2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship MPO Finals Recap: The DGPT Crowns its first back-to-back ChampionRead Now
The final day of the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship is always bittersweet. It is exciting as the opportunity to crown another champion unfolds on the course, but for the players and fans of the game, it represents the end of the Pro season. This year was no different. Going into the round, Chris Dickerson was a favorite to repeat, as he had gone through all four rounds of competition just like last year to make it to the lead card. Calvin Heimberg was also a player who many thought had a shot at winning due to his recent success at Hall of Fame. Drew Gibson and Kevin Jones represented wild cards of sorts. Drew Gibson had made his way from the quarterfinals round, his entrance to the Pro Tour Championship bolstered by his playoff victory at Portland. Kevin Jones had been in the hunt all season but had dropped off at the last few events. Coming in from the semifinals round, there was not much game film of Kevin to know if he would be in the mix.
Chris Dickerson and Calvin Heimburg would jump out to an early lead with Kevin Jones taking a bogey on the first hole and Drew Gibson taking pars for the first four holes. It was clear that both Drew and Kevin were playing the course, gunning to take a birdie when available but making pars to avoid any big numbers. Drew would be the first to fold, he carded an OB double-bogey six on hole five, three-putting from inside C1. While it was not over for Drew, he would need a significant come-back to make it into the mix. Kevin would not find his first birdie until hole seven, and this would prove to be too little, too late. By hole seven, Chris and Calvin were both four-under-par giving them a four throw and five throw advantage over Kevin and Drew.
On eight and nine, Calvin would grab two more birdies while Chris settled for par. Going into the back-nine with a two throw advantage, Calvin looked to be pulling away from the field. Calvin would grab another throw on Chris on hole eleven to move to a three-throw lead. Hole twelve is where the tide began to turn, though. Calvin would bogey, and Chris would birdie. A two throw swing. Chris was now back within one throw. Calvin and Chris both bogeyed hole fourteen. Briefly, Kevin had a longshot at a push to be in the mix again, but he would need to birdie out, and the other two would need to falter.
On holes fifteen and sixteen, Chris Dickerson would card birdies, Calvin would settle for pars, and Kevin Jones would take a par and a bogey. Kevin would then be in a battle for third place as Drew Gibson moved within one. Calvin would surrender his lead to Chris Dickerson. For the first time in the tournament, with two holes left, Chris Dickerson had the lead. In the battle for third, Drew Gibson took a birdie on seventeen with a sixty-foot birdie to tie Kevin going into eighteen. Calvin Heimburg snagged a fifty-foot birdie to tie Chris Dickerson for the lead.
In dramatic fashion, the entire Championship came down to 18. Drew Gibson was first off the box; and he unleashed a thrilling rip that blew past the basket and went OB. Calvin was next, ripping a fairway drive on a good line with enough power to cause the disc not to hyzer out of it's glide, coming up just short right, about 40 feet out. Having just made a C2 putt on seventeen, could he do it again? Chris Dickerson followed Calvin with what was the shot of the tournament, putting a beautiful full flight on a fairway driver on nearly 500 ft hole, and skipping up to the basket about 14 feet to the left. Kevin Jones rounded out the foursome with his drive coming up just short of Calvin's. First to putt, Kevin drained it from fifty feet securing third place. Heimburg is next, the fate of the event in his hand, with a 35-foot putt to force a playoff. A great offering splashes out strong side right leaving a Chris Dickerson with a easy putt to become your 2019 and back-to-back Disc Golf Pro Tour Champion!
It has been an exciting season of disc golf here on the Pro Tour. We want to thank everyone for following along and supporting the pros as well as the DGPT! We are looking forward to 2020 and even more exciting finishes.
