship title, they are going to need to start bagging more putts inside the circle.
One place where Catrina has a chance to shine on the stats sheet beyond parked and birdies will be her scramble rate. Catrina is currently 3rd in scramble percentage. If she can maintain or improve her scramble success rates on the challenging Hornets Nest course, Catrina should have an easy path into the final round of the Tour Championship.
Wooded Course? No Problem!
One other place where Catrina has found success this season has been on the wooded courses on Tour. Catrina found her first win on the Disc Golf Pro Tour this season at 'The Beast' in Waco, Texas. She would also go into a one hole play-off with Paige Pierce at Idlewild to take second place. More recently, she brought home a victory on the National Tour at Delaware.
In 2012, Catrina did make the final nine and play at Hornets Nest, but she would end up in third place after Valarie Jenkins carded a better final-nine round than she did. At the Tour Championship, Catrina and the rest of the Pros will be playing a John Houck modified version of the Hornets Nest layout. She will have an opportunity to avenge her 2012 finish at the course and hopefully draw from her mid-season success to make the final round of the Tour Championship on October 20th.
As we turn to the DGPT Championship October 18-20th, our next player with a bye to the semifinals is Kevin Jones. Kevin was able to get his first hallmark win on Tour at the Idlewild Open in July. After a break-out performance at the USDGC in 2017, Jones has now secured an Elite Series win and can look towards a potential Tour Championship signature finish.
Jones struck out on the Disc Golf Pro Tour during the second half of the 2017 season. He came up just short of qualifying for the tournament, finishing T58th in a year when the top 50 players made the Tour Championship. In 2018 Kevin decided to tour full time and the lead to a 7th place Tour Standings finish, which was parlayed into a finals finish last year. Kevin's 7th in Tour Standings in 2018 secured his bye to the semifinals, and then he was able to win the wild card spot in the finals with a -10, the hottest round not winning a card. In the finals, Kevin struggled to get anything going but was able to hang on until he took a quad bogey on hole fourteen. Kevin will be looking to avenge his 2018 performance this year at Hornets Nest.
Where can the stats help Jones?
Diving into the Udisc stats for this season, he's not close to leading in any category. His best stat is his birdie percentage for which he finished 8th in the regular season. He will need to improve his 57th in scramble percentage and 54th in C1x putting stats to have a shot at the finals.
On the surface, it does not look promising for Kevin, but let's take a look at his stats specifically from Idlewild, where he found success this season. More importantly, Idlewild is one of the courses most similar to Hornets in play on tour. At Idlewild, Kevin was able to use his 1st in parked and C1 in regulation percentages to secure his first Elite Series victory on tour. He struggled again in the scramble and C1 putting rates finishing 34th and 29th for the tournament, respectively.
Looking at the stats, Kevin's best shot at a Tour Championship victory is to get on the birdie train early and maintain that performance across two rounds. Kevin will benefit from the single round format, where scores do not carry over, assuming he can make it out of the semifinals round.
What does playing Hornet's Nest mean for Jones?
In 2012 while players like Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki were playing a final nine to see who would win the World Championships at Hornets Nest; Kevin was finishing up summer break about to head to high school. Now in 2019, Kevin will be joining the likes of Paul McBeth and a few others who were playing in 2012 to play for the Tour Championship. Kevin was able to flourish at the Idlewild course but struggled at other wooded courses on Tour this season. Before Worlds this year, he indicated he was more comfortable playing at Lake Eureka as opposed to the wooded Northwoods track. He played nine throws better each round at Eureka as opposed to Northwoods through the first four rounds of Worlds. Kevin will need to overcome whatever is challenging him in the woods and take advantage of the open holes at Hornets to have a shot at the final round this year. If he can channel the good vibes from his Idlewild, DGLO, and Ledgestone performances to the Tour Championship, he may have a shot.
We are looking forward to watching all of the action October 18-20th on the John Houck modified Hornets course. We cannot thank Charlotte Disc Golf Club and Mark Huether enough for their work in finalizing the course to make sure it is Championship ready. If you have not already, make plans to watch in person or live this is going to be one event you will not want to miss!
German Phenom Simon Lizotte is the only international player in the DGPT Championship field this year. With Seppo making his return back home post-HOF and Thomas Gilbert coming up just short on qualifying to the Tour Championship, the weight will fall on Simon to represent the international PDGA fans.
This year is Simon's third Tour Championship after missing the first year. In 2017 Simon made the final round from the semifinals after finishing fourth in Tour Standings. He ended up finishing in third place with a -7 round. In 2018, Simon fought his way to the semifinals from the qualifying round after missing several DGPT events. Just like Chris Dickerson, he fought he way through the tournament but carded a -8 in the semifinals, and that was not enough to match Chris Dickerson's -13 to advance to the finals. With a modification to the Tour Championship format this year, where the top four scorers from the semifinals will advance, Simon might have a more direct path to the final round this year. Last year Simon's -8 would have given him the wild card spot if players advanced based on score alone.
What do the stats say?
Simon finished third in Tour points this year. Simon is only 3rd in two stats that is parked percentage and C2 in regulation. This season Simon was either parked or in C2 more than most players. He dropped slightly to 5th in C1 in regulation, further reiterating the concept of drive for dough and putt for show.
The stats do show that Simon may struggle in the woods as he was 73rd in scramble rate this season. This thought is further justified when one sees that his one finish dropped (he missed two events this season during the Europe swing) was a 10th place finish at the wooded Waco course. If Simon can keep it on the fairway (he was 9th in fairway hits) and line up his putts (29th in C1 and 18th in C2), he might have a path to make it into the finals.
A New Track Could Spell a Fresh Start
To our knowledge, this will be the first time Lizotte has played the Hornet's Nest course competitively. While historically he as struggled on the wooded courses RE: Waco & Delaware this year, Charlotte could be a new leaf for Simon. Fans will want to watch how Simon fairs at the Hall of Fame classic here in a few weeks to see if he's prepared to take on the woods of Hornets. Last year Simon finished T29th at HOF, so this year's Tour Championship may be a feat within itself.
The course is going to be prime for Championship competition thanks to John Houck and the Charlotte Disc Golf Club, specifically the organizational assistance of Mark Huether.
We are looking forward to the Tour Championship, which will take place on October 18-20th. Make plans to watch online or in-person as it will be one tournament you will not want to miss.
This season, Paige Pierce had a "slow start." However, by Jonesboro, she was ramping things up and righting the ship. For Pierce, a slow start was a second and a third place finish at the first two Pro Tour stops. She would then go on a dominant run taking second only at San Francisco until the final event of the season, the Green Mountain Championship. Pierce is clearly in the driver's seat at this point in the season and will use her competition at USDGC and The Hall of Fame Classic to ramp up into the Tour Championship.
In 2017 just like Ricky Wysocki, Paige Pierce was able to unite the crowns, winning both the Points Standings and the Tour Championship. Unlike Paul and Ricky, Paige did not make the finals showcase at Hornets in the 2012 Pro Worlds. Meaning, Pierce will be taking a different look at the course compared to Catrina Allen and Sarah Hokom, who were both in the finals in 2012.
Looking back at her previous Tour Championship performances, in 2016 Pierce lost by four throws to Catrina Allen. In 2017 she won by six throws, and in 2018 she dropped in semifinals being two throws off the hot round and one throw out of advancing. Following the FPO division at the Tour Championship, last year's semifinals performance was the closest we have seen since the Tours' inception. The stiff competition will be returning in 2019, albeit on a different track.
Can Pierce Clean up Lingering Stats?
Pierce was able to overcome her slow start to the season relatively easy. Looking at her Pro Tour Stats sheet, she finished first or second in all but three stats. All three statistics where Pierce struggled could spell trouble at the Hornets track. First, she finished 8th in scramble rate. With the wooded Hornets course, an ability to scramble will be crucial. Next, she finished 17th in C1x putting. C1x putting is a vital stat for any competitor, and there will not be 17 players in the field at the Tour Championship. If Pierce struggles inside C1 like she has this season it will create a steep path to the title of Tour Champion. Finally, Pierce finished 21st in OB rate for the regular season. Pierce has commented about her OB woes throughout the season so expect her to try and avoid the OB that will exist at the Tour Championship to put herself at the top of the podium on Sunday, October 20th.
Can Pierce Succeed on a Wooded Track?
While there are some open holes on the Hornets Nest course, traditionally Hornets is viewed as a wooded track. Given Pierce's struggles at Waco and more recently at Brewster's Ridge playing on a wooded course brings some questions as to Pierce's path to victory. However, Pierce is no stranger to playing in the woods. She found success at Idlewild this year, and on the National Tour at the Beaver State Fling. For Pierce to succeed at Hornets, she will need to stay in the fairway and avoid scrambling (or clean up her scramble rate).
