Live Broadcasts on YouTube and more. With special thanks to Dynamic Discs, the Portland Open presented by Bevel Brewing and Discraft will be available on more live streaming platforms than any live broadcast in the history of disc golf.
The live broadcast will be available on YouTube as well as DiscGolfNetwork.tv, Roku, AppleTV, FireTV, and Chromecast. While the OTT outlets make it very easy to watch on the big screen, we are happy to work with Dynamic Discs to make the YouTube broadcast possible again as well.
So if you love watching live disc golf on YouTube, go buy a DD disc and feel confident about the purchase because its a DD disc. And if you want a different disc, their Buy Back Program has you covered.
Get ready to watch one of the most exciting events of the season! Blue Lake Park is gorgeous, challenging, and ready for game time. Are you? It's time to watch!
Paige Pierce may still be the highest rated player in the Open Women division, but Catrina Allen is on an absolute tear. Her play at the last few events may even be enough to close the ratings gap between these two, but we'll just have to wait and see. That's interesting and all but how do you write a preview about a new event on the tour? Well, we'll take a look at the top players' seasons and take a trip back in time to the 2014 PDGA Worlds. There are currently 20 women signed up for the event and all of the names you'd expect to be there are on that list. And if you compare the 2019 Pro Tour Standings Top Ten to the Registration for the Portland Open you’ll see that everyone except Paige Bjerkaas will be in attendance.
With four events in the books and six to go, Discraft’s Portland Open will round out the figurative front nine of our season. As it is on the course, taking a look at the scorecard halfway through is a helpful habit. It’ll come as no surprise to any well-informed fan that Catrina Allen and Paige Pierce are the current owners of the #1 and #2 spots respectively. What’s a little surprising to me is just how far ahead they are compared to the rest of the field. Paige Bjerkaas, currently in third should, ostensibly, have the best chance at catching the two experienced phenoms but she’s actually almost a full 100 points behind Catrina. That’s not an easy deficit to overcome, it’s like being down by 9 with 9 to go. Sure, it’s possible, but when you’re trailing by as many as you have left to play, it doesn’t matter how well you play, your competition is going to have to make some mistakes.
Catrina Allen and Paige Pierce didn’t make it to their legendary statuses without a few mistakes along the way. Sure Catrina stumbled behind Paige for a season or two. And yes, you could say Paige has struggled to find her stride in 2019. But it’s all relative and that’s what the leaderboard shows us. But 84.5 Tour Points behind Paige there is staunch competition for third. As of right now, Paige Bjerkaas, Rebecca Cox, Sarah Hokom, and Jessica Weese are all within 15 Tour Points of one another. Now that’s more like being separated by one on the last hole, this could totally happen. You can rest assured it will. Don't be surprised to see a rearrangement of those four after this next event. If only because she will be missing this one, while the other three will all be gaining so long as they finish the event, Bjerkaas will likely fall temporarily behind….to another close collection.
While the six players I’ve mentioned already have played all four events, the four player’s rounding out the top 10 (with the exception of Kona Star Panis) have only played three. Madison Walker, Vanessa Van Dyken, Kona Star Panis, and Callie McMorran are all within 20 of one another and a firm reminder to the battle for third ahead that the only thing separating them is one event. And that’s totally fine, a player’s Pro Tour standing at the end of the season doesn’t expect players to play all 10, and if they do they get to drop some of their worse showings, two to be precise. So while catching the likes of Allen and Pierce is unlikely without them slipping, that tangle for third will look a bit messier the closer we get to the end of the season.
But enough about the season already, what’s going to happen this weekend? Well, honestly, I don’t know. In fact, I have very little to go on except how their seasons are going. The last time we have any recorded rounds from a touring pro field at Blue Lake Disc Golf Course was the 2014 Worlds…where Catrina won by two over Pierce after six full rounds, semi-finals, and a finals. Dang, Worlds used to be so long! Not only did Catrina beat out a 40 player field for the title, but she also started it off with a hot round at, you guessed it, Blue Lake Disc Golf Course. Sadly, as is true of many herstorical FPO rounds, there is no footage of that round! And it’s the only round they played at Blue Lake, and it was on the short tees. This time around, they will play 13 holes from the Blue Lake longs, and 5 holes from the shorts. They’ll also play holes 7 & 14 (traditionally par 4s) as a par 5s. Despite all those changes, after you do the math, they will still be playing a monstrously long par 66 track three days in a row. Predictably, that will favor our season leaders, Allen and Pierce.
But don’t count out the likes of Sarah Hokom though. We can’t overlook her 2013 US Women’s Disc Golf Championship win played here on Blue Lake. She bested Catrina by only two throws after four laps. But of course, as you might have guessed, there’s no easy to find footage of that either. Hokom won the 2019 Pro Tour Season and Tour Championship last year, so she’s all but due for her first win against the full touring field. What better place to do just that than the site of your first USWDGC victory?
It’s easy to get in the mentality that the only game worth following is the best game around. I encourage you to think out of that spectator box though. Allen and Pierce’s battle this weekend will be a brilliant display of fireworks, no doubt, but don’t let those bright lights blind you from the rest of the awesome golf being played. The FPO division is swelling, and while few have been able to hang out with the legends for long as of yet, that time is quickly coming to a close. I don’t know much about statistics, but my intuitive emotions based read on the FPO skill level bell curve says we’re going to see yesterday’s outliers become the new normal sooner than you might think. Who knows, it all could all start right here at Discraft’s Portland Open this weekend. Don’t miss a minute!
This article written by Staff Editor & Writer Zach Podhorzer.
The 2019 Portland Open presented by Bevel Craft Brewing is nearly upon us! This three round Disc Golf Pro Tour event is being held at Blue Lake Regional Park on their championship disc golf course from Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 27 and will feature some of the best professional men and women disc golfers in the world! The Portland Open has been supported by Portland’s local Stumptown Disc Golf Club who have helped with preparation and volunteer support for the event.
The last event of this caliber that was played at the Blue Lake Disc Golf Course was the 2014 PDGA Pro World Championship. Famed for a stunning finish that featured Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki battling for five playoff holes to determine a World Champion, the 2014 World saw over 2,500 spectators taking in the disc golf action. There is bound to be great spectating and high drama on the course this weekend as well and the event is free for spectators to watch. There is a $5 parking fee at Blue Lake Regional Park which is maintained by Metro, another great partner of both the event and the Stumptown Disc Golf Club.
BEVEL CRAFT BREWING
The Portland Open is being supported by both Discraft and Bevel Craft Brewing. Bevel is a new brewery out of Bend, Oregon started by World Champion disc golfers Nate Doss and Valarie Jenkins who celebrated their grand opening this past April. Having taken a step off of the disc golf circuit to start their new venture, both Nate and Val are proud to be part of professional disc golf in a new way, as a presenting sponsor of the Portland Open. Bevel will be on site at Tournament Central Friday, May 24th - Monday, May 27th from 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM pouring craft beer for sale.
In addition to pouring beer, Bevel Craft Brewing will be releasing their first ever canned beer in support of the event! “Disclandia IPA” will be released on Saturday, May 25th at Tournament Central at Blue Lake at approximately 6:30 PM. It will be sold in four-packs and there will be a limit of two per person.
FESTIVAL & SPECTATING
Prime spectating times will be from 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM Saturday through Monday. In addition to the craft beer options, there will be food trucks, disc golf vendors, and the Disc Golf Pro Tour festival games set up on site, a perfect addition to make for a great weekend of fun at the event. As a featured event of the Rose Festival, the Portland Open is excited to welcome spectators on the festival’s opening weekend. Once spectators arrive at the Blue Lake Disc Golf Course, there will be ample signage to direct them to parking and Tournament Central where they can check in, get food, drink, and information about spectating the event.
There is going to be comprehensive media coverage of the Portland Open. There will be four media team’s on-site including Smashboxx TV (live coverage streaming on YouTube & Disc Golf Network), JomezPro (Post produced coverage of MPO1), Central Coast Disc Golf (Post produced coverage of MPO2), and Par Save Productions (Post Produced coverage of FPO1). Make sure to tune in to all the disc golf action being produced for the Portland Open!
SFO MPO Round 3 Recap - Raptors, Beasts, Eagles and Borgs oh my! - AbsoluteXtracts presents the 2019 San Francisco Open driven by InnovaRead Now
Much like our FPO final round this morning, on the MPO side of the 2019 AblsoluteXtracts presents the San Francisco Open driven by Innova saw a generous cushion for our leader, and a leader that was no stranger to winning. Ricky Wysocki, started the day with five over second place and would stretch it out just one more to finish at a total 33 under par while Paul McBeth chased him down as best he could to 27 under par. Tied for third at 25 under par is Eagle McMahon and Calvin Heimburg. With two names from the chase card making the top three and two names from the lead card falling below the top five we had a lot of movement today. Let's get into as much of it as we can!
When you’re averaging over 1070 rate golf like Ricky was this weekend, no wonder the first hole looked easy for him. Just outside of parked. The second hole was an understandable par. But his first “hiccup” was a missed circle 2 putt in the wide open green of hole 3. How dare he miss. We count on him for perfect putts! It’s okay though, he started the day with a healthy lead which let him card 5 pars in the first six holes. That was enough though, Rick then went 7 under in the next six holes. The bonus in there being an eagle on the 1188’ beast of a par 5, hole 10. After taking a quick break from crushing things on hole 13 and 14, Rick decided to wrap everything with three birdies and a customary winner’s par on 18, he took home the win by a total 6 throws over Paul McBeth in second. He had yet to pick up a big win against the entire top field so this has to feel fantastic. True to form he led the field in Parked, Circle 2 in Regulation, Scramble, and C1X putting. No wonder the guy won, he only got a single bogey (hole 15 in round 2) and he carded two eagles, hole 10 in round 3 and hole 9 in round 1. Congrats on the huge win Ricky.
While the rest of the lead card was concerned with trying to catch Ricky it turned out none of them would be the one who was the closest at the end of the round. Lurking in the eucalyptus and redwood groves Gleneagles is ripe territory for a McBeast. No doubt disappointed to not start the day on the lead card at an event he won last year, Paul made his presence known anyways. He was tied for second after he finished four holes. But that was still five behind Ricky who had no intentions of making a mistake. 13 birdies and a single bogey and Paul’s final round tied Ricky’s course record from Round 2. Not too shabby but not nearly enough to catch Rick. Fortunately, they will get to battle again in just a week as their tours continue to the Master's Cup.
Paul wasn’t the only person to score the hot round today, he was joined by two newer faces on the tour, Calvin Heimburg, and Adam Hammes. Both of them jumped 6 spots to finishing in 3rd and 5th respectively. It’s wild that both of them didn’t card a single bogey on a windy day at a course as tough as Gleneagles. Neither of them even when OB once today! Heimburg even led the field in birdies carding a total 33 birdies, It was really just a sloppy roller coaster ride in Round 2 that held him back from climbing higher. With those scores, Heimburg continues to remind us that he is a new staple at the top of the pack and Hammes gives us the first tastes of what he is capable of.
With some big rounds on the chase card and third card, we saw some big upsets for most of the lead card. Sure Ricky held on to his lead and picked up the wind, but of the three other gangle-monsters on the card only one clung on to a top 4 spot. Falling only a single spot from where he started the day to finish tied for third with Calvin Heimburg, Eagle McMahon just couldn't get the boosters going. His 8 under is tentatively 1051 rated final round is only 1 rating point over his rating of 1050. Even for one of the top three rated players in the world average just isn't good enough to win when other folks are shooting 30 rating points over theirs. It was a story of mediocrity in terms of Eagle’s standards as he performed well in every category but just not well enough.
Though Simon Lizotte and Anthony Barela struggled the most on the lead card, shooting only 5 under par, they both were the most entertaining to watch. Barela’s roller on hole 1 left him a legit eagle bid. He blew it past but took his time and smashed the lengthy putt for birdie. At the very start, his game looked like he might catch fire and give us a show. If Barela had a chance he was going to need that putt to keep working. Instead, he cooled off pretty much immediately, finishing the front nine at only one under and well behind our leader and eventual winner. In fact, scoring that slow on the front nine dropped Barela back a handful of spots he was never able to take back, finishing the event tied for sixth with Simon Lizotte, Avery Jenkins, and Kevin Jones, the latter two leaping quite a few spots to get there.