The 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour is int he books for the FPO division, and we had to go to a playoff to determine our Champion. The day started with Paige Pierce, Catrina Allen, Sarah Hokom, and Rebecca Cox, all with an equal shot at bringing home the Tour Championship Title. Rebecca Cox came in as the short-term favorite carding the hot round yesterday in semifinals. Sarah Hokom came in as the pre-event favorite after winning the previous two events on tour. With the players who finished first and second in tour points on the card, it was set to be a great day.
Out of the gate, the card had a two throw lead on Catrina Allen as they took birdies to her bogey. Hokom would then have a four-throw lead on Catrina Allen after the second hole with Allen taking another bogey and Hokom her second birdie. Catrina would gain one throw back to be within three going into the back-nine.
While Allen and Hokom represented the disparity early, Pierce and Cox were trying their best to stay in the running. Cox was keeping things together until hole seven, where she took a double-bogey. This would drop her to two over par, tied with Pierce for third going into the back-nine. Cox was able to finish out the day one-over-par with a birdie and a bogey on the back-nine shooting even par. Pierce would look to get back on track with back-to-back birdies on ten and eleven, but a double-bogey seven on thirteen was pretty much enough to put her out of contention.
The story of the day was with Catrina Allen and Sarah Hokom. Being one-under-par going into the back-nine Hokom had a two-throw lead over the field. She opted to play par-golf through the woods, challenging the rest of the card to come after her. Catrina Allen would be the one to challenge. Allen's run started with an eagle on hole thirteen and then a birdie on fourteen. She would wipe out two of the throws she gained back with a double-bogey on fifteen. She would then grab two more birdies on sixteen and seventeen all the while Hokom was taking pars. Then on seventeen Hokom ended up with a bogey. A two-throw swing. A tie. On hole eighteen Catrina would have a look at birdie, she hit front cage. Playoff.
The playoff is set to be 1-18 repeating. It would only take one hole. Both players hit the same tree on their drive. Catrina's would land in the middle of the fairway. Hokom's would bounce left giving her a rough position for an upshot. Catrina would throw first, her upshot bounced and nearly landed in the basket. She was parked for the three. Hokom's upshot would leave her about 20ft short through the trees. She was unable to convert. Catrina Allen became the first player to win the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship twice. Allen won the first year in 2016 and this year needed one playoff hole to seal the victory.
The steepest cut in disc golf is in the books, and four players are set to play for the Tour Championship title tomorrow. Today began with sixteen players, all hoping to be playing for the opportunity to be the 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Champion. With eight players coming into the day playing their first competitive round on Hornet's Nest, it becomes a battle of experience vs. freshness. Some players were on their third round in two days, and it became an endurance race to see who can put up a round worthy of advancing.
The first card of the day featured players who had been playing since the qualifying round. Paul Oman, Zach Melton, Colten Montgomery, and Michael Johansen were all hoping that they could use their experience to conjure up a finals round appearance. Oman and Melton would be the first players to show cracks in their game plan, taking a double-bogey and bogey, respectively, on hole four. Melton would land a few more birdies to help get back on track but ultimately came up short with only a three-under performance. Oman would struggle to get back on pace and finished the day even par, one position away from the bottom. Colten Montgomery gave it more of a shot playing consistent golf until two bogeys on twelve and thirteen. Without those bogeys, he would have finished seven-under, which would have been just shy of making the finals round. Michael Johansen rounded out the card, and many thought the local pro would have a shot at winning the event. However, it would come down to tour points, and his 42nd position would not be enough to help him break the tie. MJ only had one uncharacteristic hole today when he took a double-bogey on the hole two island, going OB on his drive and then two-putting inside C1. While he would go on to make nine birdies in his round, a seven-under-par would not be enough to guarantee a spot in the finals. In the case of card one, experience on the course did not pay off as none of the four were able to make the finals.