We are excited to see the course come together and feature one of Charlotte Disc Golf's premier spectator courses. We are excited about the course changes put forth by John Houck and are incredibly thankful for Mark Huether and the Charlotte Disc Golf Club for helping to implement them. Keep following along with all of our player previews leading into the Tour Championship, and we look forward to announcing the finalized course layout soon!
If you have not already, make plans to either watch the Tour Championship live or spectate in person October 18-20th. It's going to be an event you will not want to miss!
**Editors Note: This article was written prior to Wysocki's withdrawal from the DGPT Championship due to Lyme Disease. We wish Ricky a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him next season out on tour!
With the Tour Championship's move to Charlotte Ricky Wysocki has the opportunity to put this past season's up-down performance behind him. More importantly, Wysocki's proximity to home could spell success and see him no longer playing second-fiddle to Paul McBeth.
Wrapping up the season second in Tour Points to Paul McBeth two years in a row is no small task. Missing only DGLO and Idlewild both seasons, this year Wysocki was able to drop a T9th finish with the added third drop for Tour Points. After Kevin Jones finished first at Idlewild, it looked like he had a shot at passing Wysocki for second place in Tour Standings. All Kevin had to do was keep up with his mid-season performance at the final two events. However, Wysocki returned from his Pro Tour hiatus and was able to solidify his second-place Tour Standing.
In 2016 and 2017 Wysocki won the Tour Points standings. In 2017 Wysocki was able to unite the crowns, winning the tournament as well, after falling to McBeth in the Tour Championship the year before. Last year, Wysocki advanced from the semi-finals round into the finals to ultimately take a T3rd place finish behind Chris Dickerson and Nate Sexton.
An up-down season may not spell success.
In 2016 and 2017 Wysocki was able to win 3 Pro Tour events each year. Last year he only won two. This year, Wysocki was only able to win one Pro Tour event, unseating defending champion Paul McBeth at the San Francisco Open. Wysocki's performance on Tour this season was plagued by rounds where he got behind early and then had to fight his way back into contention. This resilience is what led to Wysocki's top finish in Tour Standings.
While Wysocki finished second in Tour Points, his stats on Tour show a different story. His best stat this season is a 3rd from C1 in Regulation. A 4th from C2 in Regulation is his next best stat. While he appears to have the driving accuracy to be successful, he is currently 27th in Fairway hits and 34th in Scramble percentage. With the wooded Hornets Nest track, this may create a difficult space for Wysocki to succeed in October.
Wysocki is going to need to put together a consistent performance in Charlotte and move past his up-down stats sheet to have a shot at the Pro Tour Championship.
A New Track Feels Like Home
One path for success for Wysocki is his practical home-course advantage. Wysocki is in the same position as McBeth, where the last PDGA round he played on the Hornet's Nest track was 2012 Pro Worlds. The difference, Sockibomb will only 45 minutes away from his previous home of Fort Mill, South Carolina. If 2017 Worlds showed us anything, if it's within driving distance, Sockibomb's family is going to show up in force. For Wysocki, the Tour Championship is going to bring out family and fans to cheer him on. On top of that, one would expect Wysocki will have some familiarity with the course which could help spell success when it comes time for the Tour Championship.
The track is still being finalized thanks to John Houck and the Charlotte Disc Golf Club. A special thanks to Mark Huether, Charolette club Director of Operations. As we make final adjustments to the course, Touring MPO and FPO players are slotted to give their final stamp of approval. Be watching for an official course layout announcement by sometime next week. Get ready to watch the 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship October 18-20th in Charlotte, NC at the Hornets Nest Disc Golf Course.
This year McBeth repeated his first in Tour Standings finish from last year while also becoming a 5X European Open Champion and a 5X World Champion. By most accounts, he has had a dominating season, one that comes after switching sponsors before the start of the year. Over the past two years, one event has eluded Paul's grasp which leads us to the question, can McBeth regain the Tour Champion title this year in Charlotte?
Last year staff writer Zach Podhorzer questioned whether or not a win at the 2018 Tour Championship would elevate McBeth to GOAT status. Spoiler Alert, he did not win, and in fact, he did not make it out of the semifinals.
Looking towards this year's event in Charlotte, let's look back to McBeth's previous Tour finishes. In 2016 McBeth skipped Silver Cup and carded two 12th place finishes at Pro Tour events to lead him to finish 5th in Pro Tour Standings. He would rebound from a 4th place finish at GMC to win the Tour Championship hosted at Smuggler's Notch. In 2017 McBeth would come in second in Tour Standings to Ricky Wysocki and proceed to also take second place at the Tour Championship to the Sockibomb. Last year, McBeth finally achieved first in Tour Standings but would fall in the semifinals to Chris Dickerson and Simon Lizotte. This year McBeth will have a second opportunity to unite the crowns much like Wysocki did in 2017.
A Dominant Season Signals Potential Success
Let's start by looking at Tour Standings. This year McBeth won the points race by a 178 point margin. In 2018 he only won by a 106 point margin. Neither margin was as much as Wysocki's 218 point margin of victory over McBeth in 2017. In 2017 Wysocki was able to unite the crowns, and if points are an indicator, McBeth should be on track to do the same this year.
Beyond the points, McBeth has the most 1st place finishes on the Pro Tour ever amassed by one MPO player during the regular season of the Disc Golf Pro Tour. McBeth won six Pro Tour events this year, the previous record on the MPO side was three which McBeth had last year, and Wysocki did in both 2016 and 2017. This event dominance helps to set the tone for how one might expect this year's championship to unfold.
On top of points and event dominance McBeth also dominated in the stats category which we can look at thanks to Udisc. McBeth led the Tour in C1 and C2 in regulation. His accuracy off the tee was vital in his multiple wins this year. McBeth's performance this year reinforces an article series from Ultiworld about how the adage should be to drive for dough and putt for show. McBeth also led in the Birdie percentage category (probably thanks to his -18 performance at Waco). Finally, McBeth took second in C1x putting at Pro Tour events only to Eagle McMahon. This second-place finish may not be a fair assessment of stats given how McMahon played three fewer tournaments than McBeth. However, all of these stats help reinforce the dominance McBeth had this season in the stats category.
A New Track Creates Uncertainties
One uncertainty for every player will be playing on the Hornets track in Charlotte this October. After playing two years at the New World Disc Golf Complex in Jacksonville, FL, it will be interesting to see how the players take to a more wooded, traditional disc golf track. On the Pro Side, the last time a major event took place in Charlotte was 2012 Pro Worlds which Paul McBeth won by five throws. During that event, Hornet's Nest was only played by the pros during the finals round. The final nine was a modified course layout that incorporates some of the holes which will be in play at the Tour Championship. The only player in the MPO finals to gain strokes on Paul was Ricky, but at that point, McBeth had a large enough lead to still bring home the win.
Hornet's Nest is currently being reviewed by top pros in both the MPO and FPO field to finalize a Tour Championship worthy layout at the Hornets Nest course. We are looking forward to seeing how all of the Pros tackle the challenging wooded track October 18-20th. Keep checking back here as we will be releasing more preview articles leading into the event.
Paul McBeth comes into the final round with an 8 stroke lead. He has successfully made this final round virtually a victory lap calling off his phenomenal inaugural season with Discraft. He is first in Pro Tour points having won six of the eight events he has played. GMC will make it seven of nine. Over the course of the Season, he has birdied 57% of the holes he has played easily topping Eagle McMahon and Ricky Wysocki who are in second and third place at 52% and 51% respectively.
He leads most of the statistics categories that UDisc tracks, including Fairway Hits, Parked Shots, and Circle 1 and Circle 2 in regulation. It is clear, this season has been a runaway success on a career littered with amazing accomplishments. It seems fitting that he would wrap up the Pro Tour season with a victory lap final round at a tournament presented by his new sponsor, Discraft.
He played three of his four rounds bogey-free, including his final two rounds, making it very difficult for anyone to make a serious charge. Without his quadruple bogey on hole 18 to finish the second round, he would be leading buy a dozen strokes over his nearest competitors. Paul is one for the ages and his performance at GMC is also one for the ages. While the end result, his first win at Smuggler's Notch, was not in doubt oh, it was still a joy to watch and celebrate his final round with him.
"It feels good to win here. These were the courses we played for World's last year and it felt good to get four good rounds in. It feels good."
The battle today would end up being for second place and it would involve five different players. With five holes left to play on the lead card, all three players on the lead card (not including McBeth) were tied at 24 down. Ricky Wysocki had fallen off the pace and was sitting at 22 down but the story at that moment was Chris Clemons.
