McBeth dominates Vibram Open en route to NT title

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Dominance.

That is the only word to describe the display Paul McBeth put on Sunday en route to winning the Vibram Open at Maple Hill and securing the PDGA National Tour Elite Series Championship.

Paul McBeth clinched the PDGA National Tour title with a 13-stroke victory at the Vibram Open. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

Heading into the final round of play with a four-shot lead over Will Schusterick, McBeth got hot early and shot a course-record 14-under par 45, good enough for a 1119-rated round. The hot round left him with a 33-under 203 for the tournament, earning him the $3,000 purse with a 13-stroke victory.

Schusterick earned $2,400 and a second-place finish with his 20-under par 216, while Cale Leiviska and Cam Colglazier tied for third and $1,875 with 19-under 217s. Paul Ulibarri’s 15-under 221 was good for fifth place and $1,500.

The win marked the sixth major tournament championship in 2013 for McBeth, who recently won his second straight world championship.

Once he got locked in on Sunday, McBeth said it was only a matter of how far under par he would finish.

“I think once I was up nine, I knew I pretty much won the tournament,” he said. “I think I was at like 10-under with six holes to play, and I just looked over to someone I was following and I said, ‘Well, I guess it’s just time to see how low I can go.’”

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Vibram Open to settle National Tour races

By P.J. Harmer & Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Updated 4:36 p.m. EST

One final showdown will settle the PDGA’s National Tour this weekend at Maple Hill in Leicester, Mass.

The Vibram Open, the closing tournament of the National Tour Elite Series, will be where points-leader Paul McBeth looks to hold off Ricky Wysocki. The tournament runs Thursday through Sunday.

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Tee times start at 7:45 a.m. local time Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Players begin playing at 8 a.m. on the final day.

The Vibram will also pay out more than $50,000 in prize money. The men will split $45,000, with the winner earning $3,000. Second place is $2,400 and third place gets $2,000. The women, with a field of 15, will split $7,000. The winner earns $1,500, second is $1,200 and third will get $1,000.

That strong payout is something tournament director Steve Dodge said players have come to look forward to each year, and has contributed to the tournament’s growing stature.

“Consistently having a $50,000-plus payout – I think this is our third year that we’ve gone over $50,000 – and setting up everybody for success – here’s exactly what our payout is, here’s exactly how everything’s going to work, and having that all laid out well in advance – gives the touring players and all the locals something significant that they know is going to happen,” Dodge said.

“It’s like Christmas,” he continued. “It’s a given. You know it’s happening, you know it’s going to be really fun, and you want to be there.”

Plus, the tournament is competitive, as the women and men have tight races for the NT series championship on the line.

On the men’s side, four players are within 24 points of the lead. But, the reality is unless something drastic happens with McBeth and Wysocki, one of them will be claiming the men’s tour title Sunday in Leicester.

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Schusterick overcomes heat, himself to win Beaver State Fling

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster season for Will Schusterick.

After a dubious, dramatic playoff victory at the Memorial that found him in it only because of a scorecard error, he then posted an eighth place finish at the Texas State Championships, followed by 13th and 10th place National Tour showings.

Will Schusterick throws during this past weekend’s Beaver State Fling. (photo courtesy PDGA Media).

A couple of top-five finishes later, though, and as the season rolls toward the World Championships it seems Schusterick is peaking again at the right time.

The fourth-ranked player in the world took a share of the lead early at last weekend’s Beaver State Fling in Estacada, Oregon and never looked back, holding on for a two shot victory with a 35-under-par 209 to earn $3,600 in prize money.

Nate Doss shot a 33-under 211 to take second place and earn $2,300, while Ricky Wysocki and Dave Feldberg tied for the third place purse of $1,685 with 32-under 212s. Adam Hunt threw a 31-under 213 to round out the top five and take home $1,400.

Heading into Sunday’s final round with a two-stroke lead over Feldberg, Schusterick said his consistently long drives saved him on a day where he lost his putting stroke for the first part of the round.

“I actually missed seven putts inside the circle the last round, but they were all for birdie,” Schusterick said. “I was putting horribly the last round. Like, terrible.”

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Beaver State Fling could help settle the dust for the National Tour

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

And then there were two.

The 2013 PDGA National Tour has but two events remaining this season and this weekend’s Beaver State Fling could truly set the tone for the season-ending Vibram Open, which is set for mid-August.

BSFThe Beaver State Fling, which is being held Friday through Sunday at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada, Oregon, has a total of 159 players registered, as of Thursday morning. Of that total, 79 are in the men’s draw and 24 in the women’s. The rest make up the masters’ divisions.

Adding more to the storyline are those players who are still contending for the National Tour series championship are all signed up.

That includes the top five in the men’s — where five players are within 65 points of one another. In all reality, though, if nothing catastrophic happens, it’s a two-man race between current leader Paul McBeth (475 points) and Ricky Wysocki (463.5).

Should those two falter, Nikko Locastro (453) is within striking distance, with Will Schusterick (424.5) and Dave Feldberg (410) as long shots.

Take into account, however, that of the first seven NT events, only the top five will count toward the final standings. Those totals will be added to the Vibram Open finish to decide the final NT champion.

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McBeth puts on his Sunday best for KCWO win

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

Sunday just seems to be Paul McBeth’s day.