The second card of the day featuring the rest of the players who played yesterday faired slightly better. This card featured two players who had two rounds under their belts, and two with only one. One of each advanced to the finals round today. Missing the cut were Philo Brathwaite and Nate Perkins. Philo started with back-to-back birdies and looked poised for success until he carded a bogey and double-bogey on holes three and four. Philo would be unable to card a consistent round and finished his day one-under-par, six back of the line to advance. Nate Perkins only played one round yesterday and was the eighth person to advance winning the tie-breaker yesterday based on Tour Standings with a four-under-par performance. Today Nate would struggle to put together a hot round and sandwiched all of his birdies between bogeys and finished five-off the advancing mark. However, Drew Gibson and Chris Dickerson were both able to advance today with solid nine-under-par performances. Yesterday Philo set the tone with a ten-under-par performance hot round, so Drew and Chris's rounds were not the best of the weekend so far, but they were not far off. Chris was able to card his nine-under going bogey-free on the day. Drew took a slightly more challenging route, carding bogeys on twelve and sixteen and using two of his eleven birdies to offset those. Both will be favorites to win tomorrow based on their solid performances across both days.
The third card of the day featured Adam Hammes, Calvin Heimburg, Chris Clemons, and Alex Russell. There were several players on this card who were favorites to advance to the finals round based on recent performances. Still, ultimately, only two players would play well enough to advance, and only one would be able to based on a tie and tie-breaker. Chris Clemons played a great front-nine today, but was unable to find birdies on the back-nine and had a double-bogey on seventeen that took him out of contention. Adam Hammes put together plenty of birdies for today, but four bogeys on holes five, ten, thirteen, and eighteen ended up costing him a shot at advancing.
The players who did have a shot at advancing were Alex Russell and Calvin Heimburg. Alex Russell started the day with a bogey but recovered quickly with four birdies in a row. However, eight birdies would not be enough to garner Alex a berth in the finals round tomorrow. Calvin Heimburg, who finished two spots ahead of Alex Russell in Tour Standings, was able to advance today on the tie-breaker over Alex and Michael Johansen. Calvin did have one blemish on the day, a bogey on the par-four hole eleven, but his eight birdies were enough for him to eek by into the finals.
The final card of the day featured the top players in the Tour Championship field. Simon Lizotte, Kevin Jones, Garrett Gurthie, and James Conrad looked like a card poised to be repeated on the finals round tomorrow. Still, ultimately, only one player would barely make it to tomorrow's round. James Conrad was playing catch-up early after taking double-bogeys on holes one and two. He would end up only getting three birdies on the day, while carding four more bogeys and a double-bogey to finish seven over par. Simon Lizotte also struggled early and bookended his birdie run with two bogeys towards the beginning and end of his round. He would finish one-under-par. Garrett Gurthie was in contention all day but was unable to convert enough birdies to advance to the finals round. Gurthie had one bogey on hole three, and had he pared he would have beat out Calvin Heimburg for the last spot in the finals round. Kevin Jones was able to keep together a good front nine and used a birdie on fifteen to offset his bogey on fourteen to finish seven-under-par. Thanks to Kevin's fourth-place Tour Standings, he was able to win the seven-under-par tie-breaker to advance to the finals round.
It is going to be an exciting finals round for the 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship. Drew Gibson, Chris Dickerson, Kevin Jones, and Calvin Heimburg will all be gunning for their shot at a Tour Championship title. Will experience reign supreme for Chris Dickerson, or will another player be able to unseat him? Tune in at 3 PM ET tomorrow to watch live!
The morning round is in the books, and we have four players headed to the final round of the 2019 Tour Championship. The FPO division has been the closer race, with the players not seeing much parity in scoring on the challenging Hornet's Nest layout.