Chris started the day with six birdies in a row and through 14 holes he was bogey free, 10 down on the day, and 26 down overall. Clemons, who was two cards ahead of the leaders, finished the day at 11 down, setting the bar that Nikko Locastro and Chris Dickerson would try to catch. Clemons commented about his round, "It feels pretty nice. It was a really good day, for sure. The first day we played here I started with three birdies so I wanted to do that again. And then I just kind of kept it going. Getting a bunch of birdies makes it easy, you throw more free, you throw with more power, bogeys don't matter when you have a bunch of birdies."
Simon Lizotte on hole 13 had a very tricky putt to the elevated basket that tickled chains and then rolled 35 feet away. He drained the comebacker for par but the irritation he felt was clear. On hole 14, his disc kicked off a tree, spiked into the ground 5 feet from the pin and backspin 40 feet away out of bounds. His par save did not work this time and, if you consider a 70 ft putt, a putt, he three-putted hole 15. After this series of holes, Simon was out of the race for second.
Dickerson would get in trouble on hole 15, miss his Circle 2 putt for par, and fall four behind Clemons with three holes to go. This left Nikko as the only person that could catch Chris Clemons. With two holes to go he needed two birdies to tie for second. Nikko-parked 17 for the birdie and was left needing the birdie on 18. His drive was way left and hyzered to the OB. It magically stuck about one foot in bounds. His approach shot to the green was wide right and settled in about two feet from the OB on the right side of the green. His fifty footer would hit the basket low and he would settle in for 3rd place completing our podium.
Co-Course designer, Steve Brinster, shot the third hottest round of the day at 8 down. "Obviously I love a lot of the shots out there. I go into the round having a game plan, knowing the shots I can attack. Today was just a good opportunity to put it all together. I was happy to execute my shots. My game felt good."
James Conrad also shot a 8 down and told Madison Walker, "I feel good. It felt good to improve over the subpar rooms on this course in round 2. I definitely improved the round primarily through not going OB. yeah I was noticing that I was 7th place coming into the tournament and it looked like a 8th and 9th could possibly pass me so I was hoping to lock in the top eight so I could go to buy into the semi-finals at the Pro Tour championships."
Congratulations to the top eight in Tour Points who will be earning a bye to the Tour Championship: Paul McBeth, Ricky Wysocki, Simon Lizotte, Kevin Jones, Garrett Gurthie, James Conrad, Eagle McMahon, and Calvin Heimburg. There was no movement out of the top eight as James Conrad and Calvin Heimburg secured their spots with strong finishes at GMC.
The players receiving a bye to the quarterfinals (9th-16th in Tour Points) are Adam Hammes, Alex Russell, Chris Clemons (who jumped 8 spots to 11th), Matt Orum, Seppo Paju, Joel Freeman, Austin Hannum and Reid Frescura.
Emerson Keith, who did not play GMC, finished one point behind Frescura and Drew Gibson finished 1.5 points behind Reid. They will both get to play in the first round of the 2019 Tour Championships along with the next 14 players that got their tickets punched.
That’s a wrap for the regular season.
As Paul McBeth told AJ Risley after the final putt here at Smuggler’s Notch, “Just three more to go. USDGC, Hall of Fame NT finale, and the Tour Championships in Charlotte.”
As we came into the final round, all eyes were on Sarah Hokom. How can we forget what happened during the last GMC, when Paige Pierce came charging from the chase card to beat Sarah by one. On the final hole, Sarah was unaware of the scores and played her game rather than run the 70 footer that would have tied it.
Sarah had a five-stroke lead on Paige going into that round. This year, Sarah has six strokes on Kristin Tattar. The early holes may let us know if this is going to be a battle. Additionally, holes 7 and 8 hold a lot of danger. With plenty of OB throughout the entire Fox Run course, strokes can be made up in many ways and in many places.
To open up the round, everyone did exactly what they needed to do and Sarah was the one who executed. She played confident and safe, draining her 15 foot par putt and keeping OB out of play. Kristin Tattar went for the big drive to set herself up for a birdie up and down look, and went OB, costing herself a stroke.
After pars on hole 2, Sarah Hokom drove to within about 60 feet. Kristin got in trouble in the thick woods on the left and managed to put herself in position to save the bogey. Sarah stepped up and laid up her shot to about 15 feet away, not bringing in the fast green or the OB behind and increasing her lead to eight. So far so good.
Both players birdied the getable hole 4 and we move on to hole 5, where Sarah made her first mistake. She popped out a sidearm and turned the disc over early. Kristin’s drive set herself up for an easy up and down for par. Sarah threw a very tricky touch shot on to the dam and left herself 22 feet for bogey. Her tentative putt hit the basket a few inches low, caught an edge and rolled 28 feet away, down hill. She drained the comebacker to save double bogey and the lead was quickly back to six as we approached holes 7 and 8, two of the tougher holes on the course.
Hole 6, which is setup for the forehand should not be an issue for players. However, Sarah hit an early tree on her drive and kicked OB, losing another stroke. The lead is now five.Sarah’s arrows are pointing down, Kristin is staying steady, and then it becomes clear that we should bring Rebecca Cox into the conversation as she has recovered with three birdies after starting the round with a bogey. Cox is just two shots behind Kristin and we are headed into the menacing holes 7 and 8.
Sarah goes OB on hole seven, guarding the bogey and losing another stroke to Kristin. The lead is down to four. After pars and bogeys respectively on holes 8 and 9, Kristin is on the tee and smashes a drive within 5'. Park job. Hokom responded putting her drive in circle one but missed the pot and sheds another stroke.
We move on to the difficult hole 11, which had been birdied by only one other person the entire day. Kristin laced a beauty of a drive to C1 edge. Chains. The lead is down to two and Rebecca Cox is only five back with four birdies on the first ten holes.
We advance to hole 14. Sarah Hokom lost a stroke to Kristin on this hole in round two, but today she would not be denied. Putting her drive 30 feet from the pin and hitting the putt, Sarah opened the lead back to three. "I tried to relax and be okay with whatever the outcome was. Hole 14 was a bonus and hole 15 made it two in a row and I felt like I was back in this thing." The birdie on 15 made it four and she could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Rebecca Cox would gain a couple more throws on Kristin with her park job on the 400' 17th, but it was not enough to catch her. It was enough to catch and pass Jessica Weese in Tour points though. Rebecca moved into fourth place and will have a bye into the semi-finals at the Tour Championship.
Sarah Hokom, Kristin Tattar and Rebecca Cox are the women's podium here at Discraft's Green Mountain Championship presented by Grip EQ.
After the round Sarah spoke with Madison Walker, "It feels amazing. I'm so relieved. I've been grinding all season and it finally came together for me."
Thanks to everyone that watched. The Tour Championship well be the culmination of the 2019 season for the Pro Tour. It will be in Charlotte October 18-20 on a Houck/Koling version of the Hornet's Nest.
Congratulations to Paige Pierce on winning the Pro Tour season with 685 points. Catrina Allen joins Paige, Sarah and Rebecca as the four players who get a bye into the semi-finals.
Hole 18 kind of summed it all up. Paul McBeth needs a birdie to tie the course record. He throws a perfect shot. The disc flies flat then begins to fade as it approaches the basket. It flies past, pin high how about a foot to the left. He was one foot away from breaking the course record. What happened next though, encapsulated the round perfectly. His disc, traveling fast, hits a tree five feet past the basket and stops dead giving him a park job. Of the shot, McBeth said, “Jeff pointed out that I needed the ace to break the course record and I said, maybe I just have to throw this one in. I knew there were trees past it as a backstop so I wasn’t too worried.”
It seemed as though McBeth was either playing perfectly or getting fortuitous bounces. Some days it just goes that way. With 100% C1X putting, two of four on C2 putts he was dialed. It was an amazing round to watch unless you were trying to catch him. His round tied the course record of 13 down set by Paul Ulibarri. If McBeth can keep this up, he will be our 2019 GMC champion.
McBeth, bogey-free and never carding more than two pars in a row increased his lead to three and four strokes to start off Moving Day. “I was able to get out to an early start. I got some birdies early and I think it helped out.” He was 100% in scramble rate, although there were very few of them. He was 100% in C1X and drained X from C2. No one really threatened him throughout the entire round, which is easy to understand when you're in the lead and you go bogey-free. on this Moving Day, McBeth merely rearranged the furniture.
Chris Dickerson, who started the round in second place one stroke ahead of Simon Lizotte, struggled early. In round one on this same course through the first five holes, he was five down. Today, through the first five, he was even. Meanwhile, Simon Lizotte parked holes 1 and 3, moving into second place early. Simon would end up playing very consistent golf, bogey-free with seven birdies to put him in second place, but way behind McBeth. Dickerson recovered from the slow start and ended up tying Simon for second place through three rounds.
Down the leaderboard, several players were making big moves including Calvin Heimberg and Garrett Gurthie. Gurthie did the same thing at the MVP Open on Moving Day. Both players moved up 12 spots and are currently in sixth place. James Conrad jumped 23 spots into sixteenth place, and Andrew Marwede jumped 21 spots, getting under par for the first time this tournament, both had hot rounds.