Simon couldn't decide to wear his hat forward or backward, but either way, it just seemed like he was either hitting lines perfectly or all but missing them completely. A few shaky putts didn't help either. Then the weirdest thing happened on hole 16. Hefting up a huge hyzer to play the crosswind into the island green, his drive bounced in bounds and took a slow meandering roll towards the OB wall…where it gently stopped, coming to rest almost perfectly vertical on the wall. Just below his disc, a thin string that his disc was somehow in between that string and the wall it was leaning on. They even discussed if the dome on his driver was big enough to be in bounds. But ultimately, the card had to make the call and they called it out. It was a bad break on top of a round that was only tough because it fell short of keeping the pressure on Rick. Despite all of that though, no one parked it more often than Simon, so there's that bud!
Wow, there was so much great play today there is no way that I can possibly convey it all to you in this article. As always I recommend checking out UDisc, watching the live coverage when you can, and watching the post-production as well. Between Nate and Val on the live commentary, the audio check-ins we get with players during the round, and so much more you can learn a ton about how to play the game better just by watching. But don't forget to get out there and play! No better way to improve than that. Make sure you stay tuned for our next event, the Portland Open in just two short weeks!
Article written by Staff Writer and Editor Zach Podhorzer.
SFO FPO Round 3 Recap - No One Throws A disc Better than Catrina Right NOw - AbsoluteXtracts presents the San Francisco Open driven by InnovaRead Now
If you were lucky enough to be at Gleneagles this morning for the AbosluteXtracts presents the 2019 San Francisco Open driven by Innova final round then you could pretty much find a tight battle on every card right from bottom to the top. Amidst the scramble one player strode ahead of the rest starting a couple of holes into round 2 – that player is, of course, Catrina Allen, your 2019 champion. Her 5 under par round today brought her to a total 18 under par and 5 lower than last year's winner Sarah Hokom. Trailing Allen by 9 was Paige Pierce at 9 under par. In third at 2 under par was Madison Walker and in a tie for fourth was Paige Bjerkaas and Sarah Hokom. Let’s get into it!
For Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen, the story got interesting on hole 10. Third time's a charm for Paige Pierce as she finally picks up the only eagle of the weekend bringing her to only two behind Catrina. They had started the day 5 apart, only one hole into the back 9 that gap was closed to two with eight to go. You'd think that a huge eagle would get her already slow round going but in this case, Pierce's putting performance was the problem. After canning a circle's edge putt for eagle, Pierce would two-putt away three birdie opportunities in a row. Her drive at 15's raised basket was high from the start, coasting just over the basket it was a beautiful shot. So beautiful it mesmerized our cameraman. He may have stopped her drive short of how far it could have been, but it still left her a long uphill putt at a raised pin. Four back, she had to run it. The height was good but the line was right…well, I mean wrong. Anyways, Catrina wasn’t going to birdie from her drives, so Paige’s come-back putt was a real confidence boost after a shaky time on the green. Alas, those missed opportunities did not go unpunished.
In this six-hole stretch of par 3s on the back 9, there is a priority on birdies and while Paige didn’t seem to get the memo, Catrina Allen did. She picked up 2 birdies in the first 4 and then stepped up to the tee on the island hole 16. Parked. Not much more to say about it because that’s when the tournament truly became hers. Pierce's string of pars was capped off with a double-bogey 5 on 16. That's a three throw swing, bringing the total gap to 7 with 2 to go. You don't collect all the accolades that Catrina has by choking that bad though. 17 was the easiest hole on the course today and 18 is the toughest. Even though she didn't need them to win Catrina carded another birdie and a par to finish with another hot round and the win. She also led the field in 5 out of 8 stats that UDisc tracks for us. Just look at this report card!
While Paige Pierce was trying to chase down Catrina Allen, there was another battle raging behind them. Paige Bjerkaas, Madison Walker, and Sarah Hokom started the day in that order, all within three throws of one another. That gap would never grow larger as each of them jostled their way through the day for third place. As it turned out, their fates were all decided on hole 18. How does it get better than that? Hokom birdied 17 to tie Bjerkaas who parred. Walker birdied, to pull away from them both by 1. Playing on the chase card, Hokom finished the 18th hole first with a drop-in par. Bjerkaas’s drive didn't get a full flight, holding a line too tight to the right and missing out on the fade. Madison Walker's drive, on the other hand, got a full flex in. a short lay-up in front of the ball golf green made for easy work of a second approach and drop-in par.
Madison’s weekend will be characterized in her memory and all of ours by some staggeringly good putts and some awesome saves. She was the best scrambler on the lead card through the event and the second best out of the whole field thanks in part to 12 total makes from the outside edges of Circle 1. She also tied Catrina Allen and Hannah McBeth for first place in OB rate at only .056%. I think Nate and Val put it best though. This might not have been a course that you would have picked Madison for your Grip6 Pick6 but she played phenomenally, setting her up perfectly for this swing through the Northwest.
A little further down the leaderboard, there was still some fantastic rounds going on too. Jessica Weese was the today's biggest mover, leap-frogging 3 players to finish in sixth. Elaine King retained her scramble royalty status, finishing at 68%. Charlotte Towle from San Diego may have had some trouble on the tee and fairway but her 79% C1X putting makes her the best putter of the weekend. From downtown though, Rebecca Cox won the Circle 2 Putting percentages but Paige Pierced actually canned more with a total of 5. And of course on this episode of Gleneagles Eagle Watch let's just daydream our way back to Paige Pierce's on the 965' hole 10. Dang, that was cool.
Alrighty then. That wraps up our FPO coverage of AbsoluteXtracts presents the 2019 San Francisco Open drive by Innova but don’t think we won’t be back soon. In just two short weeks the Disc Golf Pro Tour continues in Oregon for the Portland Open. You don’t want to miss this so make sure you subscribe and then get out there and play some disc golf already! Oh, but come back in a few hours for MPO. Thanks!
This article was written by Staff Writer & Editor Zach Podhorzer.
SFO MPO Round 2 Recap - Moving Day Madness in the MPO division - ABSOLUTEXTRACTS PRESENTS THE 2019 SAN FRANCISCO OPEN DRIVEN BY INNOVARead Now
The MPO division came out shooting hot looking to advance on a day where the wind was almost a non-factor for the midafternoon rounds. The wind would pick up late in the day which led to players laying up their putts and playing conservative on their drives.
In possibly the story of the weekend, James Conrad carded back-to-back eagles on holes nine and ten and then followed it up with a two-putt bogey after going OB on the 8th easiest hole coming in at only 302ft. He would take another OB bogey on island hole 16 before finishing his round at -9 in a tie for 5th place.
Chandler Fry was also able to move up the leaderboard carding a -9 on the day. He started the round slowly with a few pars but was able to avoid the OBs and carry a 100% scramble rate to move up 20 spots into a tie for 13th
Eagle McMahon also had a banner day carding an -10, no OBs, and a less than stellar 20% C2 putting rate. He was able to move up into a tie for second place with teammate Simon Lizotte and yesterday's leader Anthony Barela. He will be in prime position to make a push for the win on championship Sunday.
Ricky Wysocki was the one who stole the show today. He started the day one off the lead in a tie for second place. On the front nine, he would only card two pars to finish -7 at the turn. Hole 10 things turned as Ricky went OB off the tee. It would take a few minutes to make a ruling though as he needed to tie two strings together to string between the OB stakes to tell. He would end up taking a par on the hole. Ricky's only other OB would be in the sand bunker on hole 15. Ricky finished the day -12 which helped him to move five throws ahead of the field.
Last year's champion Paul McBeth quietly held the course and is in position to have a longshot at a repeat tomorrow. He went -7 on the day which kept him solidly in 5th place on the chase card. He is seven throws away from first, but as we have seen with previous rounds, anything can happen when Paul McBeth is on a tear.
Make plans to tune in and watch the final round action live starting at 6:30 PM ET tomorrow.
SFO FPO Round 2 Recap - A well Shuffled Deck...with Allen the definitive leader - AbsoluteXtracts presents the 2019 San Francisco Open driven by InnovaRead Now
In 2018, Sarah Hokom won the San Francisco Open with a total score of 13 under after three rounds. At the 2019 AbosluteXtracts presents the San Francisco Open driven by Innova Catrina is already there after just two rounds of play. Throwing a new course record, 10 under par 56. Nate Doss called it “the round of the 2019 season so far.” No surprise, not far behind Catrina is Paige Pierce at 8 under par, followed by yesterday’s leader, Paige Bjerkaas, at 2 under par. And rounding out the lead card again will be Madison Walker who’s even scored today will keep her at 1 under par. The lead card wasn’t the only shuffle for today though, as there were some big movers further down the leaderboard. Let’s get into it!
If there is one word to describe Catrina Allen today it is confidence. She strode across Gleneagles confident in her abilities and her game plan. She even laid up for par on 13 while holding a snack. She might have been sneaking in a snack, but she was absolutely feasting on birdies. She found her putt and kept her great play from the tees and fairways going too. As the front nine was getting bloody with bogeys and worse for the rest of the lead card Catrina was on the steady train. Although Pierce jumped out to an early lead as Bjerkaas struggled, Allen simply stepped into first, capitalizing on when Pierce made her first mistake on hole six. By the end of the front nine, Catrina was 5 under par and peeling away from the pack. In the new zeitgeist of island holes in the final stretch, Allen shirked trouble and carded yet another birdie – 8 down with 2 to play. 17 may be the easiest hole of the day but hole 18 is the second hardest. Catrina played 17 textbook and stepped up the last tee of the day with the box (which by the way she held for most of the day). Lace the drive, park the upshot, tap in the birdie. That's how you play one of the hardest holes of the day I guess...well it is when you just shot a course record to leap clear of the pack with one round left. Congrats Catrina, that was an incredible show!
Matching her start in Round 1, Paige Pierce was 3 under through the first 5 holes. And then she had to tango with hole 6 again. In round 1 she had to stomach a double bogey. In round 2 she sadly had a second serving of the same. After Pierce’s second risky shot over OB on hole 6 didn’t pay off she collected herself, finished the hole, and played out a solid round. Honestly, Paige Pierce really only had one bad hole. Sure there were some missed putts and an errant toss here or there, but on the hole, she played great. If it weren’t for Catrina Allen’s 10 under round, she’d be winning. She may be five back from Catrina but at this point, she's the only one with a chance of catching our leader. If herstory is any indication, Pierce can definitely turn on the boosters and try to chase Allen down…that is if Catrina ever slows down.
Paige Bjerkaas started the day on top of the box, but by hole 2 she was at the back. She would hang out there until Paige Pierce’s double bogey on six earned her those honors. But it wouldn’t be long before she was back there again. After a 5 over front nine with only pars and bogeys, she did turn things around on the back. Carding three birdies and six pars, Bjerkaas cleaned up some of her mess, finishing the round at 2 over par. She clung to a spot on the lead card with an overall 2 under par for the event. Just check out her scorecard from UDisc:
Madison Walker must have liked yesterday's roller coaster rides because she jumped right back in line this morning. Her lowest low (or highest high depending on how you feel about roller coasters I guess…) had to be the triple-bogey 7 on hole 6. But her highest highs have to be the pair of 60' makes – one for birdie on hole 9 and another on the island 16 to save par after an OB drive – oooo, or he forehand smash on 15 with the dagger-like putt for birdie from circle's edge! Despite the rough spots she had some highlight plays. If she can just clean those bad decisions and miscues up she could give Bjerkaas a run for the last spot on the podium.
Besides the fact that Catrina Allen has a monopoly on all the throwing stats, there are a few people still sneaking into our stats leaderboards. The only person hitting more fairways than Catrina is last year's champ, Sarah Hokom who jumped 2 spots to a tie for fifth at 2 over par with Erika Stinchcomb (who leaped four spots today with a 3 under round). Elaine King is the current Scramble Queen. Cleaning up her errors 70% of the time as earned her solo 8th and a spot on the chase card tomorrow. Despite her rocky scores at the beginning of the round, Paige Bjerkaas is currently the best putter at the event, making 80% of her C1X putting. Raining down putts from further though is Rebecca Cox who’s 33% rate from Circle 2 helped her jump 3 spots to solo 7th. Sadly, even with less wind and scoring conditions being ideal (see Catrina Allen…) we didn’t see any aces, eagles or throw-ins today but plenty of holes gave up birdies pars and more from downtown.