The first card of the day featured the players who advanced from the quarterfinals round. That card included Holly Finley, Lisa Fajkus, Paige Bjerkaas, and Hailey King. Hailey King and Paige Bjerkaas struggled to put together advancing rounds. Hailey started the day with a birdie but was unable to find the blue marks on Udisc after the first hole. She would end up finishing her Pro Tour season with a nine-over par. Paige Bjerkaas was able to advance yesterday as part of the four-way tie that was broken based on Tour Standings but was unable to get a hot round going. A string of bogeys on holes eight through eleven proved too challenging to overcome, and Bjerkaas will finish the season in the semifinals round of the Tour Championship. Lisa Fajkus and Holly Finley finished at four over par and had a shot at making the finals round tomorrow. They watched as the other semifinals feature card had five more holes to play hoping for a player or two to end up five over. Ultimately, this would not happen.
After some close play, all four players who had a bye to the semifinals moved on to the final round of the Tour Championship. The story of the day was Rebecca Cox who injured herself before the Hall of Fame classic and was able to play it safe for the week leading up to the event to be healthy enough to play this weekend. With a contingent of Cincinatti fans behind her she was able to put together what is currently tied for the hot round of the weekend. Playing three-under-par on the back-nine she was able to recover from some bogeys early to finish the day one-under-par.
Paige Pierce was able to finish even par after taking a triple-bogey on hole five. She carded an eagle on thirteen and was able to propel that into an even par round. Sarah Hokom had the third-best round today, she also carded a triple-bogey one hole before Pierce on hole four. She then put in work to recover and finished at three-over-par. Rounding out the players with a semifinals bye was Catrina Allen. Catrina would finish four-over par and her Tour Standings helped her break the tie with Lisa Fajkus and Holly Finley to advance to the finals tomorrow.
The final round tomorrow will begin at 10 AM ET for the FPO division. Make plans to tune in and watch live or in person.
The first day of the 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship is in the books, and the MPO players are geared up to play the grueling semifinals round tomorrow. Tomorrow the field will go from sixteen to four and the competition could not be closer.
The first card of the quarterfinals round featured Matt Dollar, Zach Melton, Paul Oman, and Michael Johansen. These players were the lowest in Tour Points Standings going into the quarterfinals round and all, but one of them advanced into the semifinals. Paul Oman, 51st in Tour Standings, Zach Melton, 44th in Tour Standings, Michael Johansen, 42nd in Tour Standings, all three played two rounds today, and all three will be making their way to semifinals tomorrow. These players are all playing the Tour Championship because others were unable to attend, now they are guaranteed a substantial paycheck due to their performance today. Michael Johansen indicated earlier this week during practice that he has played well over 10,000 rounds on this course. It shows through his consistent under-par performance today. Zach Melton and Paul Oman are both known for their woods golf skills, and Oman commented after the round today that Hornets Nest really suits his game. All three players will be playing at 12:30 PM ET tomorrow, joined by one player from the second card.
The second card for the quarterfinals round today included Colten Montgomery, Chris Dickerson, Philo Brathwaite, and Brian Earhart. Yet again, three of the players from this card will move on to semifinals. Colten Montgomery will round out the 12:30 PM ET card based on his Tour Standings finish. Chris Dickerson and Philo Brathwaite will join the other two players advancing from the quarterfinals round on the 12:50 PM ET card.
The third and fourth card for quarterfinals today featured players who had been able to secure a bye to the quarterfinals based on their Tour Standings. These players played their first round of the tournament this afternoon, for six of them, it was their only round. Only one player from the third and fourth cards advanced. Nate Perkins advanced from the third card on the Tour Points tie-breaker with Big Jerm coming up on the short end of the tie-breaking decision. On the fourth card, Drew Gibson was able to card a seven-under performance to advance.
Tomorrow will also feature two cards of semifinal players who earned a bye based on their top performances across the season. These players will be playing their first competitive round of the Tour Championship and will be looking to cool down the hot hands of those players who played two rounds today to advance to the second day of competition.
At 1:10 PM ET will be Calvin Heimburg, Adam Hammes, Alex Russell, and Chris Clemons. At 1:30 PM ET will be Simon Lizotte, Kevin Jones, Garret Gurthie, and James Conrad. We will be live at 1:30 PM ET with coverage bouncing around each card, so make plans to tune in and watch live!