Nate Sexton continues to play Nate Sexton style golf. Bogey-free until hole 17 and carding birdies when they were available. Sexton jumped into fourth and will lead the chase card. When asked about his day, Nate replied, “Pretty solid. Kind of a slow finish. I had a feeling the bogey on 17 might cost me lead card. We will see how windy it is tomorrow. I’ll just make some shots and hit some putts. Nothing sneaky about it.” Regarding Paul’s lead and whether he would play differently with the significant deficit, Nate cheekly replied, “No need. Paul will probably come back to me.”
Ricky Wysocki sits one shot behind Sexton on the chase card after shooting a very solid 7 down. His putting was on, going 100% in C1X and draining two of his five C2 putts. Garrett Gurthie and Calvin Heimburg will join Wysocki and Sexton to round out an amazing chase card That will be filmed by Gatekeeper Media. The same cast of characters will be on the lead card tomorrow at 2:30 PM Eastern which will be broadcast live on the DGPT YouTube Channel and post-produced by Jomez Pro.
Tune in to watch!
GMC Open - FPO R3 - Process. Relax. Hope.
The round was cold, wet and windy. Kristin Tattar started the day five shots behind Sarah Hokom. After two holes, Kristin was one down (with a huge 50 footer), Sarah was one up (with a two-putt on hole 1). The lead was now down to a manageable three strokes. In the first two holes it appeared Sarah was set-up for a ride on the struggle bus. Two 30ft putts later on holes four and five and she had straightened things out, rebuilding her lead to five. Sarah would keep it on cruise control picking up two birdies the rest of the way out, finishing with the hot round, one-under-par and taking a six-stroke lead into the final nine.
Through nine, Hailey King and Rebecca Cox had fallen back and Paige Pierce had cooled down. Sarah showed resolve on day three as she continued to play solid, hitting 80% of her C1X putts and scrambling to card 3 of 4 par saves. Kristin’s putting was spot on with 100% C1X and adding in a C2 putt for good measure. This consistent play gave her a few strokes on third and started to separate her and Sarah from the field.
Over the course of the round, Sarah Hokom had fewer birdies than anyone else on the lead card. Only one person in the top ten had fewer birdies. In fact, Paige Pierce had more birdies on the final three holes of the round. But Sarah avoided bogeys, carding only one bogey on hole 2. On her hand, Sarah had written her round reminders. Process. Relax. Hope.
“It always feels good to be under par on this course. There are so many trees. Conditions were a lot tougher today as the wind gusted and stopped. I had an early bogey but I threw two bad shots and that’s what happens. It is a toss-up between my Relay and Crave between which one was my go to disc. They are so straight and easy to control. It was basically point and shoot.”
Sarah Hokom’s focus today was trusting in her routines. Saying to herself, “set-up for your shots correctly, let your body do its thing, you’ve practiced this thousands of times.” She successfully let her muscles work like she has trained them to work.
At times, lining up a thirty footer, you could see Sarah Hokom breathe out. Exhale. Relax the mind and the body. She left herself two C1 edge putts twice in a row on the front nine and drained them both. Nice and easy. Over 70% C1X putting each of the first two rounds, better than her average. You got this. Breathe.
After a tough drive on hole 6 left her about 300’ through tight woods without the benefit of a tee or fairway, Sarah put a pured an anhyzer flick. It gently banked right, right before smashing into a series of trees on the right side of her tight line. It then hyzered out and nestled about five feet from the pin. On hole 15, she contorted her body to have a look from off the fairway. She had a 140’ sharp left to right. 140’ later, her hyzer flick hit the elevated basket for a drop in par save. Trust your discs to do what they do and hope for the best.
Process. Relax. Hope. Sarah did these things and she goes into Round 4 up by six. When asked about the three words written on her hand, Sarah explained, “Relax part because I get uptight when I’m on live. Hope is especially useful in the woods. Keep a positive mind frame. Process reminds me to say my keywords in my head. I also have a smiley face because we are playing frisbee.”
Rounding out the lead card are Kristin Tattar, Rebecca Cox and Hailey King. Kristin has the best chance to catch Sarah, but will need a hot start to put pressure on Sarah early. She has been putting well and has the distance to make up ground on the longer Fox Run course. Krstin told Madison Walker after the round, “I love touring in the United States. There are so many different courses. Today, I did not feel confident about my forehands. I am hoping it will not be that windy again tomorrow. It was not windy in practice so I may go practice Fox Run in the wind this afternoon.” Hailey King and Rebecca Cox have been getting more consistent over the season and it will be fun to see these two battle for third and try to catch Kristin.
Paige Pierce finished one stroke off the lead card and had a very inconsistent round. After starting with six pars, she carded one par over the last 12 holes. The big issue for Paige was her inability to scramble (20%). Paige will look to improve on her current fifth-place position, but a miracle comeback, as she did here in 2017 from the chase card, is probably a bit too much to ask this year.
Holly FInley, who moved up five spots, said, “I had a lot of fun on Brewster Ridge today. I’m an official Wisconsinite. I absolutely love playing in the woods and I needed to pick up the slack today. It is really my strong suit. I put on my power lipstick for an extra confidence boost and it worked out. Tomorrow I am going to be more conservative and play it safe. I’m shooting for a par finish.”
Missy Gannon told AJ Risley after the round, “I started off really well and got a birdie on one of the big par 4s. Caught another birdie on hole 9 and faltered a little bit on the back nine. Tomorrow I need to throw every shot confidently and remember that I can do this.”
An interesting side note is the revised FPO Tour Championship schedule. The number of women qualifying has been increased to 16 and the number of women getting byes to the Semifinals was increased from three to four. Rebecca Cox is just two points behind Jessica Weese in Tour Standings for that fourth spot. If Rebecca can stay a couple of positions ahead of Jessica, she will jump into fourth place in Tour Points and get a bye into the Tour Championship Semifinals. There is an extra reason to watch the final round.
Round 4 of Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship presented by Grip EQ starts Sunday morning at 9:00 AM Eastern.
McBeth moves up. McBeth moves down.
GMC is Chris Dickerson’s fourth Pro Tour event of the season. He needs to finish in the top five to qualify for the Tour Championship, which he won last year. He is a man on a mission. He started round 1 with six birdies. After a couple bogeys, he finished the round with seven birdies in a row. The 11 down was enough to put him in first place, two shots ahead of Paul McBeth.
Hole 1, round 2. Chris Dickerson goes OB and follows it up with a three putt. Meanwhile McBeth drains a thirty footer for birdie. One hole in, McBeth has the outright lead and, for the next 16 holes, he would not look back. McBeth birdied five of the first seven holes and opened up a lead. After going OB and carding bogeys on holes 8 and 9, McBeast mode was activated. He started the back nine with five birdies in a row and opened up a five stroke lead on Simon Lizotte, who had moved up to second.
One for the ages is McBeth’s birdie putt on hole 13. He had a wooded right to left hyzer lane to throw through that an e-bike would have had trouble navigating. But McBeth’s putter is not an e-bike and it flew straight through the lane, stalled, and dove left to the basket. Nate Doss exclaimed that it was a Top Five shot of the year. It was not just his putter doing the work. Watching the round, McBeth’s driver was working to start and, as the course tightened up on the back six holes, his putter took over, going 3 for 3 from C2. Again, Nate Doss was almost bored calling for the ZUCA Replays. McBeth said, “Putting has been the solid point for the two rounds.”
Meanwhile, on a few cards ahead, Lizotte birdied 18 to get to 13 down. Chris Dickerson, through the first 14 holes, was even par with a double bogey on the first hole and two birdies. At that point, he was six shots behind McBeth. Dickerson carded the birdie to get to 14 down, sole possession of second. They both watched McBeth, who came into the final hole with a five stroke lead, throw two shots in a row out of bounds. Stunned silence fell over the crowd as McBeth eventually tapped in for a quad bogey seven, losing four strokes to Dickerson and Lizotte, who are now one and two behind respectively.
A visibly irritated McBeth said of hole 18 in the post round interview about his game plan on hole 18, “It was the wrong game plan on hole 18. I tried to lay up. I should have just played aggressive. I need to throw cleaner drives as I made too many mistakes off the tee and hope to do a little better than a nine (down).”
Looking down the leaderboard, Simon Lizotte has put together two solid workman rounds. He hit one C2 putt and missed one C1X putt. He finds himself in a good position and has moved up to the lead card for Round 3. Simon told Madison Walker, “It was a good round, birdied the first six right out of the gate. I fell into trying to lay up playing too safe. I hung in there and finished at five down. All in all, it felt good. Out in the open on holes 16, 17 and 18 the wind.”