Make sure you don’t miss the final round of the 2019 AbsoluteXtracts presents the San Francisco driven by Innova tomorrow at Noon EST. Things could get a little bit wet tomorrow with some chance of rain but I doubt that will get too many people cold with the fire these players are throwing up and down this mountain dream of a course. Until then, get out and enjoy the weather before you tune back in for the MPO live at 6:30 EST.
This article was written by Staff Writer & Editor Zach Podhorzer.
SFO MPO Round 1 Recap - Gangly Guys Gathering - AbsoluteXtracts presents the San Francisco Open driven by InnovaRead Now
Dang, I just love seeing the hot round trickle lower and lower over the course of the day. With 133 players a lot of different folks get to hold the top spot throughout the day. But with feature cards and touring pros in the mix, the best rounds often come towards the end of the day. That's exactly what happened here at the 2019 San Francisco Open presented by AbsoluteXtracts and driven by Innova. Plenty of rounds had plenty of potential but at the end of the day, four folks get a spot on the lead card, no more, no less. After a very long round one we are being rewarded with a lead car where Ricky Wysocki is the small arm. I guess Gleneagles favors the bombers. In Sole possession of first place is Anthony Barela at 11 under par. In a three-way tie for second is Simon Lizotte, Ricky Wysocki, and Calvin Heimburg. This is gonna be good.
Anthony Barela was the first player to arrive in the clubhouse double digits under par, but he wouldn’t be the last. True to form, Barela made his money from the tee and the fairway and followed up with a solid performance on the green. Oh and the kid cashed 13 birdies, he just had to clean up two bogeys. One from a missed par putt on 8 and the other from an OB penalty on 16. The only stat that Barela is leading in is birdies, but hey sometimes that’s the only thing that matters. Nice shooting, Barela!
How many eagles do you think Simon got today? Wrong. Trick question, the answer was actually zero. Weird, right? Okay so you know he shot a 10 under, how many OB penalties do you think he took? If we were playing the Price is Right you’re probably right because he carded that 10 down with four OB penalties. That was at least double the amount of OB shots than any player in the top 10 carded, and the guy it’s only double of was Paul McBeth. I know, weird again. The answer to all of this lies oddly enough on the green. Having never parked a single shot, Simon was perfect inside Circle 1 and hit 3 out of 5 Circle 2 Putts. When the spin putt is on, the spin putt is on. Not even 20 MPH plus winds can break that frozen rope. Speaking of good putting, ever heard of Ricky Wysocki?
There are a couple of reasons Ricky Wysocki isn't like the rest of tomorrow's card. 1. He's really short. 2. He doesn't throw very far. 3. He's a World Champ. 4. He eagled today. 5. He didn't card a bogey or worse all day. It's a weird list but you gotta give it to me, it’s pretty much true…Ricky also earned himself two 100% merit badges, one of course for those Scramble Jesus skills and then another for never missing inside Circle 1. His eagle on the downhill 747’ beast of a par 4 was from pin high and only just outside Circle 1. And of course, if you only watched the reaction cam you might think his round was garbage. But if there is anything I’ve learned from watching way too much disc golf, it’s that if Ricky Wysocki is disappointed, more likely than not it was a fantastic shot. Thanks for always dreaming for more Rick.
Calvin Heimburg never missed a fairway today…ever. 100% Fairway hits. Just go look at UDisc if you don't believe me! He also leads the pack in Circle 1 & Circle 2 In Regulation. If only he could have parked a few more shots he would have led the field in every throwing stat UDisc tracks. It was a single OB penalty that led to a double bogey for the Heimborg on hole 6. Otherwise Young Vinny never even parred twice in a row until the last two holes. For a guy who already has a big win under his belt for the year, tomorrow’s pressure shouldn’t be too much to handle.
Eagle McMahon may not have made tomorrow's lead card but I think he deserves a new stat. Perseverance. After a double OB triple-bogey 7 on hole 7, McMahon birdied ___ of the remaining 11 Holes. Talk about bouncing back! I think it's safe to say after winning the National Tour last year, Eagle has his tour legs now and they are strong. Nice rebound, Eagle!
On the note of Honorable Mentions, not that he needs more of our adoration, but Paul McBeth’s putting was trick shot quality entertainment. Hole 1? Circle 2 downhill, soft and pure. Dead center. Hole 2? From inside a couple of Christmas trees up and out to a raised basket? Count it! Hole 13? From a knee? Cashed. And a solid flashing of the rings to leap out of the bunker to a drop-in birdie on 18, the third hardest hole on the day. As Nate Doss called it, "a quiet 8 under par". The defending champion is certainly not out of the hunt. Don't be surprised if we see a chase card assassin on our hands for moving day.
Now, in a brief segment I'd like to call "Gleneagle Eagle Watch and More," I have a few shout outs to dispense with in chronological order. First, right out the gate, Anthony Pereyra got to start his day with a 260' throw in for eagle 2 on hole 1. Now that's what I call a hot start. You already know about Ricky's eagle 2 on hole 9. Playing from the same card as Rick, Seppo Paju eagled the very next hole with a 3 on hole 10 and o did Jeremy Koling and AJ Carey. Not too shabby a showing if you ask me. Who knows, maybe the wind calms down tomorrow and we see a few more eagles and if we’re lucky an ace. Don’t miss your chance to see it live as our coverage of the 2019 San Francisco Open presented by AbsoluteXtracts and driven by Innova continues tomorrow.
This article was written by Staff Writer & Editor Zach Podhorzer.
SFO FPO ROUND 1 RECAP - WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? - AbsoluteXtracts presents the San Francisco Open driven by InnovaRead Now
We are just one round into the 2019 San Francisco Open presented by AbsoluteXtracts and driven by Innova and we really couldn’t ask for a better start. I mean really what more do you want? Of the four players on today’s feature card, two of them (none other than Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen) will get another day in the limelight on tomorrow's lead card. But neither of these top-rated players are the current leader. Those honors belong to another Paige, 2018 World Champ Paige Bjerkaas of course! Bjerkaas finished the round 4 under par, one ahead of Pierce and Allen who are tied at 3 under par. Joining them on tomorrow's lead card will be Madison Walker only three off the lead at 4 under par. Considering the fact that every player on tomorrow's lead card except one, carded at least 3 bogeys or worse today, I'd say there's plenty of holes left for us to see the lead change hands quite a few times. Though I imagine Bjerkaas, the only player in the event to card only one bogey on the day intends to keep that all but completely clean play coming. It doesn't get much better than a lead card separated by only 3 after one day. Let's get into it!
You don’t have to know too much about UDisc color codes to know that Paige Bjerkaas had a pretty unique experience on the course. Hole 1? Birdie 3 from 49'. Hole 3? Professional valet caliber parking for a 347' birdie 2. Hole 5? Wrap up a 1033' par 5 with a 27' tester for the birdie 4. It was only the Paige's that started that hot (Pierce hit 2,3, and 5 though). Contrary to what science might tell us, fire out West apparently can be extinguished by wind (I mean this completely figuratively! Please follow fire safety guidelines!). As the wind picked up through the center cut of the course Bjerkaas' pace slowed to only embers for ten pars in a row before two birdies and her first bogey. I mean what a bummer to play 17 fantastic holes only to bogey the last one with an OB penalty! Life's hard, Paige, but I bet the reigning World Champ is still feeling a-okay about her spot at the top of the leaderboard with 36 more holes to play and making 86% of her Circle 1 Putts in today’s wind.
Turning one Paige to the next, if only so I can use that transition, Pierce skipped the smooth par train that Bjerkaas opted for instead choosing to ride a roller coaster. I guess that makes sense with all the hills though, right? Anyways, after a similarly hot start to Bjerkaas, Pierce stepped on to the tee pad of the courses longest hole – hole 5 as previously mentioned is a monster of 1033'. Bang. Bang. Two full flex crushes and Pierce was long of the basket putting from circle 2 into a headwind. Remember though, if you're gonna run a putt at least get it above the cage. Above the cage was Paige, but just a bit too much. No worries. She cashed the birdie putt quickly and moved on to hole 6. Ouch! Double bogey! Well, that's fine, how about a birdie on 7? Okay back on track. Ah! A bogey on 9…all cleaned up with a birdie on 10. After a few more pars and a trickle of birdies, Paige finished with more birdies than other player and she canned 4 of 11 Circle 2 Putts today. Dang. Now to clean up those bogeys tomorrow.
If you’re playing doubles and your putt is on today, you want Catrina Allen as your partner. No one in the field generated more birdie opportunities than Catrina. Leading the pack in Parked and Circle 1 In Regulation, the only player to best her in Circle 2 In Regulation was our leader, Paige Bjerkaas. Catrina's roller coaster was a good deal less turbulent than Pierce's. A couple of birdies and pars, then bogey; another couple birdies and a par; two bogeys sprinkled on a par; finish with some birdies; turn in the card and start looking forward to tomorrow. Catrina Allen has been playing great lately so it's no surprise to see her right behind the lead. She is more than capable of turning her chase into a lead within the first couple holes tomorrow…if the putt can stay online. 70% today is 7% better than her season average of 63%. That's saving her about 1 throw per round on average. All she needs to catch Bjerkaas.
Madison Walker didn't take a single OB penalty the entire round. Making her one of only two players to never go out of bounds today – the other being Hannah McBeth who finished 2 over par, tied for 7th. There are certainly courses with harder to avoid OB lines than these but when literally 91% of the field goes OB at least once it’s safe to say it’s a part of the challenge Gleneagles provides. Despite those difficult over the hills and across valley shots, Madison played things smooth in the fairway but found some struggles on the green. A three-putt for double bogey on 8 was the first deep cut, and then the three-putt birdogey on 13 was just salt in the wound. It wouldn't hurt for Madison to land some Circle 2 Putts either. But despite those troubles, she's putting right on track with her season average of 60% in Circle 1X. Hopefully, some practice on the putting green tonight can get her ready to chase down the rest of our lead card.
Of course, there was a tremendous amount of great play today from folks besides the four we got into here, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with live scoring on UDisc if you haven’t yet because there are just so many stories in those numbers. For right now we’re still on eagle or ace watch, but today’s longest throw in award goes to Erika Stinchcomb, currently in 9th, for her 81’ birdie make on hole 4. Nice shot! On the topic of nice shots, let’s hear it for Kona Star Panis who was 95% on fairway hits today, she’s in 5th place now. And lastly, a round of applause for Zoe Andyke making 88% of her Circle 1 Putt’s today she’s showing that her West Coast roots are paying off, she’s currently tied for tenth. Don’t miss any of the action as the 2019 San Francisco Open presented by AbsoluteXtracts and driven by Innova heads into moving day.
This article was written by Staff Editor & Writer Zach Podhorzer.
The Disc Golf Network has expanded to Fire TV, also known as Fire Stick. This means that the AbsoluteXtracts presents the San Francisco Open driven by Innova at Gleneagles DGC will have more live broadcast outlets than any disc golf event in history. The catch? You can only watch on one at a time!
So get ready to get convenient. Women go live at Noon Eastern and the Open division goes live at 6:30 PM Eastern everyday May 10-12.
Below is a short video on how to find the Disc Golf Network on Fire TV.
AbsoluteXtracts presents the 2019 San Francisco Open driven by Innova: MPO Preview - Fire on the MountainRead Now
It’s May, It’s Spring, the leaves are out and the grass is green, especially over in California as we have just over 24 hours until the first players will tee off at the AbsoluteXtracts presents the San Francisco Open driven by Innova Champion Discs at the stunning and beastly Gleneagles Disc Golf Course. In 2018 Paul McBeth walked away with one of his first major victories of the season, this year he’s looking to just add it to the list and keep this drive going. The guy is legit on fire lately. I tried to catch up with him for a Mind of the Champion spotlight interview but he’s just too hot to get close to. I did have the chance to sit down with Sarah Hokom though and I highly recommend checking that interview out here! Paul may have picked up the W here last year but there were a lot of players in the pack prospecting for a win too. Let’s get into it.
Now that we are pretty confident the top three guys to beat in MPO are who they are, looking back at the 2018 SFO scores doesn’t look at all surprising. But remember last year when Eagle, who we knew was stupid good at throwing frisbees, went to train in the Alps and came back to the US and all but locked in the National Tour points series halfway through the season? We were all wondering if he could keep it up straight through 2018. At the same time, the early season narrative regarding Paul McBeth was something along the lines of “what’s wrong with Paul?” Well if there’s anyone who’s motivated by stiff competition, it’s Paul McBeth. In fact, if you look at their seasons side-by-side (see chart below), you can see that right around SFO was the turning point. Up till Nick Hyde, Paul had yet to beat Eagle. After that Eagle would only best Paul two more times at any of the elite level events…because McBeth pretty much hit the win switch. Honestly, if we really wanna take the metaphor too far, it was likely McMahon who hit the switch, likely unaware he would wake the McBeast!