On the challenging Hornet's Nest Tour Championship layout players had to put in work today to advance to this afternoon's quarterfinals round.
The first card out of the gates this morning featured Paul Oman, Matt Dollar, Cameron Messerschmidt, and Lance Brown. Lance Brown made it into the tournament last night after Nikko Locastro informed the tournament that he would not be able to make it to the event. While Lance had a fortuitous opportunity, he was unable to capitalize and finished his round plus one. Cameron Messerschmidt put forth a valiant effort to try and advance to the quarterfinals but ended up one short finishing one under par. The two players who were able to advance from the first card were Paul Oman and Matt Dollar. Paul Oman leads the first card with a three-under sixty. Matt Dollar is right behind him with a two-under-par.
The second card this morning included JohnE McCray, Michael Johansen, Zach Melton, and Sam Lee. Just like the first card, two players advanced to quarterfinals, and two missed the cut. Missing the cut were JohnE McCray and Sam Lee with an even-par round. Carding the hot round of day one was Michael Johansen. Michael finished seven-under on the round, and if last year was any indicator, with Chris Dickerson shooting hot rounds each round, Michael might be in a position to make a run to the finals. A little bit of hometown good vibes could give him an extra boost as well. Zach Melton is also able to advance with a four-under-par.
On the third card, this morning was Colten Montgomery, Grady Shue, Andrew Marwede, and Trevor Harbolt. Only Colten will advance from this card, as he was the only player to finish under par on his card. He finished with a respectable five-under-par. Andrew Marwede would finish one-over-par, Trevor Harbolt finished three over par, and having a difficult go of it early, Grady Shue finished eight over par after going double-bogey on the first two holes and bogey on the third hole.
Rounding out the first round of competition was Philo Brathwaite, Eric Oakley, Chris Dickerson, and Brian Earhart. All but one of the players from the top card will be playing this afternoon as Chris Dickerson finished six-under-par, and Brian and Philo finished two-under-par.
Paul Oman, Matt Dollar, Zach Melton, and Michael Johansen will be on the 2 PM ET card for quarterfinals. Philo Brathwaite, Colten Montgomery, Brian Earhart, and Chris Dickerson will be on the 2:20 PM ET quarterfinals card. They will join the players who had a bye to the quarters, which include Andrew Presnell, Nate Perkins, Jeremy Koling, and Nathan Queen at 2:40 PM ET is filmed by Jomez Pro. The 3 PM ET card of Joel Freeman, Austin Hannum, Reid Frescura, and Drew Gibson will be broadcast live, so tune in and watch!
It’s been both a long and short journey to arrive at this year’s DGPT Championship. After a dynamic year of challenges and change, the Disc Golf Pro Tour is set up to bring the season strong with it’s first-ever Tour Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The event will take place on the legendary Hornet’s Nest course site of the 2012 combined Pro & Am World Championships and the 2018 Am World Championships. However, the layout that this elite group of professionals will be playing is going to be a new one.
When selecting this site for the Tour Championship, one of the most significant benefits was the strength of the Charlotte Disc Golf Club. Lead by President Jim Banbury, event confirmation and preparation started very strong. It was clear from the get-go that the course needed some alteration from its 2018 layout for AM Worlds, and work began immediately to get the final design in shape to challenge the top pros in the world.
The DGPT brought together a broad range of experts to finalize the layout. The base for all the alterations came from John Houck, HouckDesign. John flew in for a four-day visit, where he recommended a list of changes that the team could complete. Charlotte Disc Golf Club Operations Director Mark Huether took it from there, implementing many of John’s recommendations immediately.
The DGPT then brought in some touring pros for consultation. Charlotte native Jeremy Koling gave his time and insight to help ensure a set up that would provide appropriate challenge for the MPO field, with Steve Brinster, of Brinster Design, spending a day on the course giving insight as well. Madison Walker then came on board to consult on the FPO layout, which features four different tees and eight different baskets for the women.
