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Swing Shift: MPO Round 3

The Mens’s (MPO) lead card for round 3 at the Memorial Championship presented by Discraft contained some names you might be familiar with if you are a true
fan of disc golf, Cale Leiviska, Simon Lizotte, Paul McBeth, and Ricky Wysocki. In a dramatic turn of events, Ricky turned in a scorecard after round 2 that showed him leading the field by 2 strokes but due to a score discrepancy, he was assessed a two stroke penalty that brought him down to -18 to share 3rd place with Paul McBeth.
The beginning of the men’s round could only be described as a delicately played game of chess. The lines at this point were well defined in the minds of these pros. What made all the difference, as it so often does, was sinking putts. Cale Leiviska was one of the early leaders carding an impressive -10 the first day and managing the same score on his second round.That solidified his spot on the lead card and redefined the definition of consistency. Cale’s stats are nearly even across the board after round 2, highlighting his consistent game. Cale found himself a bit tentative with the putter early on. His disc fell short the first two holes until he found his groove executing 6 consecutive birdies. His momentum finally slowed by carding a bogey on hole #9, missing a putt well within his range. However, Cale’s solid play ensured he would be in striking distance for the final round, only three strokes off the lead.
Coming from a fan perspective, nothing is more exciting than watching the old-guard return to glory. Today, spectators had the privilege of experiencing the resurgence of Dave Feldberg. Just off of his Masters win at the Gentlemen’s Club Challenge and more importantly back from a surgery to repair a vertebrae. He may have stalled slightly, but he finished strong showing the young guns that he has the stuff to keep up with anyone in the field or just maybe he’s been mended with bionic hardware. Time will tell.
Ricky Wysocki has been in the position of leading tournaments before and he seems to understand the art of fending off his foes in order to claim a victory.Now trailing unexpectedly, Ricky must find the resolve to push aside the score miscommunication and rise above. With all the position swings that the Memorial had seen thus far it’s been no easy task for the champion to take command of the lead. Ricky’s 83% in fairway hits speaks volumes as to the reason he has remained in the hunt. To say Wysocki had a great start would be an enormous understatement. With laser accuracy, he birdied the first 4 holes in a row. But his run would not last for long as he sprinkled in 3 bogeys to fall behind late in the day. Ricky still managed to grind out a low score to card a -26 and a tie for 3rd with Nate Sexton.
Paul McBeth started the day in a position that he might not be used to. The master of smooth technique needed to play flawless disc golf. If Paul played his game, executed his shots, and stayed cool under pressure there isn’t much doubt that a victory could be well within his grasp. The statistical fact that really stands out for Paul McBeth is his 85% rate of successful putts from the circle 2 in regulation. No other player on his card could reach that level of putting though round 2 or 3.
Stealing the headlines today was, once again, the rise of Nate Sexton who shared the hot round today of -11 with Paul McBeth. He played like a man possessed, turning in a scorecard with no bogeys and an astonishing 11 birdies to put himself in position to tie Ricky Wysocki for 3rd place and a spot on the lead card for the final day.
Paul’s start today couldn’t be consider rough by any stretch of the imagination, yet with the level of skill that the lead card brought to the table, any deviation from absolute perfection resulted in his slow descent down the leaderboard. One of Paul’s many strengths is his ability to execute a shot when he watches his competition make a mistake. Perhaps he can smell blood in the water because he did just that several times throughout the day chipping away at Wysocki’s advantage until he found himself tied for the lead. Battling back and forth with Simon Lizotte and finally carding a -29 to tie the young player.
Simon Lizotte, the wonder kid from Germany has easily made a statement at this year’s Memorial Championship, presented by Discraft. Coming back from a season-ending injury, Simon has shown that he still has the skills to rise to the top of men’s disc golf. Carding birdies 63% of the time throughout the event is staggering and if continued can hardly slow his scoring down. The young player kept pace with whichever leader happened to take the top slot next. He finished the day tied for the lead with Paul and hoping to grab the title tomorrow.
Throughout the third round the competition was so tight, and so fierce that the leaderboard changed numerous times as each player fought for position. On the lead card for tomorrow’s final round will be Paul McBeth, Simon Lizotte, Nate Sexton, and Ricky Wysocki. If this day is any indication of what Saturday’s final round has in store for the fans, we should all expect fireworks as our heroes slug it out to crown a champion at the Memorial Championship, presented by Discraft.