While we’re on the topic of McBeast…SPOILER ALERT…Paul McBeth won the 2018 San Francisco Open. But much like his recent win in Emporia at the 2019 GBO, he didn't lead any statistic except in this case he led in birdies. Oh, and he also wasn't covered in poison ivy. Honestly Paul, on behalf of all of us in the disc golf community, thanks for beating all the best of us while you’re in less than perfect health. It’s a real confidence booster…anyways, as I was saying, sometimes all that matters is who birdies the most. It’s not how you got there at the end of the day it’s just the fact that you made it.
In the final round, at the tee on 1, we were squared up for a classic Battle – Paul vs Ricky, version uncountable (actually, if anyone knows how many times those two have had a battle for first I’d love to know!). Re-watching it, there is something about Paul’s smile after he cashes that 74’ putt for eagle on hole 9 that just says, “thank you very much, I’ll take this win and I’m here to stay.” With that eagle 2, Paul carded a 4 under par front nine to Ricky’s 3 under (He also added his name to the list of only three players who got an Eagle that weekend on that hole –Jeff Faes, who hit a 201’ throw in and Drew Gibson, who was five feet away from a 747’ ace, sorry you only got a drop-in Drew…). Back to the battle though, one throw separated them with nine holes to go, and Eagle McMahon was applying a generous serving of pressure from the chase card. Despite everyone’s best efforts though, McBeth strode across the Gleneagles back nine to his fourth Pro Tour Victory.
Ricky Wysocki four-putted hole 15 in the final round. Yes, even god’s bleed on occasion too. I know, hard to believe, go watch it if you don’t believe me! You don’t want a single hole to define your performance at any event, but it was that hole that ended up being the mistake he didn't get to recover from. Ricky is certainly never one to lay up and I can't remember the last time he missed a long run and didn't hit the comeback. Well, it happened here. His birdie run at the stump mounted raised basket into a gnarly headwind created a full depth Circle 1 putt right back up at it. Another miss and then a truly uncharacteristic third miss left Ricky with a dreaded birdouble-bogey. Ouch. He would actually claw back that two throw swing with Paul’s OB on the very next hole, but he needed more go in his chase than that. He finished three behind McBeth and a lay-up on 16 would have secured him sole possession of second if all else goes the same. But we can’t rewrite history and Ricky can’t settle for anything but first, anything else is simply losing. But hey, he did set the course record on round two with a 9 under par 53. Nice shooting Rick!
Eagle McMahon is pretty much the reason that McBeth didn't lead any stats. By the time all three rounds were turned in there was no one who threw the disc better than Eagle did that weekend. He led the pack in Fairways and both Circle 1 and Circle 2 In Regulation. But there was something about the greens that just weren't playing in his favor, making only 66% of his Circle 1X Putts and only Parking 3 baskets for birdie throughout the entire event – 2 on the first day and 1 on the last. You’d think on a big course like Gleneagles that Eagle would lead the pack in Parked percentages but there were 37 players who did better and the top valet on the day was none other than big-armed tour staple, Garret Gurthie. It’s hard to say what else held Eagle back from catching Paul other than his C1X putting, missing 13 of 37 Circle 1X putts is just downright uncharacteristic. But if you’re thinking, Eagle’s putting well right now, I’ll pick him for my fantasy pick – don’t – he’s skipping this one to rest up in his home state of Colorado before heading back out on tour. See you soon Eagle!
Gleneagles requires a well-rounded game. This isn't your run of the mill smasher's display (though go watch The Challenge at Goat Hill if you're looking for that) and it's also not your classic wicked windy and wooded track, but somehow kind of both. Whoever can bring both precision and power will stand a good chance at cashing. But if you're not making birdie on at least 40% of the holes you can say goodbye to the podium and if you're looking for that top 10 list, you'll need to birdie more than 30% of the time. There is something to be said for the value of power through when the top 10 in 2018 includes Eagle McMahon, Simon Lizotte, Drew Gibson, and Garrett Gurthie (all of whom are known to throw a mile). Then again there's something to be said for the value of precision with a couple strong forehand dominant metaphorical lawn dart pros like Ricky Wysocki and Gregg Barsby and Jeremy Koling alongside some of the most accurate backhand players like Paul McBeth(who yes does have a great forehand as well) and Josh Anthon. Basically what I'm trying to say is this – if you were hoping for a helpful prediction all I can tell you is it's hard saying not knowing – but hey, putting your money on Paul is never a bad bet these days.
The AbsoluteXtracts presents the 2019 San Francisco Open driven by Innova Champion Discs kicks off tomorrow and you won’t want to miss any of the action. Check out our live schedule below and until then get out there and play some golf!
Article Written by Staff Writer & Editor Zach Podhorzer. All photo credit to Alyssa Van Lanen. Apologies to player sponsors, it's literally impossible to find a photo from last years event with your brand on your players when they switched this year!
SFO Live Broadcast brought to you by MVP Disc Sports
YouTube is back, with special thanks to MVP Disc Sports, the ABX San Francisco Open powered by Innova will be available on more live streaming platforms than any live broadcast in the history of disc golf.
The live broadcast will be available on YouTube as well as DGPT.tv, Roku, and Chromecast. While Roku and Chromecast make it very easy to watch on the big screen, we are happy to work with MVP Disc Sports to make the YouTube broadcast possible again.
The DGPT Live broadcast, for both the men and the women all weekend, is proudly presented by MVP, and it will be on the Disc Golf Pro Tour YouTube channel. Get ready to watch one of the most exciting events of the season!
AbsoluteXtracts presents The 2019 San Francisco Open driven by Innova: FPO Preview - The West Is ComingRead Now
If you told me that Sarah Hokom beat Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen by 8 throws on a 9000’ plus track coupled with some of the most intense elevation changes on the tour my first response would be “I wanna watch that!" Well good news, if you missed it last year thanks to the powers of the internet you can go watch it right now on the Disc Golf Pro Tour and The Disc Golf Guy's youtube pages. Don’t worry the article will still be here for you to read when you get back. If then you told me that was the first time the event was held and I'd get to see it again I'd start working on a time machine to get there faster. The 2019 San Francisco Open presented by Innova Champion Discs is right around the corner and perfectly framed by the contentious 2019 season to be yet another battle. But really go watch last year's it's so good!
Now that you’ve seen it for your own eyes, or for those of you who don’t have the time to watch or re-watch a whole tournament right now let’s break it down in a nice neat TLDR recap:
Round 1: Hokom leaped out to an early lead making Circle 1 In Regulation half the time and hitting 78% of her Circle 1X Putts added up to a 3 under hot round. Pierce and Allen weren’t far off though, netting themselves 6% less Circle 1 looks at birdies and capitalizing on even less. Solid start for Hokom but certainly no run away lead – not with these two chasing.
Round 2: Hokom flipped the unrelenting domination switch and played the only entirely clean round of the week with her first under par hole of the day being a 347’ Ace on hole 3. Now that’s how you peel – two hot rounds in a row and Hokom’s lead increased to 6.
Round 3: It was everyone else’s chance to say something about it. While Catrina was the loudest with her hot round for the final day at 5 under par, Hokom’s 3 under was more than good enough to fend her off and take home the win.
Gosh it's always nice to watch a beautiful skip ace like that stick. The top three rated players in the world may have taken the podium again, but don’t count out the rest of the field. While Sarah was playing her own game of crush the competition, Pierce and Allen were distracting each other and Weese strolled right up behind them and finished only one off of being a part of the tie for second. At the end of the event, she actually led the field in Fairways and Circle 1 in Regulation and took second on Scramble, but it's pretty hard to win when you're making less than 60% of your C1X putts. Weese’s putting stats haven't moved much this season compared to last season but if she can just make a couple more a day and avoid the OB we have a good chance of seeing a four-way battle or more for first this year.
What more can I really say about Pierce's and Allen's chances this weekend? They're both building a lot of momentum right now and they're coming off a heated battle at this year's Glass Blown Open. Not only do they need to keep their eyes on Sarah, each other and Weese, but they also need to watch out for the growing pack of players hungry for the spotlight – Rebecca Cox, Madison Walker, Paige Bjerkaas, to name a few.
And lastly, but certainly, not the least we have last year's champion Sarah Hokom. I caught up with her a week or two ago to talk about the event in her first Mind of a Champion spotlight interview. She definitely doesn't hold back her thoughts on the game right now and also provides some awesome advice that I know I'm already building into my game. Sarah definitely played a well-rounded game in 2018 because she only won two of the eight primary stats we track – Birdies and Circle 2 In Regulation – yet she not only won but won by more than double the number of throws under par that anyone else scored. That is honestly pretty hard to do! But as the old adage I just made up recently goes, sometimes the only thing you have to do to win is birdie. In Sarah's case, 37% of the time seemed like the right amount.
You do not want to miss the action this weekend as things kick off Friday at 11 AM EST on DGPT.tv. Until then get out there and make the most of the weather, it’s finally tournament season pretty much everywhere!
This article written by Staff Writer & Editor Zach Podhorzer. All photo credit to Alyssa Van Lanen.
In 2018, Sarah Hokom became the first winner of the inaugural San Francisco Open. As we prepare for the 2019 San Francisco Open presented by Innova Champion Discs, I was lucky enough to catch up with her to hear her take on the start to her 2019 season, how she's preparing to defend her title this weekend, advice for up and coming players, and even some tough talk about tee pads and rules in disc golf. I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did. For context, Sarah won the 2018 edition by eight throws over Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen who tied for second. Suffice to say she crushed it, oh and she made Sportscenter with her ace on hole 3. It was a great weekend for her and one that seemed to propel her into a dominant spot on the leader board for the rest of the season. You can get a great summary of last year's event in. For now, let's get to the chat!
Zach Podhorzer (ZP): First, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and talk to day. I really appreciate it and am sure your fans will too. Since this is the first time we’ve gotten to talk this season, fill me in on how your 2019 has been going. How’s the new bag feel?
Sarah Hokom (SH): I think it's been going pretty good – a little bit of a slow start. I did get a couple of wins in Texas which was encouraging. I would say the first half of the season doesn't really suit my strengths. So this is kind of normal. I'm trying to not get down on myself for not finishing higher. A couple of factors would be the courses are long and windy, which is not really my strength, but in addition to that we've seen the inclusion of a whole bunch of new ladies on the road and they're really playing great. The field is way deeper so where mediocre play in the past may have gotten me a top-five finish, that's just not the case anymore. In fact, there's always that thought now in my mind "I could miss out on the cash, even." Which didn't happen in the past very often. I'm thankful that I've played well enough to get in the top 10 at every event and I've got a couple of wins against some really good players. I'm looking forward to playing more of the wooded courses and the technical lines I prefer though.
Percentage wise I could probably put the new bag in there a little bit - just when it comes to learning my lines. Playing with all new plastic it just takes time to get to know the discs. I'm excited because I know I'm going to just keep getting better with the plastic I'm throwing. I'm getting more and more confident with everything I'm throwing already. So maybe this year's performance so far is a tiny percentage due to the new bag, but I think it's really more that the first half of the season doesn't really suit my game and the field is way deeper. We got a lot of great ladies out there!
(ZP): I hear ya. That makes sense. Speaking of your new bag, Last time I was chatting with Paige Pierce she told me you had just filled the spot in your bag that the Jokeri had filled with the new MVP Entropy. How are you liking that?
(SH): Yes. Yes. I actually took three discs out of my bag and replaced them with the entropy. I had a little bit of a flippier putter, a stable mid, and a really overstable mid and I replaced all of three of those with the Entropy. It's been awesome to simplify things a a bit and get that disc in my bag that I know I really trust the line on. It immediately did exactly what I was expecting.
(ZP): Comparing your 2018 Season stats to your 2019 season stats thus far, you’re trailing yourself in 6 categories – everything but scramble and C1X putting. The biggest performance gaps may be two of the most important ones though – C1 and C2 in regulation are both down about 10%. What’s keeping you from making those opportunities this year?
(SH): That's a good question. Actually, I'm not really sure. I assume inconsistency off the tee, you know? I’ve had a few injuries already this year but I really think it’s just me getting to know the lines on my discs.