When asked about playing too safe on a few holes, he quickly replied, “Never lay up. That’s a life lesson. Laying up and going OB is the worst feeling ever.” When asked about Brewster Ridge for Round 3 tomorrow, “If I can shoot another 8 down like I did in Round 1 I think I will be pretty happy with that.”
Ricky Wysocki made the biggest move today carding the hottest round of the day. He birdied nine of the first twelve holes and finished at nine down for the round. Interestingly, he missed three C1X putts and bogeyed hole 16 so he did leave a little out there. The amazing round allowed him to move up over 40 spots. He will be on the chase card in Round 3 and is ready to attack Brewster and get back on the lead card.
Gregg Barsby, who won the World Championships here one year ago, made a charge until hole 16, where he carded a quad bogey. With a par on that hole he would be in second place. If there is anyone that can bounce back from a devastating hole, it is Barsby. In fact, he followed it up with solid birdies on 17 and 18. He sits in a tie for ninth place. Look for him to move up the leaderboard.
Alex Russell and Nikko Locastro went five down in round 1 and six down in round 2. They find themselves in a multiplayer tie for fourth. When asked about his day, Nikko said, “I’m feeling very good about my game. As far as the round goes, there were a few holes where I misjudged distances. Going into tomorrow I will make adjustments from the first round. I love being in Vermont. I feel confident and good about my game. I’ll try to execute for the next two rounds. I’m excited to play better than I did the first round and move up the leaderboard.” Nikko is playing hot and went 7 for 8 in C2 and 100% in C1X. That is letting the putter do the work.
Alex Russell is also feeling good in Vermont and said, “I feel great. Kept it much cleaner than I expected. I got the first three to get a hot start and finished at six.” When asked about the course, “The courses are pretty even in my book. They are attackable but with the breeze today, I played many holes for pars and wanted to just keep clicking along.”
Nate Sexton, Tim Barham and Chris Clemons also sit at -11 and are part of the tie for fourth. Sexton struggled, carding three bogeys and a double bogey, as well only hitting 67% in C1X. He finished birdie birdie on 17 and 18 to pull his round back to a respectable three under and find himself on the chase card. Tim Barham was the epitome of controlled golf, playing bogey free until the final hole. Chris Clemons was in between them both, starting hot with birdies on five of the first six holes and following it up with a double bogey on seven. He was 100% in C1X and will be looking to get onto the lead card.
The third round of Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship presented by Grip EQ goes live Saturday at 3:00 Eastern. This could be one for the ages with McBeth, Dickerson, Lizotte and Locastro on the lead card.
While preparing for the second round of the Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship presented by Grip EQ, Sarah Hokom’s partner and caddy suffered a seizure. A friend drove him to the hospital and Sarah hokom was left to try and regain her focus. Sarah explained her actions before the round started, "Deep breathing, trying to relax, compartmentalizing and support from my card mates is how I got through it."
And get through it she did. With temperatures in the low 50s and the wind gusting to 15 mph, it was a cold and windy day and the OB laden Fox Run course stood in front of the players. Sarah explains her strategy, "I was trying to play the easiest possible shot. I was going for par, wanting to avoid the OB as much as possible. For example, on hole 17 I know I can get a good drive to give myself a circle 2 look. But I felt more comfortable doing a couple chop hyzers and making sure I got the par and not bringing OB into play."
After carding the par on hole seven, Sarah Hokom was two under par. Hailey King was the only other player under par. The cold and the wind did a number on the FPO field, especially on Hole 7, the first ultra long and open hole on the Fox Run course. Over 70% of the players went OB at least once and many went OB multiple times. Hokom’s game plan of playing in control and only taking what the course gives you served her well. Through the front nine, she had taken the lead and was in cruise control, leading Jessica Weese and Rebecca Cox by five.
Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen, the #1 and #2 power ranked players, who are always in contention, found themselves ten and eleven strokes out respectively with nine holes left in the second round. Paige had a tough start carding the double on hole 4 as well as a bogey on hole 6. She then turned the page on those scores and carded birdies on holes 7 and 8, the only player to do so. Through the front nine, she found herself ten strokes behind Hokom, but with over two rounds to go, we cannot count her out. Catrina Allen struggled with her C1X putting as well as keeping the disc in bounds. She has the skills to make a run but so far at this event has not shown the fire necessary to do so.
Said Paige, "Pretty tough round out there in the wind so lots of bogeys came. Overall it went all right." When asked if she had a different mindset on the more open Fox Run course versus yesterday's round at Brewster Ridge, Paige replied, "I wasn't hitting my lines yesterday in the woods. It's tight and if you miss your line in the woods the disc doesn't continue to fly. At Fox Run, even if you miss your line, you still get the forward progress. I was trying not to think too much about that and just play my tee shots better today."
And then there was Kristin Tattar. Through 11 holes, she had thrown out of bounds four times and was having serious trouble managing the winds. As they came down the stretch though, Sarah Hokom started to hiccup (bogeys on holes 12 & 13) and Kristin started to play very consistent golf.
On hole 11, Kristin drained a 50-footer to save bogey. From that point on she was ice in the wind, going one under par and gaining three strokes on Sarah to close out the round. At one point, it looked like Sarah and her cautious approach to the round were going to run away with this. Kristin demonstrated that, at the halfway point, this match is anybody's to win.
Hailey King bogeyed three of the last five holes ending two over par for the round. It was good enough to move her onto the lead card and it shows how good her start was as she birdied two of the first six holes. She ended the day just two shots worse than Sarah Hokom's hot round.
Rebecca Cox rounds out the lead card. She shot the hot round yesterday and finds herself eight strokes back after carding seven OB strokes and shooting 44% from C1X. She will need to improve both of these numbers to climb back up the leaderboard. There is plenty of golf to play and she has the skills. Only time will tell if she is able to get back on top.
As we closed out the interview, Sarah Hokom jokingly referred to the Nantucket Open, "I think it helped to play in Hurricane Dorian last week." The Green Mountain Championship is halfway done oh, the competitors have seen both courses, and there is plenty of golf to play. Will Sarah Hokom build on her lead or will she fall back to the crowd for yet another exciting finish at Smuggler's Notch?
Best wishes to Robin, Sarah Hokom’s partner and caddy on a safe and full recovery.
Make plans to watch Round 3 of Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship presented by Grip EQ tomorrow at 9:30 AM Eastern.
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Day one of Discraft's Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq is in the books and the leader in the clubhouse has two throws on the field. As the players take a break from the action to enjoy Smuggs Fall Fest presented by Fiddlehead Brewing, we take a look back at today's competition.
The current leader of the GMC after round one is defending Tour Champion, Chris Dickerson. Dickerson holds the lead after being a late addition to the tournament, only making the trip in hopes of playing well enough to be in the Tour Championship in October. Dickerson bookended his round today with a string of six birdies to start and seven birdies to end. He did not have a flawless round. He carded back-to-back bogeys on holes seven and eight. Dickerson leads the tournament in parked percentage as well as C1 and C2 in regulation. If he can continue leading those stats on the longer, more open Fox Run course tomorrow, he will be in prime position to maintain his lead.
In a cluster tie for second place and on the lead card tomorrow will be Paul McBeth, Zach Melton, and Nate Perkins. With all three players at two throws back from Dickerson and only one throw ahead of three other players there is not much wiggle room at the top. McBeth was the only player of the three to avoid carding a bogey today, carding impressive 100% scramble and C1x putting rates. One place where McBeth faltered today was from C2, where he failed to make a connection. If McBeth can turn on the C2 putting tomorrow look for him to maintain his second-place standing or usurp Dickerson in score. While Melton and Perkins both carded more birdies than McBeth today, they will be looking to clean up bogeys which were reached in different ways. Melton's came on a two-putt after putting his drive inside C2 and Perkins came after missing a scramble opportunity to connect for par from C2. Both players connected with just over 20% of their C2 putts and Perkins carried through a 100% C1x putting rate to put themselves on the lead card going into day two.
Not far behind the tie for second is a three-way tie for 5th place between Simon Lizotte, Nate Sexton, and Martin Hendel. Sexton is fresh off the heels of a repeat victory at Canadian Nationals where Simon Lizotte finished in 4th place, and Martin snagged a T13 finish. Sexton played the day much like his former teammate, and tour partner Paul McBeth did, bogey-free. Sexton did miss one putt inside C1 but made up for it by connecting on 1 of 3 of his C2 putts. Simon and Martin both faltered on one hole today. Simon's came when he got into trouble after his drive on hole fifteen, and for Martin, it was an errant drive on hole eight which led to his bogey. All three players will join the 2018 World Champion Gregg Barsby on the chase card which will be filmed by Gatekeeper Media.
