It is the week of the Ledgestone Insurance Open presented by Discraft. After much anticipation, the largest payout of the season is within reach.
As spectators of the sport, many are figuring out who their favorites are to win this weekend. In this article, we look at stats over the past two years of the Ledgestone Insurance Open to see what it took for Paul McBeth and Josh Anthon to bring home the win the MPO division the past two years.
Accuracy is key
If the title of the article did not already give it away, accuracy off the tee is the key to winning the Ledgestone Insurance Open. While this may seem like a misnomer, at other tournaments this season we have seen that putting or scrambling are the keys to winning. It only fits that one of the most OB ridden courses on the tour features accuracy off the tee as the must-have skill to win.
While it is easy to say accuracy off the tee is what it takes to win, it is more astonishing to see that it is not pure accuracy, it is the ability to reach both circle one and circle two in regulation. In regulation is the term is always two less than the par of the hole. Reaching a circle in regulation means a player is in position for a birdie putt.
What are the benefits of reaching C1 & C2 in regulation?
A player who has reached Circle One or Circle Two in regulation has been able to avoid the pesky OB on the Lake Eureka course while also giving themselves a putt for birdie.
Even though Lake Eureka is a distance and accuracy course, there are plenty of opportunities to score.
In 2016 Paul McBeth (who was already leading the tournament at the time) dissected the Lake Eureka course carding a -14 final day. During that round, Paul missed two circle two putts for birdie, one for eagle, and had one OB stroke. It could have easily been an -18 or more had he been able to convert in those circumstances.
In 2017 Josh Anthon did much of the same. However, he made his statement early, carding a -12 first day. It is important to note the course lengthened significantly from 2016 to 2017 adding just short of 1,000 feet to the course. In 2016 the Lake Eureka course was 8,888ft, and in 2017 it expanded to 9,723ft. But that is only half of the story; the par also got harder. That's right; the par went from 64 in 2016 down to 63 in 2017. While on face it looks like Paul McBeth's final round was more impressive when you take these factors into account Josh Anthon's opening round was as impressive if not more impressive than Paul's round.
The stats break down.
So when we say accuracy is vital, just how accurate do you have to be? In 2016 Paul McBeth made C1 in regulation on 60% of the holes he played and C2 82% of the time. In 2017 Josh Anthon carded 56% and 74% respectively. Anthon's drop in percentage has a direct correlation to the increase in distance at Lake Eureka.
How the 2018 Ledgestone Insurance Open is shaking out
This year, players will be dealing with additional shifts in the course layout as eight of the holes will be adjusted from last year. Two holes, six and thirteen, will feature A and B pin positions which will play from the A position on Thursday and Saturday and the B position on Friday and Sunday. Holes seven and eleven which were two of the easiest holes last year are both longer, and hole ten was shortened to create more scoring opportunities.* Additionally, hole eight has seen the tee moved forward and the basket pushed back in order to create a tougher green.**
The field is stacked for the largest payout of the season. Will we see one of the previous champions in Josh Anthon or Paul McBeth come out on top this year? Or, will another player with distance and accuracy take the top of the podium? Will it be a household name or an up and comer? Make sure to tune in at 4 PM ET August 9-12th to catch the MPO players taking on the Lake Eureka course for the 2018 Ledgestone Insurance Open presented by Discraft.
*Sentence originally stated hole forteen was shortened this year, this was due to an error in the hole length listed on Udisc from 2017.
**Sentence added to notate the changes made to hole 8 which were not originally noticed based on the changes in hole distance.
Article written by DGPT VP of PR Seth Fendley
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