(ZP): When I spoke with Ricky about how his new bag is going he was talking about how it felt like he was seeing all of these tournaments he’s played for years in a whole new way with his new discs. Has that also been the case for you or has it been more of a direct translation from one disc to another?
(SH): To a degree I would say that is the case, I have three different distance driver molds in my bag now whereas before when I was with Legacy I just used one, in a bunch of different plastics. I actually really like the fact that I'm able to throw a bunch of different lines now. In particular, I'm able to throw a similar angle with different molds rather than manipulating the angle of one mold. So I think that's part of it. I'm getting to know all those different lines and I do even have some lines available to me that I didn't have at all before. But that also brings in more decision making and at first consistency issues. In particular, at Vegas and the Memorial, I didn't have much practice in the wind yet, and also at WACO. I'd really only played a couple of rounds in the wind before we had that major wind in Vegas and I had to completely adjust my game plan. I think that’s had something to do with why I’m not reaching Circle 1 and 2 as much now. What’s weird though is at GBO, my best round was the round in the wind. How did I shoot my best round on the windiest day?
(ZP): At last year’s inaugural SFO you crushed the competition, winning over Catrina Allen and Paige Pierce who tied for second 8 throws behind you. You were the only player to finish a round under 60 (with a little help from a sweet Sportscenter highlighted ACE!!) and the only player to finish any round with a 100% scramble (round 2) bogey-free round. Looking forward to the event what are you psyched for?
(SH): I’m excited to get out there and see the course with my new lines. The course seems like it’s open and big and long, which people might not think is my strength, but because of the elevation change, it ends up being very technical. I’m really excited to get out there and see what I can do on that course. A lot of it comes down to keeping it in bounds and giving yourself those opportunities. And the tee pads at SFO are a far cry from what we've played so far here. Outside of WACO, I haven't had access to very many birdies. Even though we had women's tees. They've basically been designing the women's tees for a 400' power shot rather than what the average female throws, which are more like 330' or 340' power shots. So SFO is one where they designed the course appropriately for the ladies in my opinion. I have access to a lot of birdies out there while so far this season has been more about mitigating bogeys. So, combine that with some technicality and I think I have a chance here.
(ZP): As I mentioned earlier, the SFO was a real turning point for you. It was the first time you beat Paige Pierce in 2018 and after that, your worst finish was a fourth place at your next event – the Beaver State Fling. You would go on to finish the year with a podium finish at every event, including four wins. Do you think that the 2019 SFO could be where you get the momentum going this season?
(SH): Yea. I mean, it has a lot to do with the course design. A lot of people like to say “oh, everyone has to play the same hole. Everyone’s playing the same thing” but people’s games are different so when the tee pads are designed in a way that gives me opportunities to score then certainly that is way better! At GBO I could only get six birdies out of the 18 there.
(ZP): so there were 12 holes you were just playing for par?
(SH): Yea, and several of those even the par felt like a birdie. A lot of times a par on a hole that’s just a little bit out of reach you’re like “okay, this is an easy little up shot and then I’m gonna tap out my putt” but there were at least three holes where getting even par was hard. You had to throw two really good shots and make a putt just to get a par.
(ZP): What’s your practice routine on a monster course like this? I’ve heard it’s quite the hike just to walk the course and I can hardly remember a flat spot on all the coverage.
(SH): Definitely trying to play one round a day - multiple shots though. One round each day in the morning and the final day before the tournament just throwing a few of the holes. Just a couple of the ones that I need an extra shot on or I wanna try something different. So not playing the whole course the day before. And actually, I'll probably have my caddy out there pulling my cart during my practice rounds. I remember last year my knee really started acting up by the end of the week. Just blew up like a grapefruit just from walking up and down those hills. And it's already blown up this year so I'll have to make sure to keep off of it and get my Disc Golf Strong recovery in!
(ZP): Alright, important question, what are you gonna throw to ace hole 3 again this year?
(SH): I’m gonna throw a Photon on that one. Yea. I think I got that same line. My beat in photon, my Neutron Photon.
(ZP): Since we’re talking about distance, I’d love to hear your thoughts on adapting holes at the elite level. In 2018 there were eight modified holes at Gleneagles. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic as a player who isn't known for her distance like Paige and Catrina but still, you're able to not only score, but win, against them. In my chats with Paige, she is obviously very anti-short tees. She has told me you two disagree on this at times so I'd love to hear your side of things! You've already told me there's a difference in how well certain events do it – somewhere it's not helpful and not even creative, and then some courses – like Gleneagles you said – really get it right. Where’s your stance on the direction the women’s game should be going with the tee pads.
(SH): In general I really appreciated, even at the GBO, that people took the time to think about what would be better for the ladies - what could make this course play better for the distance ladies throw. However, I’ve really been noticing some things about how that is done lately. If we assume that the course design of a gold level course is based on the men’s game, with that assumption in mind, the course designers are not designing par 3s where only the top distance throwers can get to the green. You don’t see 600’ par 3s, the reason behind it being, “oh well, Simon can get there.” If they designed courses like that for the men, and most of them couldn’t get there they would complain and be upset about it. They’d all be saying “This is not fair. I can’t get to any of these holes but these four people can”. But on the flip-side, on the women’s division, they do design the courses and the tee pads for the Simon of our division.
I couldn't get to any of the par 3s except for the one island hole at GBO. All of them were over 400' or if they weren't they were uphill. I came to this one hole in practice and it read 315, par 3, and it was a sidearm line, I was like "SWEET!" I could barely get within 100' of the basket. I was 70 or 80 short every time. So it really just played like a 400' hyzer. So I think that that's the part the course designers are missing. They’re designing the courses for a 400’ power shot when that’s the elite distance of our division. That’s not what the average touring woman throws. If you ask the touring women what their power shot is, it's 330-350 it's not 400 feet. So we're being put in a position where the courses are being designed for the elite distance throwers in our division and leaving the rest of the players behind.
When I say this isn't fair, people tell me, "Oh well Paige can get there." And I think, "yea, she can". And Paige and Jen Allen and Cat should be rewarded for their distance but what people don't realize is they're being rewarded for their distance even on short holes. They’re rewarded for their distance on every par 5 and every par 4. They get to smash it as far up the fairway as they can and have a way easier approach. And on the par 3’s they’re able to throw a way slower disc, even a mid, whereas the less powerful throwers are having to throw a much more technically difficult shot to cover the same distance. I think that's something that the disc gold community and some of the designers are missing.
I think it's actually really hurting the women's division right now. I think it's really discouraging, especially for up and coming pros who are playing courses that aren't suiting the average distance that they throw. I really don't think par 3s should be out of the range to most of the players. I'm not saying I should be able to get every birdie but the average female in our division should be able to get to most of the holes. If you look at the stats, and I know I'm biased, but that's why I ask people to look at the stats. Look at the stats from GBO. Look at the stats from Texas State Championships – I won that tournament and I got one birdie the whole weekend. That is not the kind of golf that will grow the sport for the women. It was boring. As was the golf at GBO for me. It was boring.
I'm throwing the same shot over and over again then throwing a little upshot and tapping in a putt. I'm not even putting most of the time. If you look at GBO there were 10 holes that basically no one got. 5 of those literally no one birdied. 5 only one person did. More than half the course and no one is getting birdies? That's not right. Thankfully it still allows scoring separation because there's OB everywhere and if you miss a shot you're gonna pay for that. But we see a huge discrepancy between 2nd and 3rd place, we're talking 15 strokes! And I know Jen Allen was that third place and we'd expect her to be up there with Paige and Cat, but honestly she doesn't get to practice, she's flying in and out. We know the distance is there but she just doesn't get the same chance to dial in her game. It's not rocket science to see that the course is distance heavy when you have all of the distance throwers at the top. And it happens all the time, the whole first half of the season has been like that.
(ZP): Right. If that’s the only thing we’re testing on the course then why aren’t we just having distance competitions?
(ZP): Since it came up a little bit in that last question, what advice would you give to any up and coming players who want to take their game to the next level?
(SH): Absolutely. I have a good handful of pieces of advice.
1. Practice, rather than play scored rounds, correcting errant shots.
2. Set your bag up with less molds and multiples of the same disc to practice with.
3. Take video of yourself and analyze your form. Then, work on your weaknesses.
4. Commit to specific routines before each type of shot.
5. Play big events to gain experience with pressure, to gauge your progress and learn how to play difficult tracks.
6. Read Bob Rotella to begin developing your mental strategy.
(ZP): Alright before we get to predictions, anything else you wanted to cover in our time here?
(SH): Actually, I did really want to touch on the rules situation at GBO. It's been a bit of an issue over the years with a couple of players in my opinion kind of bullying people for calls. Inside the group we're all just a little more friendly with each other in my opinion. On the course, it's a little weird and I think women tend to take it a little more personal, not only when you get calls made on you but in general our interactions are more personal in our gender. It's a real problem that these calls are coming down to people fighting for the benefit and we're not getting an appropriate actual call made. For example, the call with Cat this weekend [on hole 16 at GBO] was exactly the amount of strokes she won by. And the fact that when Paige called her on the courtesy violation, Cat fired back with a courtesy violation for over-celebrating. Is that even a thing? Can you call that on someone for over celebrating when they can a huge death-putt in the wind? Is that something you can even do? As far as I'm concerned that is not okay. It's not okay to bully people out of calls, it's not okay to start making calls on them because they made calls on you. I'm not perfect either. I mean, I let a foot fault go this weekend. I watched a girl step on her disc and I didn't call her. Overall we need to find a way, and I don't have an answer, other than we have to stop taking things so personally and we have to start making calls.
(ZP): I think you've identified a really good point here. As we become a bigger and bigger sport it’s only going to become more of a problem. I know I’ve seen something and not called it because I think “this isn’t a big deal”. Or even if someone calls it, no one else will say they saw it and second it.
(SH): Even when I saw it this last weekend the words wouldn’t even come of out my mouth, I couldn’t even say “foot fault!” And when I have called it in the past, all of a sudden everyone’s calling foot faults. Now all of a sudden everyone is watching my feet like a hawk and it’s a pretty subjective call. Is it where they plant versus where they pivot to? There’s a lot of ambiguity there. It gets more important and clearer if they're reaching behind a tree or something versus if they're in the middle of a fairway and taking a run up and then they're a centimeter away from where they should be - that's an ambiguous call that I don't have a solution for. But what I do know is that it's not working.
(ZP): Totally, somehow we're supposed to know where their foot was the second they let go of the disc. That's impossible.
(SH): Yup. And the jump putt rule needs to be fixed as well. The way that the rule is defined is unenforceable. You’re supposed to watch a person's hand and their foot? You can’t even tell on video without slowing it down and freezing it. So we’re asking people to look at two places and one time and make a determination. In reality, our sport is backwards on how the rule is defined. In every other sport you can take off from behind the line and as long as your foot was behind the line when you left the ground it's legal. Doesn't matter if you land in front of it, it doesn't matter at what point you hit the volleyball, it doesn't matter at what point you hit the tennis ball, doesn't matter at what point the jump shot leaves your hand, it matters that you took off from behind the line. Physiologically it’s completely absurd that you’re going to jump at the same time you’re letting go of the disc. Physiologically they are going to come one-millisecond after each other. You’re gonna jump and the energy’s gonna come up from your feet through the rest of your body and out your hand. When it comes to athletes in any other sports that's how it works. But our sport for whatever reason is not worded in the same way. I'm an advocate that we switch it to what all the other sports in the entire world and what our bodies suggest that we should do.
(ZP): I love this. These are the conversations I wish we were having more of. People just think that's the rule so that's the rule. But no, the PDGA changes the rules plenty. Thanks for bringing that up, it's great to talk about. Alright, before we wrap up got any predictions for us?
(SH): Gosh, I don’t really have predictions at the moment. There are so many people that could play well this weekend. McBeth, Paige, and Cat are all streaking really well right now. I don’t think these courses will be particularly difficult for any of them. It’s not that it’s not difficult, but it doesn’t play against their game. And they’re playing well right now.
(ZP): Got it. those are some solid picks right now for sure. Before we wrap up, how can everyone find you online?
(SH): I have my standard Instagram and Facebook and I also just started a Patreon. Through that I'm trying to provide some behinds the scene footage for what’s been happening for the media team at the Pro Tour. My goal has been to show people who these people are behind the camera. The loyalty is already so established with the other media teams and people just don’t know who these folks are. So I’m just trying to help them understand that these are really good people, they’re working really, really hard, and they’re getting better.