It's a tight race at the moment with most of the field hoping for some scoring separation as play moves over to Fox Run. Barsby is in a six-way tie for eighth place with the likes of Orum, Castro, Clemons, Hannum, and Freeman. Moving down the list is an even bigger tie at 14th at -6 with Brinster, Koling, Isaacs, Earhart, Gibson, Barham, Hammes, and Carey. While it is a tight race, there are a few notable players who are not close to the top. Seppo Paju and Ricky Wysocki who are both currently ten back of the lead at one-under-par and Calvin Heimburg is eleven back of the lead at even par.
Make plans to tune in and watch the action live tomorrow at 2:30 PM ET on the DGPT YouTube Channel. You can also catch next-day coverage from Jomez Pro, and Gatekeeper Media of Discraft's Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq taking place at Smugg's Fall Fest presented by Fiddlehead Brewing.
Discraft's Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEQ FPO Recap: Tied at the Top, Leaderboard mainstays have difficult first roundRead Now
There is a tie at the top of the leaderboard after round one of Discraft's Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq. The event, which takes place in conjunction with Smugg's Fall Festival presented by Fiddlehead Brewing is now underway with the first round behind us. Sarah Hokom and Rebecca Cox are leading.
Rebecca Cox jumped out to an early lead after a string of five birdies from holes seven through eleven. Rebecca was leading the tournament at -3 until she carded a bogey on hole 18 to finish the round. Rebecca used a 71% Scramble rate and 82% C1x putting to help elevate her into the lead. She was unable to convert on six C2 putts which could end up being the difference tomorrow on the Fox Run course.
Tied for the lead with Rebecca is Sarah Hokom. Sarah took a more straightforward approach to the day, avoiding bogey on all but one hole and grabbing three birdies in the process. Sarah's patience in the woods led to an 89% Scramble Rate, and her ability to convert on two putts from C2 helped to keep her in the hunt. Sarah's not a stranger to the lead card at GMC. In 2017 she had the lead throughout the final round and ultimately lost to a surging Paige Pierce from the chase card. Sarah will look to maintain her spot at the top on the open Fox Run course tomorrow before coming back to try to build her lead on Brewster's Ridge on Saturday.
Rounding out the lead card tomorrow will be Jessica Weese and Kristin Tattar. Jessica Weese was in the hunt for most of the front nine, carding birdies to offset bogeys on holes four and seven. On the back nine, Weese ran into trouble carding a double bogey on hole fifteen after going OB on her drive. Weese was able to pick up a birdie on hole seventeen to finish the round at even par, two throws behind first, and in sole possession of third place.
Kristin Tattar finished the day tied at two-over with Hailey King. Kristin makes her way onto the lead card tomorrow due to a lower PDGA number. Kristin's three double bogeys on holes one, eleven, and sixteen are what contributed to her fourth-place tie. We know that Kristin can be a top contender so expect to see her clean up those throws tomorrow and across the tournament. Hailey King struggled to find a consistent pace today. She carded five birdies but offset those with five bogeys and a double-bogey which ultimately kept her from making the lead card tomorrow.
What may be more notable is that Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen finished the day in a tie for 10th place. At six over par, they are eight throws back from the lead and six away from the top three. Historically both players have played better on the Fox Run course (outside of Pierce's stellar comeback round in 2017 on Brewster Ridge). Look for both of them to make their way up the leaderboard tomorrow.
Today's featured card was filmed by GK Pro and will be released on a next-week schedule. Tomorrow's lead card will be live on the DGPT YouTube channel at 9 AM ET. Tune in to watch Rebecca Cox, Sarah Hokom, Jessica Weese, and Kristin Tattar take on the long and rolling fairways of the Fox Run course.
With one event left in the regular season for the Disc Golf Pro Tour now is the time to look at the stakes for different players vying for position at the Tour Championship in Charlotte, NC in October. A majority of players have already secured their spot in the Championship. However, more than a few players are trying to get a last-minute push to either grab a bye or move into one of the final qualifying spots.
As a refresher, the Tour Championship includes the top 32 men and the top 16 women in Tour Points gained from each tour stop this season. With ten events across the season, the lowest three finishes are dropped from the player's total tour standing. For the men, there are four rounds, described as follows: a qualifying round of the men ranked 17-32, a quarterfinals round which includes the top eight finishers from the qualifying round and then players ranked 9-16. Round three is the semifinals which consist of the top eight finishers from the quarterfinals and players ranked 1-8. The finals this year will be the top four players based on their scores from the semifinals round. The final round structure is a change from previous seasons when players have won their cards to advance. On the FPO side, there are only three rounds. Round one consists of players 5-16 playing for the top spots to move into the semifinals round. Rounds two and three unfold the same as rounds three and four do for the men.
With a brief refresher under our belts, let us dive into the women's division. Currently, our top four women with a bye are Paige Pierce, Catrina Allen, Sarah Hokom, and Jessica Weese. With a third drop, both Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen will be dropping second-place finishes (or their finish at GMC). If Pierce takes first place, she will end up with a perfect season score of 700. If Allen wins this weekend, she will end up with 645 points which is not enough to catch Paige Pierce. With first and second place locked positions 3-6 are anyone's game between the players in those positions. If Sarah Hokom can finish in the top seven at GMC, she will replace an 8th place finish. Replacing that finish would allow her to maintain her current point position. Assuming Jessica Weese does not complete the tournament in 6th place or better at the event. Only fifteen points separate Hokom and Weese which is not as close at the point differential between Weese and Cox. The more exciting spots are fifth and sixth, which are only a few points behind third and fourth. If Rebecca Cox finishes in fifth place or better and Weese ends in a tie for eighth or worse Cox can move into the top four. Lisa Fajkus is a longer shot in sixth place. She is looking to drop a 14th place finish from her record. If Lisa puts together a podium finish at GMC that would add thirty points to her final standings which could catapult her into a top-four finish for the season.
While spots 3-6 are interesting, the middle of the pack on the FPO side will not see much movement. It would take a significant swing in the division for anyone to jump into the top six. Currently, in seventh and eighth place Madison Walker and Paige Bjerkaas will not be playing the GMC. However, they are both in a position to make the Tour Championship due to their current points standings. Holly Finley and Kona Panis are the only players currently qualified looking to replace points. Given their current positions in the standings the best either player could do would be to move up spots into seventh or eighth place with podium finishes.
Currently on the outside looking in are Hannah McBeth, Charlotte Towle, Courtney Cannon, and Deann Carey. Hannah McBeth is presently 27 points behind Ellen Widboom who is on the bubble at 16th in Tour Standings. That being said, Lauren Butler is not playing the event and as such will finish the season with 246.5 total points. If Hannah can finish in the top seven at GMC, she would be able to beat Lauren Butler out on points and make the tour championship. For the other three players on the outside looking in, the path to the Tour Championship is significantly more difficult. Charlotte Towle is right behind Hannah in Tour Standings but at another 7.5 points back would need a miracle performance at GMC to move into a qualified spot. Charlotte, Cannon, and Carey are all looking to advance their position in final standings to receive an invite to the Tour Championship should someone qualified not be able to attend.
On the MPO side, things are a little more complicated when looking at who will be in the Tour Championship. McBeth currently has the Tour Points Title locked. Wysocki is sitting pretty comfortable in second place. The only way he could be caught being a 10th or worse finish coupled with a podium finish from Kevin Jones or Simon Lizotte. Kevin, Simon, and Double G will be playing each other to determine who will be taking the third-fifth place spots going into the Tour Championship.
Eagle McMahon will not be in attendance this weekend and potentially will not be attending the Tour Championship. His absence could be a wildcard factor come Tour Championship time. For the time being this means if Adam Hammes can make a top-three finish this weekend, he could garner a bye to the semifinals. What is more likely would be Adam overtaking James Conrad or Calvin Heimburg with a finish better than theirs this weekend. Hammes is looking to replace a 37 while Conrad is replacing a 12.5 and Heimburg is replacing a 25.5. While this will be an uphill battle, it is within the realm of possibility as there have been a few events this season where Hammes has outplayed one or both of them.
Outside of Hammes looking to move into the bye to semifinals, players in the quarterfinals bye spot are looking to maintain this weekend. Emerson Keith will not be in attendance and as such will be passed and moved down into the qualified section of the Championship. Austin Hannum and Reid Frescura will both be playing to stay in the quarterfinals bye position. Chris Clemons and Drew Gibson will both be looking to move into those positions. Clemons will be looking to replace 19.5 Tour Points this weekend. Drew Gibson will be building on his current point totals after being injured early in the season and missing a few events. All Drew needs is a top 20 finish to make it into a quarterfinals bye. Clemons will need a top twenty finish and have Frescura, Hannum, or Gibson finish worse than him to make it into a quarterfinals bye.
It is the players looking to make it into spots 17-32 where things get complicated. There are nine players on the outside looking in currently. The longshot of those is Paul Oman. Paul Oman would need a first or second-place finish this weekend to qualify for the Tour Championship. Next would be Zach Melton. He can make it comfortably into the Tour Championship with a podium finish this weekend. With a fourth-place finish at DGLO this year this does not seem out of the question.