Mark Huether also activated the volunteer power of the Charlotte Disc Golf Club, leading over five different workdays to clear new greens and fairways, install four brand new tees, and set thirteen new basket placements. Volunteer Coordinator, Dave George, was instrumental in this effort as well. All in all, the course remains the Hornets Nest that locals know and love but juiced up to challenge the best disc golfers in the sport.
While many of Houck’s changes were able to be implemented, there was limited time to install all recommendations. That said, there will be a chance to continue the development of the Gold Level Hornets Nest Layout with the Tour Championship returning to Charlotte for 2020. For now, it will be a thrill to watch the Tour Championship unfold on this well-loved track, with a new school layout!
EVENT FORMAT & FIELD
The Tour Championship is built to highlight the best in our sport, bringing together players who had top performances across a series of events during the regular season. The Championship features the top 32 men and top 16 women from 10 regular-season tour stops. Players drop their three worst performances to help create an equitable field for players who cannot make every event. The Championship is then flighted based on tour ranking with players moving through a qualifying, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals round.
This year features three changes to the format. First, cards are determined simply by Tour Standing. Players 1-4 play together, 5-8 play together, and on down the line. The card selection change matches an advancing change, which is that in the semifinals round, players with the four best scores will advance. This change removes the need to win your card to advance. The final change comes in the removal of the wildcard player in the finals round. With the top four scores advancing, there is no longer a need to highlight a player who may have carded a hot round but not be able to move to the finals due to someone finishing even better on the round. Ties in the qualifying, quarters, and semifinals round are broken based on Tour Standing. A tie for first in the finals round will lead to a play-off.
HOW TO WATCH
Each round of the Tour Championship is broadcast live on the Disc Golf Pro Tour YouTube channel, starting with the qualifying round for MPO. The 9 AM card featuring Philo Brathwaite, Nikko Locastro, Chris Dickerson, and Eric Oakley is the live card. The 8:40 AM round is post-produced by CCDG and features Brian Earhart, Andrew Marwede, Colten Montgomery, and Grady Shue. On the FPO side, the 10 AM card is broadcast live, meaning there will be MPO and FPO coverage coming at you in the same stream on day one. The 10 AM card features Jessica Weese, Lisa Fajkus, Paige Bjerkaas, and Hailey King.
The afternoon will feature the quarterfinals round for MPO and will include a new stream for the 3 PM live card of Joel Freeman, Austin Hannum, Reid Frescura, and Drew Gibson. Jomez Pro will be providing post-produced coverage of the 2:40 PM card, which features Andrew Presnell, Nate Perkins, Jeremy Koling, and Nathan Queen.
On Saturday, the MPO and FPO divisions will have the semifinals rounds. The 10 AM round will be broadcast live and post-produced. It will include Paige Pierce, Catrina Allen, Sarah Hokom, and Rebecca Cox. Central Coast will be covering the 2:40 PM card, which will consist of Calvin Heimburg, Adam Hammes, Alex Russell, and Chris Clemons. Jomez Pro will cover the 3 PM card and include Simon Lizotte, Kevin Jones, Garrett Gurthie, and James Conrad. The live coverage is designated to start with the 3 PM card, but there are plans to send cameras to the cards where players are playing well.
Sunday will bring the final round of each division with the FPO round starting at 10 AM being broadcast live and post-produced by Central Coast. The MPO round will be broadcast live at 3 PM and post-produced by Jomez Pro.
It is going to be an exciting weekend in Charlotte, NC. Make plans now, so you do not miss out on the action! We have spectator packages available for purchase in the DGPT Store if you are planning on watching the event in person. If you are planning on watching online make sure you are subscribed to the DGPT YouTube Channel, Jomez Pro, Central Coast Disc Golf, and Gatekeeper Media to be notified when videos are posted.
**All times are Eastern
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.