The part that is kind of frustrating is that the public is almost going tribal on disc golf media. What I don't understand is that it's a free service. They're not paying anything for this. I would totally understand people being upset if they bought a product and it was sub-par. You should get your money back in that case. When we're talking about the Pro Tour, most of the public didn't invest any money into that but people are coming out and saying you're taking the sport back ten years. That's not true. I was here ten years ago, it's way better now! And yes it hasn't gone as well as we wanted it to and every tournament they've had to readjust and do a whole new thing. Growing pain after growing pain.On top of that it doesn't help that the public has been so critical. The name calling and saying "I'm not watching it" I don’t get it. The women didn’t even get any real coverage until the pro tour came along. So I just want people to understand who it is that they are talking about.
(ZP): Alright, Sarah, thanks so much for taking the time to talk today. I really loved getting to hear all your thoughts. Best of luck this weekend!
(SH): It was great to talk, and thanks for all the work you're doing. I really appreciate it!
You don't want to miss any of the coverage we have planned for this week so make sure to stay tuned to our Watch page, check back for a new S.F.O. article every day this week, and make sure you subscribe to Sarah Hokom all over the internet and chip in on her Patreon! Keep disc golf alive and thriving by supporting the people that make it all happen. Until the rounds start up on Friday though, Spring has finally arrived in New England so I'm gonna get off this keyboard and go play some disc golf! see you on the course!
Article written by Staff Writer & Editor Zach Podhorzer. All photo credit to Alyssa Van Lanen, the great disc golf photographer we've ever known.
Early last week the Disc Golf Pro Tour released an update regarding how post-produced coverage will unfold for the rest of the season. Also early last week due to unforeseen circumstances the in-house media crew for the Disc Golf Pro Tour was unable to complete post-produced coverage for the Jonesboro open. Due to the last minute nature of the notification, we relied on SmashboxxTV to produce Smashcutts of the Jonesboro Open coverage. Additionally, AnhyzerTV stepped up to provide chase card coverage from MPO. You can find coverage from the Jonesboro Open on our JBO Media page.
This was a significant step back from what we had been producing and what we had hoped to produce. Our apologies for this happening. We did the best we could in a difficult situation and we know it was not what the fans of disc golf deserve.
Moving forward, as announced last week, the Disc Golf Pro Tour will be focused on live coverage (with the production assistance of SmashboxxTV) and post-produced coverage will be handled by the media crews which produce coverage regularly including Par Save Productions, Jomez, Central Coast Disc Golf, and Gatekeeper Media. You can read more about the shift in our announcement last week.
We are looking forward to a great rest of the season, and we appreciate the support and passion we have seen through the first three events.
2019 Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus: MPO Final Round Recap - Alert! Runaway G.O.A.T. on the loose!Read Now
When round three of the 2019 Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus started today, shortly after round two, the lead card was all within two throws of each other. With that kind of stage, we were almost guaranteed to see the lead change hands a number of times. Plenty of folks were just behind them too but eventually were left behind as our leaders continued to charge. But oh right, someone had to invite Paul McBeth to the party. Soon enough McBeth redefined that charge as he took off on a 10 hole birdie streak from 7-16. Everyone was doing everything they could to keep up, but eventually, they had to let go of those hopes and focus on each other. McBeth won the event at a total 27 under par, Garrett Gurthie finished second at 24 under, Chris Dickerson took third at 22 under, and then we had a tie for fourth between Eagle McMahon and Paul Ulibarri. The mud was absolutely atrocious but the play was perfectly pleasant. Read on to find out more.
Paul McBeth may not have been McBeast for the first six holes of round three…but as the sun came out and the weather got warmer, Paul hit the perfect play switch and finished the event with birdies on 10 of the last 12 holes! Having to play more golf in a single day than a usual tournament day you’d think he might be in the zone for round three. Sadly for Paul his front nine only included five birdies. It’s okay though, he got seven more on the back. Honestly, I think he had to miss that short putt on 6 as motivation. Come on Paul! Par? You got a Par!? We expect more.
It wasn't until 11 holes later that he made such an egregious error again. 17 seemed to almost come out of nowhere. His drive leaked off the fairway; a risky cut-roller out curled back on the edge of the rough; with no real look, a lofty jump putt brought him to a tap-in par. It was actually pretty impressive to watch Paul play a hole from the rough like the rest of us mortals do more often. And yes, he's good at that too. With one hole left to play, McBeth had a four throw lead over Gurthie and could pretty much walk it in on the last beast of a hole. But that wouldn’t really be the McBeast we’ve come to know and love. Despite it being a solid 60-foot look McBeth still lofted up a full run at the sloping green of hole 18. Just a bit high, the disc sat only momentarily before everyone else had finished the round and Paul had the distinct pleasure of tapping in his win.
Garrett Gurthie started the day in first but took his sweet time getting the engine going. It was a park job on the island hole 6 that got him back to a tie for first with Paul. But that was the last time he would be that close to our winner. That didn't keep him from playing some great golf though. He fell off the lead early, and even as far down as fifth but amended his fate with a flawless eagle three on the fourth hardest hole of the day – 16. It's pretty amazing Gurthie didn’t win, no one else got it to Circle 1 or straight up Parked for birdie than him, not Even Paul. It honestly was only the putting that kept him from keeping up with McBeth.
With only 17 and 18 left they had one beast left. 17 plays neutral (.3 over par on average) but 18 is the hardest hole of the course today, averaging almost a hole throw over par. He definitely brought the average down on 17 earning himself an all but easy birdie with a smash of a drive further than pretty much anyone else had made it on this hole. He earned himself a one throw lead over Chris and a chance at true second depending on how 18 played out. He didn’t end up needing it, but another classy birdie on 18 earned Double G a two throw win over Dickerson and his second second-place finish at the Jonesboro Open. I think it's safe to say he'll play this one again. Congrats Double G, that was a fabulous weekend of golf.
That leaves Chris Dickerson, finishing in third, as our last short story of the night. Head-to-head against any other player on pretty much any other day his 8 under par in these conditions could earn him a win or even a chance at a playoff. Much like Ricky Wysocki in WACO though, Dickerson found himself shredding in McBeth’s wake…with a good handful of players chomping at his heels. He even briefly gained a three throw lead over Garrett that took an eagle for Double G to close back up. By the eighteenth, a monster of an 818’ par 4, he was chasing one of the biggest arms in the sport by one. He didn’t quite get his approach to a makeable putt so had to let go of his dreams of a tie for second – it was already clear, par wasn’t going to be enough.
The day was filled with plenty of other great rounds of golf. Eagle McMahon's early charge had the makings of chasing even further up the ladder but even though he threw the second-best round of the day he was still three throws behind the best – you guess it Paul McBeth’s healthy 12 under par round. Paul Ulibarri had a tough second round but his first round 12 under plus his final round 8 under really kept him in it. Grady Shue and A.J. Risley also both eagled hole 16, and fun note: Shue bogeyed it in round one and then eagled it twice in a row. Now that’s what I call redemption. John Matlack hit a 202’ throw in eagle on hole 11….so, nice ace! With that, I’ll wrap this up by letting you know we’re taking a few weeks but we’ll see you in May for the San Francisco Open presented by Innova Champion Discs, oh and go play disc golf!
This article written by Zach Podhorzer. All photography credit to Alyssa Van Lanen.
2019 Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus: FPO Final Round Recap - What good's a playoff when it's tied after 12?Read Now
It might not have been snowing but the 2019 Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus threw it's own special recipe of conditions at the top pros battled it out in today’s final round. IT rained for most of the round and wind was the new normal, neither of which kept Paige Pierce from taking home a third consecutive win here in Jonesboro, AR. Forget about keeping it 100, Pierce kept it 1000, or 1008 to be specific when it comes to the final round rating. Decided on the 18th green, Catrina Allen took second, by a few throws over Henna Blumroos who took third by a few as well over Rebecca Cox’s fourth. The lead card may have separated themselves after round two, but it wasn’t the only battleground during this final round. Most pros will give you the same advice when it comes to thinking about comparing your scores to someone else's – play your game…until the last few holes, then, and only then, can you start thinking about a strategy in response to how things are going. But what about when you're tied heading into the last six holes of the tournament? Is that too early to consider it?
Well, with six to play Pierce took the lead with the birdie on 12 to maintain her bogey-free round headed into the final stretch. Both Pierce and Allen carded par on 13 before they stepped up to what Pierce thinks should be a par 3 but has been listed as a par 4. I doubt she would change her tune after today, but that doesn't make the moment any less dramatic. Pierce was hungry for a crush and put plenty on her BioFuzion Defender but caught some absurdly bad luck when she struck an OB stake on the far side of the OB stream and kicked directly back. She successfully lays up for par but that made it easy for Catrina to take the birdie. See the opportunity? Capitalize. As Val Jenkins was quick to remind us “it’s a game of inches”. Back to a tie. Let’s go.
On hole 15, Catrina rides that momentum to a park job – pressure on Pierce, whose OB drive the hole before put her at the back of the box. You don’t get to be the highest rated player in the world by cracking under the pressure though. Anything you can do I can do…too. Paige Pierce parks it. Like a quick and smooth single maneuver parallel parking job, they both dropped in their birdies and turned to hole 16 only to find two full cards waiting before they could play. In today’s conditions waiting can be a disaster. It's one thing if it's cold. It's one thing if it's wet. It's a-whole-nother thing when you’re facing both at once.
After the wait, players had to get back in the groove. Allen’s shot was a solid forehand, but certainly not perfect. On the other hand, Paige Pierce encountered tragedy when her flick just didn’t quite click. A short flight, resulting in a mediocre roll, is not what you are looking for when the competition is this tight. It’s not the drive that actually makes hole 16 the hardest hole on the course today but the up-shot across the water into a raging headwind. Paige was able to lay up and leave herself a look at par while Catrina had a chance at birdie. Catrina’s second shot came out of her hand moving right across the +300 ft water carry for just too long before catching it’s fade and getting acquainted with the defensive player of the day – the tree just short and right of 16’s basket. It caught Catrina's approach and Paige's too. With that, both players and Rebecca (3/4 of the lead card) headed to the drop zone. Catrina throwing four and Paige throwing five. Catrina left herself a tester of a putt while Paige put it a good bit closer. Catrina's missed putt left the pressure on Paige to make her double bogey just to keep the two tied. Cashed. Two to go – tie game.
Neither of our leader’s played 16, the hardest hole of the day, great but you know who did? Vanessa Van Dyken and Jessica Weese, the only two birdies on the day, who found themselves in a battle for fifth on the chase card. They stepped up to 18’s tee after Vanessa had spent most of the round struggling to score. Jessica Weese’s round looked a little different. She shot a roller coaster of a -3 with 8 birdies and 5 bogeys. They both bogeyed 17 and proceeded to 18, the third hardest hole of the day. Unlike other ties today, the two would end up finishing 18 with textbook pars and tied for fifth.
Back on the lead card, it was 16 that all but made concrete Henna's third-place finish and Rebecca's fourth. All four players took marginally different approaches to exactly the same result – par. They had watched the chase card play out on 17 and they would do the same on 18. 17 drew bids at birdies that turned into pars and the strolled on to their last wait of the day.
After exchanging the lead a handful of times Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen, the two highest rated players in the world, are tied on the tee of the final hole. Shivers. Straight shivers. This is why we watch. Catrina had the right to drive before Paige going off her birdie back on 14 (the last hole the two leaders didn’t tie). She took the hyzer route to a decent result. Paige Pierce pumped a perfect smash right up the middle in response. Catrina’s lie turned out to be wet but casual. There’s just been that much rain. When this much is on the line though you step right into the newly formed stream for your patent pending and rip a field drive up the hill. Paige’s drive gave her a moonshot of a chance at eagle but after seeing Catrina’s second shot Paige made the veteran play for birdie – leaving the pressure on Catrina.
Leaving her second shot behind a healthy tree on the right side of the fairway, Catrina stepped out for a second consecutive patent pending shot. She got a great snap on the throw, pushing it a little low but it hovered just above the ground and slid up to a meaty putt for birdie. Having thrown a putter on her second shot Paige went back to the well for more and drew up a great flip-to-flat approach to about 20 feet from the basket. Catrina stepped up to an almost 50-foot putt but out of her hand, she knew it wasn't enough – leaving it high and left. Pierce approached her lie and with no time and all sank the winning putt. And just like that, the round was over and I could feel my own blood pressure finally start to come back to a healthy balance. I can only imagine how tense that could have felt to play it.
