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Jonesboro Open MPO Preview: Will Eagle Soar Above a Crowded Field?

The Pro Tour is back Tomorrow! In less than 24 hours the top pros will be stepping on to the tee box at Disc Side of Heaven for the 2018 Jonesboro Open Presented
by Prodiscus. This being only the second year for this event it’s a little bit harder to say who the favorite is in Arkansas. In my opinion that makes Jonesboro the perfect stop for the next chapter in this years MPO story. We are seeing a jumble of new names at the top of the biggest tournaments and usually dominant players are struggling to find their stride. It’s too early in the year to call 2018 a new era of competition but for now, personally, I’m starting to wonder if the McBeth vs. Wysocki battle of the last handful of years may be coming to a close. So, let’s dig into the details.
Looking back at last year we have to start with Ricky. After three rounds rated over 1050, in the final round, Wysocki seemingly lost his putt right from the start and it haunted him the whole day. By the back nine, Lizotte and McCray were charging and had reduced Ricky’s nine-throw lead to five. By the end of the day Wysocki would emerge as the champion, but only after pretty much giving seven throws to Simon. Despite the rough close to the event last year, Ricky wouldn’t be a bad prediction for 2018. Ricky and Simon were the only two players to throw the hot round of the week, a smoking hot 1071 rated, thirteen down. But Ricky hasn’t quite found his stride in 2018, he’s yet to win a top-tier event. After a couple, truly impressive seasons has Wysocki grown complacent at the top? We still have plenty of the 2018 season to find out.
So what about Lizotte and McCray this week. If you haven’t already heard, Simon has withdrawn from the event due to a back injury, you can read more about that here . As for McCray, expect to see him on the course. For a more detailed look at his performance last year, take a look at Seth Fendley’s super informative Stat of the Week article . With Lizotte out and Ricky looking to be not in top form, McCray could be a good bet at Jonesboro this week. He placed 24 th at the Memorial, but built up solid momentum at WACO, finishing fourth. Off the Pro Tour, he has picked up one C-Tier win and one B-Tier win. Although those tournaments don’t tend to offer the same level of competition, a win is still good for the competitive fire and despite his age, John E has never seemed to lose that passion for the game or the flame for competition. Currently, he is 9 th in the Pro Tour Points Standing.
Outside of last year’s top three finishers, there are a few more names worth watching. James Conrad finished 6 th at the Jonesboro Open last year and has had a solid season. He is ranked 8 th in Pro Tour Points and even picked up a nice A-Tier win over a number of top pros, including beating Ricky by five throws. His season is shaping up nicely already and a DGPT victory would be a great badge to add to the mix.
Paul McBeth hasn’t had the same dominating season we’re used to seeing from him but he’s far from out of the mix. He took second at the Wintertime Open, seventh at the Las Vegas Challenge, fifth at the memorial and third at WACO. McBeth also just picked up his first win of the season down in Florida at Throw Down the Mountain. He’s been in the top ten at every event this year and coming off a win in Florida you can’t count McBeast out!
And last but not least, Eagle McMahon is returning to the Pro Tour after skipping WACO. His season may be the best of any top pro thus far. Eagle has finished in the top three at every event he has played this year. The guy can’t even legally order a drink in the US yet but he just collected his first NT victory at the Las Vegas Challenge. He followed that up by not only accurately predicting that Simon Lizotte would win the Memorial but finishing in second, only three throws behind the other half of the crush boys. As if that weren’t enough, he went up to Colorado and threw a mind-boggling 17 under par to start off the St. Patty’s Meltdown, which he then proceeded to win by a 14 throw margin over Joe Rovere, a true Rocky Mountain disc golf legend. Stepping up to one of the longest courses of the season, with his game obviously at the best it’s ever been, my pick for this week has to be Eagle McMahon. Who knows, maybe this is the year of the Eagle?
Alright, enough talking about disc golf when we’re so close to watching that sweet, sweet live action again. As always, you can catch that live coverage starting at 4 PM EST every day , Friday through Saturday this weekend. And don’t forget to check back here every night for daily recaps. Until then, what are you doing looking at a screen right now? Get out there and play!