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.
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.
The Disc Golf Pro Tour is proud to announce the location of the 2019 Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship as well as a new title sponsor for the event. The Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship will take place on October 31-November 3rd in Emporia, Kansas. The Championship will take place on the famed Jones Gold course, a 10,000ft plus merging of the Jones East and West courses. In talking about the course, Course Designer, World Champion, and Emporia Local, Eric McCabe said: "Jones Gold is one of my favorite courses I've designed. It's a combination of Jones East and Jones West Par 70 that measures in over 10,000 feet. I've been a strong advocate of utilizing this course during Glass Blown Open, but to do so, we'd lose two excellent courses. We did play a similar layout at the 2012 GBO before we needed additional courses for the 1600+ Players coming to town. The new, revised Jones Gold is by far the best test for these guys and gals. Distance helps, but pinpoint accuracy and hitting your putts is what will lead you to victory."
A move to Emporia, Kansas means a new presenting sponsor for the Pro Tour Championship as well. Dynamic Discs has stepped in as the presenting sponsor of the event. Events Coordinator Doug Bjerkaas had the following to say about DD hosting the event: "Emporia is so excited to host a showcase of the world's best disc golfers. The DGPT finals are unlike any other event that Dynamic Discs has hosted. We are up for the challenge of delivering an experience that will exceed both the players and the fans' expectations. Our efforts will be focused on not only preparing a great course for the competitors to test their disc golf skills but promoting the event to spectators to come to Emporia and witness the event live!"
Tour Director Steve Dodge offered the following comments regarding this year's location and the decision process: "The Pro Tour is excited to be partnering with Dynamic Discs and bringing the Tour Championship to Emporia. The Jones Gold course is one of the gems of Emporia that is not seen during the annual trek to GBO. It will be awesome to see the best in the world competing for the title and showcasing another amazing Eric McCabe designed course."
When considering the technicality of the Jones Gold Course and how it will showcase players' skills in a Championship fashion McCabe offered the following breakdown of holes one and eighteen: "Hole number 1 starts off BIG. We start on Jones East hole 9 and plays to hole 11, the famous Billy Engle ACE hole. The Tee shot on this hole is the most crucial, you must clear the first few Cedar trees and get far enough down the fairway to have a clear look at your second shot. Your next shot plays uphill with OB Road on the left, and Pond on the right. The fairway also slopes from left to right making the distance deceiving. We will most likely see a couple of eagles on this hole, as well as a handful of bogeys. Hole number 18 is just as challenging as the starting hole. We're playing Jones East hole 7, to hole 8. MPO this hole is going to play as a Par 4 while the FPO plays as a Par 5. Once again, the Tee shot on this hole is the most crucial. You really want to be as close to the regular course, hole 8's tee pad to attack this hole. From there you'll have to clear around 275' of OB tall grass. We'll see quite a few birdies on this finishing hole, but if your tee shot is too far left your only option will be to pitch out of the group of Pines."
Besides a passion for disc golf, Emporia is known for the weather players deal with while on the course. Doug Bjerkaas offered a ray of sunshine regarding the weather: "The average high temperature in Emporia at the beginning of November is 63°. The average low temperature is 42°. With DGPT final rounds scheduled in the middle of the day, the fall Kansas weather should be fantastic for testing the talents of the best disc golfers in the world! Worried about rain? While we can make no guarantees, the beginning of November has historically seen an 83% chance of having no precipitation...one of the least likely times of the year for rain!"
The process of choosing a site for the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship took longer than anticipated this season. The decision was prolonged due to a variety of excellent course and host options, which made it challenging to decide. The Disc Golf Pro Tour would like to thank the other locations and organizations which submitted bids to host this year's tour championship. With options in both Pennsylvania and Texas, there was a breadth of areas competing to be the host. The Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship presented by Dynamic Discs will take place on October 31st through November 3rd. Make plans to tune in and watch!
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