Pierce admitted it in the post-round interview – her putting held her back from taking her score even lower – but she knows she knows how to throw a disc. Paige led the entire field in Fairways Hit, Circle 1, and Circle 2 in regulation. She shot the hot round in the first and last round making round 2 nothing but a stumble on her way to a last hole win over Catrina Allen, the player she has battled more than any other. Catrina's story is all but the same as Paige's - right up to the eighteenth hole. By no means should her showing this weekend be considered a loss. There’s not another player who Parked it more often than her. Can you even imagine what it would feel like to get a drop-in birdie one out of every four holes? Let alone all the birdies she made from further this weekend.
Today’s battle for first may have stolen the show but let’s not forget about Henna Blomroos or Rebecca Cox too quickly. It was only the dwindling of opportunities in the final round that kept Henna her from a chance to chase down the leaders. If she can clean up some of the bigger numbers she carded today this weekend would look a lot different for everyone. I'm sure her sponsors are more than stoked about her Third-place finish at their title event. Rebecca really showed up this weekend too, she tied Catrina Allen for first in birdies at a total 46%. That’s almost half of the holes! And it was only round three, in the coldest and toughest conditions the field faced, that kept Rebecca out of the running too. As was true for the rest of the lead card, she started the round ahead of Pierce but in a collection of rounds that includes -5 and a bogey-free 1000 rated -8, a +4 is just not like the others. No doubt about it, both of these players are on their way to being staples at the top of the leaderboard.
Before we wrap up this final round recap I wanted to put in a mention of some incredible young players this weekend that didn’t quite make it to the top but just need to be mentioned. Hailey King and Cynthia Ricciotti, both still in high school, registered for this event and really followed through. Of the 54 holes played this weekend King birdied 9 and Ricciotti birdied 10. This course is really long and they both threw it well. King was even the second best putter at the event, with 79% of her Circle 1X Putts made. King and Ricciotti will no doubt improve on their T14th and T17th place finishes in the years to come and likely are early signs of the next generation of women’s disc golf. And just like that, another stop of the 2019 DGPT has come to a close as Paige Pierce earns herself a hat trick of consecutive wins and her first 2019 DGPT win at the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus. We’re back in just a couple of weeks from the West Coast as we kick off the Second Annual San Francisco Open presented by Innova Champion Discs. Congrats Paige! See you back in the West!
This article written by Zach Podhorzer. All photography credit to Alyssa Van Lanen.
Lightning delays second round
The second round of the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus was delayed due to lightning storms. Play will resume Sunday at 7:30 AM which each men's card resuming on the hole that they had last played.
As always, go to DGPT.com/Weather for weather related updates.
Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus: FPO Round 2 Recap - Weather Holds Off Until the Final Holes for Moving DayRead Now
When the round started today the weather was not looking favorable. However, the weather held off and the women were able to make moves going into the final round of the Jonesboro Open.
Paige Pierce started the day with a one throw lead over Catrina Allen. By the time the lead card made the turn at hole nine that lead had moved to a three-way tie between Catrina Allen and Henna Blomroos.
Henna started the day hot, as she needed to because she was three throws off the lead. Both Henna and Catrina made up throws on Paige on the first two holes which helped to put them in position for the tie. Henna would make up the rest of her throws on Paige on holes eight and nine. On hole ten Henna would relinquish her part of the tie by taking a bogey, failing to capitalize on her scramble and two-putting. She dropped another throw on Paige and Catrina on hole 11 when she carded a par next to their two birdies. On hole 12 Paige regained her lead and Henna moved into a tie for second place when Catrina carded the bogey and Henna carded a birdie. On hole 13 things would change again when Catrina started her birdie streak and regained the lead. Catrina would continue her birdie run until hole sixteen where she would take a bogey and Henna would regain the lead making a birdie on seventeen. With the rain falling, the lead card made it to hole 18, and we had another lead change to end the day. In revisiting her nemesis from day one Henna bogied the final hole and Catrina grabbed a birdie to finish with the lead. Their rounds were rated 1008 and 1000 respectively.
Elsewhere on the course, Jennifer Allen had a solid round to help advance up the leaderboard going into the final day. Jennifer had an up and down round, but her birdies evened out her bogeys, and she was able to move up eight spots.
The weather does not look to be an issue tomorrow as the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus will wrap-up with the lead women's card teeing off at 10 AM ET. Make plans to tune in and watch because it will be a race to the finish here at Disc Side of Heaven.
Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus: MPO Round 1 Recap - Great Scoring in Ideal Scoring ConditionsRead Now
The Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus has wrapped up day one, and the scoring conditions could not have been better. After practice days that featured 30+ MPH winds, today it was 70 degrees with a slight breeze, and it could not have been a better day to kick off the event.
The first hot round in the clubhouse came from Emerson Keith. Emerson is a player who people are starting to know on the circuit and a player that you should know. Fans in Texas know who Emerson is and they know the quiet confidence he plays with that helps propel him to the top of the leaderboard like finished with early today. Emerson carded eight birdies in a row from hole three until hole ten. He started the streak with a throw-in from circle two and landed another circle two-putt on hole nine to keep his birdie streak alive. Emerson kept a 100% scramble rate which allowed him to finish with a -12 on the round.
Coming in quickly after Emerson was Paul Ulibarri. His round did not start the same as Emerson's though. Paul two-putted hole one from circle two to take his par to start the round. Paul did not begin his birdie streak until the 630ft Par 4 Hole Four. He was able to land his second throw within circle one for an easy birdie putt to start his push to the top of the leaderboard. Paul's additional success to propel him up to Emerson's -12 finish came on the back nine where he landed half of his birdies and scrambled on 17 after going OB to save his par. The most impressive part of Uli's round was his finish where he carded the birdie three on the 818 ft ending hole. His first drive made it down the fairway and around the corner putting him about 350ft out from the basket. He pured the line and landed within circle one for the easy three. Uli had the following to say about the round, "It was a really clean round, UDisc has a tracker for the most bogey-free rounds, and that is all I was thinking about today. I got lucky in the middle with a few shots that filtered OB, but I was able to make it up on the green and stay bogey free."
Local boy Kevin Jones was the one who stole the show today. He landed on the live card coverage as the event choice, and he came to play. After struggling on the first two holes of the course he landed a jump-putt to save par on hole two from just inside circle two, and he turned on the heat from there. He landed six of seven circle two putts to keep him in the hunt. Had he not struggled inside circle one today (he was only 67% inside circle one) he would have a commanding lead on the field. In regards to his putting, Kevin said: "after missing three putts inside the circle today it's clear I need to take a moment to shake off the nerves and focus; I may even switch things up and go with a spin putt tomorrow to see if that works." Going into tomorrow, Kevin said he is honored to be on the lead card, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of the home crowd. As it sits, Kevin finishes one throw back from Paul Ulibarri and Emerson Keith going into round two.
As we look to round two at the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus we will see that Garrett Gurthie will round out the lead card tomorrow tied with Kevin Jones at -11. Tomorrow the story will be the weather. Last year on Saturday we had snow during the FPO round; this year it looks like the story will be rain. Watch the weather, and we will plan to be live at 4:30 PM ET assuming there are no delays.
Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus: FPO Round 1 Recap - Battles Today, Battles Tomorrow, Battles Forever!Read Now
Now that is the kind of first round I like to see! Of our thirty player field, half of them finished even to par or better, and par is tentatively being rated at 930, well over many of the player’s ratings. Currently, Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen are giving me deja vu with their tie for first at six under par. When I spoke with Paige Pierce earlier this week for our Mind of a Champion spotlight, she predicted that she and Henna were going to battle this weekend. That foreshadowing could not be more accurate. Both players were selected to play on today’s feature card along with Madison Walker and Jennifer Allen and Henna put on one quality act after another right until the final hole. That said, the feature card was only a fraction of the fireworks in today’s pristine conditions - just a little wind, plenty of sun, and dry. It’s good the field made great use of the scoring opportunity because the forecast is not looking great.
Paige Pierce persistently produced parked drives and upshots today. A two time champion of the Jonesboro Open finished her round six under. She started the day slow, mostly due to a high putting problem in Circle 1, costing her two two-putts in a row to miss a birdie and settle for par in both cases. A bogey on hole five was all the motivation she needed to start fighting back. And fight back she did, with six birdies and one park-job of an eagle in thirteen holes. Ask for a battle with Henna and you shall receive it. After Henna’s struggles at the beginning of 18, she had thrown four shots before Paige was throwing her second. And throw that second shot she did giving her a long sniff of a second eagle. The line was pure, but the putt was low. And in the words of Valarie Jenkins, “The best three words in disc golf - tap in birdie!” Which come to think of it pretty much sums up Paige’s round - 29% Parked.
No one could beat Catrina off the tee today, leading the pack in Circle 1 & 2 in Regulation, sadly 20 of the 30 player field putted better than Catrina. Only Paige Pierce beat her on Parked Percentages. That’s okay though because when you give yourself a look at the basket 72% of the time, you can still card eight birdies at a total six under par thanks to her two bogeys. If she can just bring the Circle 1X Putting up a bit higher she is going to be all but unstoppable. With this many players shooting so far under par though there’s plenty of pros with something to say about it. Catrina has more than earned her spot on tomorrow’s lead card and I can’t wait to watch her shred it.
Rebecca Cox may be one of the players on the lead card who didn’t finish the day at six under par but it doesn’t mean she didn’t touch it during her round. It was ultimately a bogey hole 17 that kept her from her share of a tie for the lead. Compared to the rest of the lead card, Rebecca did her work on the green, putting 82% in Circle 1X and 60% from Circle 2. It was a small handful of errant drives or upshots that kept her from being tied for first. She had just as many birdies as Catrina and one more than Paige but just three bogeys are holding her back.
Henna took sole possession of the lead with her drop-in solo birdie on hole 17. Henna’s first of only two real mistakes of the day came much, much early - hole three to be precise. Her drive was a great throw, but only a few degrees too far to the left, where it leaked out of bounds. But you don’t get to be one of the highest rated players by letting one bad break get to you. After that, she never went more than three holes in a row without a birdie. It’s day one, and on the 18th teepad you have the lead, hit the gap and finish without a blemish - you’ve got two more rounds of possibility left to make your moves. Her final drive of the day leaked left, caught the trees and then went missing….for probably all of the allowed 2 minutes and 59 seconds to find her disc. Her drive was found, a bit of rough in the way she fired off a sidearm and trickled just out into the fairway. After quickly collecting herself she went back to the well and pulled up some good fortune - putting a great forehand down the fairway. Birdie and even par were out of the question, but Henna let go of her possession of first with a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole. With that single hole, she went from the top of tomorrow’s lead card to the back.
Long story short, here’s what I’m telling you - believe it or not. Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen (the two highest rated players in the world are tied for first), right behind them are Rebecca Cox who has been shooting a ton of hot rounds lately, and Henna Blumroos, new to the US scene but still the fourth highest rated player in the division. Tomorrow’s card might get caught in the rain but I don’t think anything can put out the fire that this level of competition has sparked in all of the pros. Make sure you’re out of bed and have your coffee by 10 AM EST tomorrow when the lead card takes back to Disc Side of Heaven for the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus.
This article written by Staff Editor and Writer Zach Podhorzer. All photography credit to Alyssa Van Lanen.
DGPT Changes Post-Production Plans, Opens Coverage of MPO1, MPO2, and FPO1 to Independent Media TeamsRead Now
Last week, The Disc Golf Pro Tour announced a change to live coverage plans, renewing a deal with Smashboxx TV, a long time partner of the Tour. Spurred on by challenges with coverage during the start of the 2019 season, this move was a divergence from the off-season plan that also saw post-production video come in-house, under the DGPT banner, in order to improve live coverage. Today, the DGPT is happy to announce that there will also be changes to the post-production media structure for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Starting at the San Francisco Open, all post-production video coverage will be shifted outside of the Tour and will be handled by partner media companies. Plans to cover MPO1, FPO1, and MPO2 have been put in place for all of the Tour’s remaining events. However, as this transition takes place, post production for the Jonesboro Open will be handled by SmashboxxTV, who will be creating SmashCutts of the live broadcast for MPO1 and FPO1 and publishing those the next day on the SmashboxxTV YouTube channel. The DGPT continues to strive to provide high quality post-production coverage of as many cards as possible, now through assigning independent media teams instead of producing coverage internally. In fact, the Tour has already locked in the coverage schedule for the remainder of 2019.