Outside of the longshots, there are now seven players who have a slightly easier chance at making the Tour Championship. Jordan Castro is replacing five points and will be seeking a top ten finish to guarantee a spot in Charlotte. Nikko Locastro is next on the list. Nikko is looking to build points, and a top fifteen finish will put him close to the Championship is not playing. Last year's Tour Champion is currently not qualified. He will also need a top fifteen finish to have a shot at making the Tour Championship this year. Dickerson was only able to play three tour stops this season due to his wife's health. He has made the trek to GMC this weekend in hopes of finishing well enough to play for another title in Charlotte. Matt Bell is one of two players who have played every Tour stop this season but is yet to qualify for the Tour Championship. Bell is replacing 3.5 points, and if he secures a top fifteen finish, he should be playing in the Tour Championship. The other player is Noah Meintsma. Noah is the closest player on the outside looking in currently 36th in Tour Standings. He is replacing 11 points and as such would need a top fifteen finish to have a shot at qualifying. The two players not mentioned yet on the outside looking in are Gregg Barsby and Trevor Harbolt. Both players are looking to add to their current standings of 136 and 141 and only need thirty or so points to push someone out of their qualified position.
It is going to be a race to the finish at Discraft's Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq this weekend. Tune in and see if your favorite pro can make it into the Tour Championship.
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Last year at the PDGA World Championships at Smuggler's Notch Gregg Barsby defied the odds and brought home his first World Championship. A player who hits his stride at this time of the season (he has more top-five finishes than any other player in recent memory at Maple Hill); Barsby has a chance to be a repeat-victor at Smuggler's Notch for the first time since Ricky Wysocki's dominant run from 2013-2016.
Outside of Barsby's dominant run at 2018 Worlds, Ricky Wysocki would be the hands-down favorite to win the event given his past success. Ricky has played the tournament every year since its inception only faltering twice. Once in 2017 to Nate Doss (ultimately taking 3rd) and then again last year at Worlds, where Ricky finished tied for ninth-place. Ricky has not finished outside the top ten this season. Ricky currently sits in second place in DGPT Tour Standings and will be looking to maintain his position going into the final event of the season.
Two players who have historically finished well at this event which will not be in attendance are Paul Ulibarri and Michael Johansen. Without these two tour mainstays in attendance, it leaves the door open for potentially a fresh face to take the podium.
Recently Joel Freeman has been hitting his stride. He will be looking to solidify his Pro Tour Standings finish where he is currently 13th in Tour Standings. While Joel is not in a position to move into the top eight, a solid finish at the Green Mountain Championship will ensure he has a bye to the quarterfinals. Joel has finished in the top three at the most recent DGPT and NT events. Last weekend Joel threw a scorching -17, 51 round which ended up being 1082 rated. Joel has already hit the course and will be looking to make another top-five finish this weekend at Smuggler's Notch.
Other fresh faces to look for at the top of the leaderboard this weekend could be fan vote winners Nathan Queen and Andrew Marwede. Nathan Queen played hot at the MVP Open and is also hitting his stride here on the backstretch of the season. Queen played Worlds at Smuggler's Notch last year and finished 86th. Since that time he has improved his rating and is playing top-notch golf going into the event. Coming off a fan vote win and a top ten finish at MVP a strong finish (albeit a longshot) could help push Nathan into a quarterfinals bye for the Tour Championship.
Andrew Marwede has played consistent golf all season and has found himself inside the top 32 in tour standings going into the final event of the season. Assuming Andrew can maintain his high finish average, he will be able to stay well within the qualified division.
One player we have not talked about yet is Paul McBeth. Last year at Worlds McBeth finished second to Gregg Barsby. The year before, McBeth took his first (and only) DNF from an event at GMC. This will only be McBeth's fourth time playing a tournament at Smuggler's Notch. While he does not have the experience that Ricky has with this course, his highest PDGA rating ever and current World Champion play leads one to believe he is in a position to bring home the win this weekend.
Make plans to catch the post-produced coverage of round one from Jomez Pro and Gatekeeper Media. The Jomez Pro card will feature last year's World Champion Gregg Barsby, reigning World Champion Paul McBeth, Austin Hannum, and Fan Vote Winner Andrew Marwede. The Gatekeeper Media card will include James Conrad, Nate Sexton, Adam Hammes, and Nathan Queen. We will pickup with live coverage of the lead card during rounds two through four so make plans also to tune in and watch live starting at 2:30 PM ET each day this weekend.
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With only a few days left until Discraft's Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq we turn our attention to the FPO field. Coming onto the scene in 2013 the Green Mountain Championship has quickly built a name for itself as a must-play event on tour.
The event did not see its first round of touring FPO players until 2015 when Catrina Allen won the event by six throws over Valarie Jenkins in an eleven person field. Allen would defend her title in 2016, winning over Paige Pierce by sixteen throws. 2017 would see a new victor in Paige Pierce who won from the chase card, besting Sarah Hokom by one throw. In 2018 the event took a hiatus to host the World Championship. Paige Bjerkaas won the World Championship at the Smuggler's Notch Resort last year as a relatively new player on the full-time tour grind.
Bjerkaas will not be returning to the event this year as she is preparing for her upcoming nuptials at the end of October. Both Catrina Allen and Paige Pierce will be in attendance this week as will rising European star Kristin Tattar.
Last year Kristin Tattar finished in eighth place at the World Championships at Smuggler's Notch. This year Kristin has been playing golf at a higher level than last season and looks to be a strong contender going into this weekend. Two weeks ago Kristin finished in second place to Paige Pierce at her first Pro Tour event, the MVP Open. This past weekend Tattar traveled to Prince Edward Island to compete in the Canadian National Tournament. This time she would emerge victorious taking home a win against the aforementioned formidable Pierce. Should Kristin's level of play continue, this weekend do not be surprised to see Tattar in contention alongside Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen.
Going into this event, many would consider Paige Pierce the hands-down favorite given her success this season. That being said, Catrina Allen is a player she has been tangling with all season, and it will be no different at this event. Catrina's dominance in the early years of this tournament shows that she not only understands the course but that she has what it takes to ensure a victory. Recently Catrina has been struggling with her putts. Should Allen's putts be able to find their mark this weekend, Catrina could be right back in contention with Pierce and Tattar for a title. While it has been a few years since Allen has dominated at these courses, a strong push by Catrina at the end of the season could put her in contention for the coveted PDGA Player of the Year title.
Also seeking the player of the Year title is Paige Pierce. In 2018 Pierce watched as a young, former fan and teammate brought home the World Championship win at Smuggler's Notch. This year, little Paige will not be in attendance and Pierce will have a chance to defend her 2017 GMC title. Pierce has proven to be nearly unstoppable this season, and her recent second-place finish at Canadian Nationals could add fuel to her fire. In 2017 Pierce staged a come-back 1005 rated -5 final round to bring home the win over Sarah Hokom. As always, you will want to tune in this weekend to see Pierce put on a show for Discraft's Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq. Don't be surprised if she can complete the event and take home back-to-back GMC titles.
Speaking of Sarah Hokom. Hokom has played this event every year since 2015 and has never finished below third place. In 2018 Hokom had the lead going into the final round. She could have ran a putt on 18 to potentially push a play-off with Paige Pierce, but she was not aware of the scores at the time of her round completion. When asked about the decision at the time, she indicated that she would not have played any differently. Hokom will be looking to improve upon her previous finishes at the GMC and could be in the mix come Championship Sunday.
Other players in the field who could bring home the victory include last year's tied for third-place finisher Jessica Weese. Jessica is a consistent player on tour who can play well both in the woods and in the open. Last year Weese improved one position over her previous fourth-place finish to complete the World Championships in a tie for third. Weese will build off her knowledge and success gained over the past year to take on the challenging Fox Run and Brewster Ridge courses this weekend. Outside of the top five players in attendance for the event, other notables in the field include Rebecca Cox, Vanessa Van Dyken, and Hailey King. Each player has found their bit of success at different times either recently or on this course. Hailey King will be on the feature card round one so make plans to tune in and watch when it is released on the GK Pro Channel.
Make plans to watch the round one feature card via next-week schedule on GK Pro and then catch the final three rounds live thanks to SmashboxxTV. You will not want to miss out on the action, so make plans to tune in and watch!
Dynamic Discs to continue as partner as new DGPT leadership makes venue change.
Jeffersonville, VT, September 3, 2019
The 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship has been moved to Hornet’s Nest Park in Charlotte, North Carolina in a decision that takes the event back to its originally planned and announced dates. This change was made to accommodate player travel plans and allow a full field to participate.