After reaching out to the DGPT Tournament Directors, Steve Dodge notes everything came into place quickly. “The way the season started with media rightly shook the faith of our tournament directors a little and we wanted to reassure them that we were taking steps to meet any commitments to the tournaments and their sponsors the rest of the way. That included discussing their opinions on how they would like to approach post-production for their events and how that could align with our alterations.”
For most events, the MPO1 and FPO1 will be handled by Par Save Productions. Par Save has helped with DGPT post-production during the first two events of 2019. Allowing Par Save to fully take over means changes in resources and process, allowing post-production to be high quality. “We decided to focus on quality over speed at Waco and released all MPO1 & FPO1 footage on the Thursday following the event. Moving forward, allowing Par Save to take over full production of post lets them plan for next day releases of MPO1 and FPO1 footage” said Dodge.
Several events will feature other independent media teams. While many media teams have their season schedules already set, there was an opportunity for several teams to join events where their schedules allowed. At three events, JomezPro was available to cover MPO1 post production; the Portland Open presented by Bevel Craft Brewing, the Ledgestone Insurance Open presented by Discraft, and Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship at Smugglers’ Notch Resort. Jeff Spring, a DGPT advisor and the TD for two of those events notes, “The tournament directors of the Pro Tour appreciate Steve’s willingness to change and adapt to the challenges faced at the start of the season and to the current media landscape which continues to evolve quickly. The vision of the Tour remains strong and his responsiveness and ability to keep evolving is a strength of the DGPT.” Central Coast Disc Golf was also able to commit to six events of MPO2 coverage and Gatekeeper Media will also be stepping in to handle coverage at some events.
Fans of the Tour can look forward to a more robust slate of post-production coverage than ever for the remainder of the 2019 season:
Jonesboro Open present by Play It Again Sports
MPO1 - Smashboxx
FPO1 - Smashboxx
The San Francisco Open presented by absoluteXtracts
MPO1 - Par Save
MPO2 - Central Coast Disc Golf*
FPO1 - Par Save
*Pending Final Confirmation
The Portland Open presented by Bevel Craft Brewing
MPO1 - JomezPro
MPO2 - Central Coast Disc Golf
FPO1 - Par Save
Ledgestone Insurance Open presented by Discraft:
MPO1 - JomezPro
MPO2 - Central Coast Disc Golf
FPO1 - Par Save
Discraft Great Lakes Open:
MPO1 - Par Save Productions
MPO2 - Central Coast Disc Golf*
FPO1 - Par Save Productions
*Pending Final Confirmation
Idlewild Open driven by Innova:
MPO1 - Par Save Productions
MPO2 - Central Coast Disc Golf*
FPO1 - Par Save Productions
*Pending Final Confirmation
MPO1 - Par Save Productions
MPO2 - Central Coast Disc Golf
FPO1 - Par Save Productions
Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship at Smugglers’ Notch Resort
MPO1 - JomezPro
MPO2 - Gatekeeper Media
FPO1 - Par Save Productions
In fact, there is room for more coverage to develop as other independent media teams still have the chance to jump in on the schedule. The DGPT allows for the creation of a feature card and shot-by-shot coverage of any card FPO2/MPO3 or lower for a small fee to obtain the media rights.
Overall, the DGPT is excited to move forward with these changes in post-production, once again re-engaging past partners in order to improve 2019 media coverage of the tour and deliver a product that fans of the Tour and the sport of disc golf can enjoy.
Additionally, this weekend you will be able to watch the live coverage exclusively on https://www.dgpt.tv and on your Roku under the Disc Golf Network app. If you have questions regarding how to get things set up or watch this weekend, follow these instructions for installing DGN on your Roku.
Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus: MPO Preview - GOATs, Raptors, and Eagles...Oh My!Read Now
Wow, does the season move fast or what? It’s almost the end of tax season and we’ve seen so many events with quite the variety of winners. As we draw closer and closer to Friday we are now less than 24 hours away from the first tee times of the 2019 Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus. Our Mind of a Champion interviews are already up for your reading pleasure – this time I'm talking with Ricky Wysocki and Paige Pierce. Their perspective on the course and their respective fields has me super excited to watch it all unfold this weekend. Ricky finally picked up his first A-Tier win with his new sponsor, Innova, but at this point, it's hard to predict who he'll have to dance with if he wants to defend his title again. But let's get to the research.
Measuring in at just about 10,000 feet, Disc Side of Heaven will test every pro’s proficiency with their distance drivers and on their upshots. The greens are generally open but make sure you land those upshots softly because a little roll can quickly yield disastrous results on these well-groomed grassy grades. That’s what this Arkansas beauty offers better than almost any course – a clean and consistent playing surface with ample elevation and just enough foliage. It is almost reminiscent of legendary courses like Konopiste in the Czech Republic or the Toboggan Course in Grand Rapids, MI. Precision is always important, but here at Jonesboro, the course management allows for throwing difficult lines to be the factor most likely to set the winner apart from the pack. So who's season is shaping up from the tee and the fairway?
It’s probably easiest to start from the top and work our way down from there – Paul McBeth. Arguably the hottest player of the year, he is currently the highest rated player in the world at healthy 1054 and is also leading in our DGPT power rankings. Any day of the year, Paul McBeth is the guy to beat, but right now he’s on an upward trend with a new bag – an equation that may be moving the consensus closer and closer to accepting his all mighty G.O.A.T.iness. Just take a look at his season stats.
He is leading the entire field in Circle 1 and Circle 2 Greens in Regulation and Birdies. How do you beat someone who only bogey’s 4% of the time? That means over the course of a three-day event you can expect him to make two, TWO, mistakes he doesn’t clean up with a healthy dose of scrambled eggs. Which, now that it comes up, he’s pretty good at too, cleaning an 80% of his scrambles, so he is sadly only in 3rd place there. I’d call his putting a weak point of his game, but that’s simply a numbers game right now. At his most recent event, Throw Down the Mountain, McBeth was literally perfect in Circle 1X and cleaned 54% from Circle 2! I’d say he found the problem with his early season putt and completely eradicated it. So who can even challenge a guy that has thrown two 18 under par perfect rounds in the last 10 months?
If anyone can beat McBeast right now it’s likely to be his trusty arch-rival Ricky Wysocki or the “new” persistent variable that is Eagle McMahon. Definitely take a read of my Mind of a Champion interview with Ricky to hear where his head is at for this one – TLDR: Ricky’s ready for a repeat. If there’s anyone who knows how to keep his momentum going it’s Wysocki. Good thing he finally found some momentum after a little bit of a slow start this year. His Texas States Championship win was a nice addition to his collection of over 100 career wins, but he also didn’t have to face McBeth there. Only weeks before he had been forced to live in Paul’s shadow as his 16 under, which is a fantastic round, lost the spotlight to McBeth’s -18. But Ricky is not one to ever stop charging, even when he has a lead he usually doesn’t change up the game plan and that game plan is usually birdie, birdie, birdie….and so on. I won’t be surprised to see these two tango.
As for the lanky bird, Eagle is ranked second in Pro Tour Points and on the National Tour Points right now for a reason. He’s throwing almost as many birdies as McBeth and making just as few mistakes. Where Eagle has seen some “struggle” off the tee and from the fairway, he’s pretty much making up for all of that on the green – where he’s ranked second for making 91% of his Circle 1X putts. But compare his stats to McBeth’s from the tee and you’ll see the ~5% point difference.
McBeth is giving himself an average of 1 or 2 more looks at the basket than McMahon, and giving our most recent data point for his putting (100% C1X) I’d say that could easily result in a couple throw gap between the two of them this weekend. Especially on a course like Disc Side of Heaven where the greens are all mostly wide open, throwing well enough to make your putts easy will be the most direct path to victory.
Realistically, there are a couple of handful of guys who could put a winning weekend together right now. The skill saturation of the field is so high that it takes a big spike to stand out above everyone else. And now, if you have that spike you're up against the chances that McBeth could drop another 18, or the unstoppable raptor legs chasing down 40 footers like their 20s, or the unstoppable cloud-breaking force that is Eagle. Make the lead card and chances are you'll be facing one, two, or all three of them. That is not a set of card mates you can count on to make mistakes. Some likely names for that fourth hypothetical spot could be any of the pros who are slaying lines this year – Josh Anthon and Seppo Paju have actually hit more Fairways than any of the top three have this year totally 87%. Garrett Gurthie is the only one who has bested Eagle on Parked shots. Alex Russel, a relatively new name compared to all the legends and veterans in this article is currently the best Scrambler on the tour.
I won't be surprised to see any of these folks in the hunt, but it’s hard to say what this weather might do to everyone’s game. Who knows, sometimes needing to prove yourself competitive at the elite level takes precedence over the need to reassert yourself as the standard of elite play. Whatever happens, I know it's going to be great to watch and I'll be watching all of it live, starting at 10 AM EST for FPO and 4:30 PM EST for MPO tomorrow. Don't miss any of the action, because the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus is shaping up to be a clash of the 2019 titans and then some.
This article written by Staff Editor and Writer Zach Podhorzer. All photography credit to Alyssa Van Lanen.
Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open Presented By Prodiscus: FPO Preview - Your Guess Is As Good As Mine!Read Now
We are only days from the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open Presented By Prodiscus now so it’s time to do our research. I caught up with Paige Pierce and Ricky Wysocki to hear about how they are getting ready for the event this year, so make sure not to miss those interviews. Last year in Arkansas, Paige Pierce pretty much ran away with the win – finishing the event ten ahead of the rest of the group. But the start of 2018 looked a lot different than the start of 2019. As of right now, it seems like there are a handful of players that could snag a win while last year at this time we were wondering if Paige could make a full sweep of the season. In 2018 the Jonesboro Open ended up being the last win on her perfect streak, but this year she might just make it a part of the announcement that she’s back in fine form. She just picked up an A-Tier win at the Nick Hyde which she will look to keep going at Disc Side of Heaven this weekend.
In 2018 there might not have been a tight battle for first but there was practically bumper-to-bumper traffic to get to second. Madison Walker, Jennifer Allen, Sarah Hokom, and Catrina Allen were all in contention for second but it was Madison’s charge from the chase card and Jennifer’s steady play that earned them a tie for second. Hokom struggled to string together any meaningful amount of birdies, but that earned her sole possession of fourth as Catrina Allen struggled on the green – resulting in her worst round of the event and fifth place. All of these pros are signed up but they won’t be up against only each other, there’s plenty of other players looking to make their mark on the Pro Tour this year. We are especially excited to see the increased size of the FPO field with a total of 30 players registered.
Disc Side of Heaven, even for the top pros, is not an easy course. Watching from home the fairways may look wide but the lines are clever and demand persistent attention to the details. It’s certainly not a birdie-or-die kind of an event, well that is for most of the players. Paige Pierce on the other hand still holds the course record with her twelve under (54) during round one of 2018 (sadly not caught on tape). But the next day the weather came for her and she scored a 70, sixteen worse than her first round and four over par. Speaking of which, if you somehow missed this last year, let me remind you that during round two of the 2018 Jonesboro Open it snowed for the women’s rounds. Certainly not your typical weather for Arkansas in April. This year things are looking like they might be wet but they won't be nearly as cold.
If you’re trying to make your fantasy picks for this week, good luck! Sure, we can look at the past couple times the pros have taken to this track but there are so many competitive names that we have no track record for here or who’s play has greatly improved over last season. For example, take Hannah Blumroos from Rauma, Finland. She’s currently 960 rated, making her the fourth highest rated FPO player in the world. This might be her first tour in the US but something tells me jetlag alone won’t keep her from chasing down a win at an event sponsored by her sponsor, Prodiscus. Or what about Paige Bjerkaas, she is the current reigning world champ and has already collected an NT win? She’s no slouch when it comes to distance and her Kansas experience makes her no stranger to windy open greens. All I’m trying to say is this, I have no idea who’s gonna walk away victorious this weekend, your guess is as good as mine. But I know I'll be tuning in to watch it all unfold live, starting Friday at 10 AM EST. Make sure you don't miss it either.
This article written by Staff Editor and Writer Zach Podhorzer. All photography credit to Alyssa Van Lanen.
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