The event was first announced on these dates in the Fall of 2018, but a change to October 31-November 2 (announced July 24) had left a number of players unable to attend. The new date brings the event in line with the final stretch of the professional touring season, placed a week after the run of the USDGC and Hall of Fame Classic contested in Rock Hill, SC, and Appling, GA, respectively.
“The first priority we addressed as Tour leaders were making sure the DGPT Championship worked,” said Jeff Spring, who is a week into his tenure as Tour Director. “After realizing the date change had affected several players, we reached out to Jeremy Rusco and his team at Dynamic Discs and discussed the options. After several discussions with DD and conversations with each player who is qualified, we decided to make the change to Charlotte. It became clear this was a much better option for the players. We thank Dynamic for their help in executing this change quickly and efficiently.”
A large part of the decision to move venues is the vibrant disc golf scene in Charlotte, known worldwide as a disc golf mecca. Charlotte also boasts one of the strongest disc golf clubs in the world.
“The Charlotte Disc Golf Club and Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation are honored to host the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship,” said CDGC President Jim Banbury. “This is a great opportunity to showcase one of the sport's premier events for disc golf fans, our members and Charlotte, one of disc golf’s destination gems.”
The event will be held at Hornet’s Nest Park, the course where Paul McBeth captured his first PDGA world title. Hornet’s Nest is one of 18 courses that the 536-member Charlotte Disc Golf Club has built and maintains. It has been a featured course at four PDGA World Championships, the first being 33 years ago with temporary baskets in 1986, then as a permanent installation in 1997, 2012 and 2018.
Hornet’s Nest, an iconic wooded Carolinas course, has two layouts, the shorter of which is 6,534 feet, par 58. The longer layout, called “The Web,” is 9,015 feet, par 70, where a 1000-rated round is right about par. The final layout chosen for the Tour Championship will demand the best of the pros earning the right to play the DGPT Championship at this famed venue. The layout will be overseen by Jeremy Koling and John Houck, HouckDesign. Mr. Koling is a Charlotte native and seasoned touring professional disc golfer. With over 100 designs to his name, Mr. Houck is arguably the most prolific and experienced course designer in the world. They will work with CDGC Operations Director Mark Huether to make final adjustments.
Mr. Spring also noted “more than 40 of our 47 qualified players have committed to this date and location. We are also thankful to bring on the support of several other top disc golf brands to partner with us on this event, including Prodigy Disc, who has hosted the past two DGPT Championships with great results.”
The DGPT is excited to announce more partnerships in the coming weeks as enthusiasm for the new management team and the change of the Tour Championship venue garners support across the industry. That support has translated into a prize purse of $40,000 for the event, more than $30,000 of which is added cash.
Mr. Spring will be available for interviews throughout the week, beginning with an interview he has given to Ultiworld Disc Golf on this topic, see https://discgolf.ultiworld.com/ for more information. He will also make an appearance on Smashboxx’s Tuesday evening podcast, starting at 9 pm Central, tonight. For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact Jeff Spring at email@example.com.
The final round of the 2019 MVP Open at Maple Hill was one for the record books as the top five players were all in contention going into the day. At one point in time, four of the five players were in the hunt.
James Conrad dropped off early after a double-bogey on hole eight. With two more bogeys on holes eleven and twelve, he was out of contention for a repeat victory. That being said, James focused on giving the crowd a show. His highlight reel of the day came on hole seventeen when he carded the eagle two.
Racing to the top at one point were Joel Freeman and Simon Lizotte from the chase card. Simon Lizotte was tied for fifth place and spent most of the day tied or one-off the lead with Garrett Gurthie and Paul McBeth. Simon's run for the win came to an end with a bogey on hole sixteen. After going for the birdie on 18 and going OB Simon would finish in a tie with Joel Freeman.
Joel Freeman made his push from the chase card but was too far back to catch up in the race to the top. Instead, Joel was racing (and succeeding) at garnering a podium finish. Joel's -9 performance tied McBeth for the best round of the day. Joel carries the unique distinction of being the only player in the MPO field not to card a bogey during the final round. Joel came into the tournament 20th in Tour Standings and will be right around top ten in tour points with his finish this weekend.
In what faded away to a two-horse race for the win yesterday's leader Garrett Gurthie went head-to-head with 2019 World Champion Paul McBeth to see who could bring home the win. The two players traded shots back and forth all day. It ended up being Paul's birdies on seven, thirteen, and seventeen to Double G's pars that helped him bring home the win. This was Paul's second win at Maple Hill and his first since his 1121 rated final round in 2013.
McBeth will extend his tour points lead while Simon Lizotte will jump Discmania teammate Eagle McMahon in points standings. Garrett Gurthie will also jump McMahon and now be in fifth in Tour Standings going into the final event of the season. Make plans to watch the Green Mountain Championships on September 13-16th.
The MVP Open at Maple Hill is in the books for the FPO division, and there is now a 5x Champion.
Going into the day, Paige Pierce had a seven throw lead on the field. She would maintain her lead by carding a three-under round to close out the tournament. With a sizeable lead, she was looking to retain that space to the back nine and then set the cruise control to victory. Pierce came out of the back nine one over with none of the field pushing to catch her. She grabbed a string of birdies on fifteen through seventeen to finish strong and under par for the win. Paige did not win the event last year but had one the previous four years. Fresh off her 5x World Champion crown she is now a 5x Champion here at Maple Hill.
Moving up and into a tie for second place was Estonian national Kristin Tattar. This was Kristin's first DGPT event, and she showed that she has what it takes to compete with the top players in the field. As it is frequently lamented, it would be great to see international players compete more often as it is clear they are prepared to go toe-to-toe with our top professionals here in America. Kristin carded the hot round of the day finishing at four-under-par.
Kristin finished tied with Sarah Hokom who carded a bogey-free three-under-par to finish at -7 for the weekend. The only other player to card an under-par round today was Hokom's MVP teammate Elaine King who carded a three-under 58. Her three-under-par performance was enough to move her up six spots into a tie for fifth place. Elaine was ecstatic at her performance and expressed that she wished she had played better during round two, which could have led to a podium finish.
The next stop on the Disc Golf Pro Tour will be the Green Mountain Championship September 13-16th. With only one stop left on tour, it is time to start thinking about Tour Points Standings. While most of the players who are in the top fifteen will be maintaining, there will be some jockeying for position to determine who will have a bye into the semifinals. Make sure to check out Udisc Live to see where your favorite player is currently.
Saturday presented another perfect weather day at the MVP Open at Maple Hill, and the scores on the course reflected the weather. Several players made significant moves to put themselves in position for a top finish on Championship Sunday.
Thomas Gilbert and Andrew Marwede made moves early, carding six-under rounds to move up thirty-one spots into a tie for 20th place. Alex Russell was a little further down in the field, and his five-under performance moved him up forty spots into a tie for 50th place. The second hottest round of the day came from Calvin Heimburg. Calvin put together a nine-under near stunner to also move up forty spots and is now solidly in the hunt for a top ten finish. He credited his success to throwing clean off the tee, "I was throwing clean off the tee, better than yesterday, and gave myself birdie looks. I wasn't able to convert on some C2 putts, but I was able to stay clean and capitalize."
Calvin was upstaged though by his Florida counterpart Garrett Gurthie. Double G avoided trouble and put together a scorching twelve under par, 1101 rated round. Garrett avoided OB and bogeys and was able to move up eighteen spots and his way into first place with his performance today. Post-round Garrett said he felt like this was the best round he had ever played. He indicated a few others had come close, but this round definitely felt like the best. He said, "I knew once I hit the gap on 16 I was home free." Garrett chalked up his success to the many years he had played at the course, "This is like my 8th MVP Open." Knowing that James Conrad had to birdie out to tie him for the lead Garrett was excited to be starting at the top of the card going into the final round tomorrow.
Also joining the lead card tomorrow will be 2018 World Champion Gregg Barsby. Barsby spent all day battling with semi-local Pro Simon Lizotte for who would take the final spot on the lead card going into Championship Sunday. Ultimately the two players would finish tied at the end of the round with the fourth spot on the lead card going to Barsby with the tie based on who carded the hot round.
James Conrad was able to hold steady today even with bogeys on holes six, nine, and fourteen to stay within a few throws of being able to defend his title. James finishes the day two throws back from the lead and well within striking distance.
Paul McBeth will round out the lead card tomorrow after going 5-for-5 on the last five holes of the course. McBeth's only miscues came on holes eight and nine where he went OB on both holes and was unable to scramble to save par. McBeth's nine-under round tied Heimburg for the second hottest round of the day. He did all of this only netting 17% from C2. Paul clearly has more left in the tank and is sitting only one throw back from the lead.
It is shaping up to be an exciting finish at the MVP Open at Maple Hill. Make plans to tune in tomorrow starting at 3:30 PM ET to watch the lead card live with Garrett Gurthie, Paul McBeth, James Conrad, and Gregg Barsby.
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