After trailing Nikko Locastro by two strokes heading into the final day of play at last weekend’s Kansas City Wide Open, the reigning World Champion shot a combined 73 over 27 holes to leapfrog Locastro and secure the win and the $2,240 payout with a 47-under par 224.

Paul McBeth earned his second National Tour victory of the year this past weekend, rallying to win the Kansas City Wide Open. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

Nate Doss notched his highest National Tour finish of the season, earning $1,715 for second place with a 42-under 229, while Locastro finished in third with a 39-under 232 to win $1,310. Paul Ulibarri (-37, 234) and Will Schusterick (-32, 209 without Final 9 participation) rounded out the Top 5.

For McBeth, his Sunday performance followed the pattern of his other two big victories this year at the “Steady” Ed Memorial Master’s Cup and the Copenhagen Open — play solid opening rounds to stay within a few throws of contention, then play lights out on the final day to blow past the competition.

The 22-year-old said the finality of a tournament’s last day motivates him to succeed.

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PDGA National Tour heads into home stretch at KCWO

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

With two events remaining before the season-ending Vibram Open, Ricky Wysocki has opened his lead in the PDGA National Tour and will look to widen it even more at this weekend’s Kansas City Wide Open.

It’s the 31st running of the annual event, which has 80 players registered as of Thursday morning.

kcwoThough not a massive field — it’s the second-lowest turnout for an NT event this year, ahead of just the Hall of Fame Classic — the top 10 players in the men’s standings and seven of the top 10 in the women’s are slated to play.

The standings can change quickly, though, as only the top five of the first seven events for each player, as well as the Vibram, will count in the final standings.

With fewer events remaining, however, Wysocki has established himself as the man to beat. This weekend’s event runs Friday through Sunday on four courses in Kansas City.

Two rounds are scheduled for Friday with the first at Water Works Park and the second at Rosedale Park. Round three is at Blue Vally Park on Saturday and the fourth round is at Swope Park Gold on Sunday. That’s followed by the final nine at 2 p.m. local time, also at Swope Park Gold.

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Wysocki extends NT points lead; Hokom takes women’s crown

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

Elevation? No problem.

Bum leg? Not an issue.

Course record? No big deal. Twice.

Ricky Wysocki earned his third National Tour event of the season this past weekend at the Great Lakes Open. (photo courtesy of PDGA Media)

That sums up Ricky Wysocki’s performance at this past weekend’s Great Lakes Open National Tour Series event, where the Prodigy phenom racked up his third NT victory with a three-round 32-under-par 154.

Prodigy teammate Garrett Gurthie shot a 23-under par 163 to place second, and Will Schusterick and Devan Owens tied for third place with 22-under 164s. Paul McBeth rounded out the top five with a 24-under 165, which took place at the much-revered Toboggan Championship Course at Kensington Metropark in Milford, Michigan.

As has been the case in the other events he has won this year, though, this one was all Wysocki from the first day.

After Owens held the lead briefly with a course-record 52 on Friday, Wysocki bested the score later that day with an 11-under 51. Wysocki then took that one shot lead and extended it to six by throwing a 1077-rated 50 – breaking his own Toboggan course record, all while playing through a calf injury – on Saturday.

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Wysocki looking to pad lead, win third NT event of season

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Four down, four to go.

With four PDGA National Tour events in the books, it’s still anybody’s game when it comes to claiming the championship. Four tournaments remain and the top five players are quite close to one another.

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There’s one thing to remember, though. Only the top five of of the first seven events for each player, as well as the season-ending Vibram Open will count in the final standings. Therefore, the current rankings could jump around as the season moves along.

Four events remain, including this weekend’s Great Lake’s Open, which runs Friday through Sunday in Milford, Mich.

The tournament will run one round per day at the Toboggan Championship course at Kensington MetroPark.

Ricky Wysocki, who has won two National Tour events this year, is on top of the standings with 363.5 points. Just behind is Nikko Locastro with 362. Dave Feldberg (334) is third, followed by Will Schusterick (318) and Paul McBeth (290). McBeth didn’t play in the last NT event, however.

Wysocki is the top-ranked player in the Disc Golf Rankings, an independent ratings system devised by Vibram’s Steve Dodge and sponsored by Prime Discs, Vibram and Rattling Chains. Wysocki was also recently named the 2012 Male Player of the Year.

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Rain can’t stop Ricky in National Tour victory

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Mother Nature had nothing on Ricky Wysocki.

Despite a weekend filled with rain, Wysocki stayed calm and played a little speed golf to earn his second PDGA National Tour championship of the year with a victory at the Hall of Fame Classic in Appling, Georgia, on Sunday.

Ricky Wysocki earned his second National Tour victory of the season this past weekend in Appling, Georgia. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

Wysocki, who finished with a four-round 44-under-par 228 to earn a four-stroke victory over Nikko Locastro, won $2,700. Locastro earned $1,800.

“I came early and was here right after (the Masters Cup),” Wysocki said. “It’s been a tough schedule the past few weeks. Now it’s time to relax for a week and then get back to the normal tour.”

The Hall of Fame Classic was the second of back-to-back NT stops. The week before, the tour was in Santa Cruz, California, at the “Steady” Ed Memorial Masters Cup.

The distance between the two tournaments is roughly 2,500 miles. And with several top pros heading to Europe for this week’s Copenhagen Open, it left the Classic with 65 players (39 in men’s open), the smallest field of this year’s four NT events.

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Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic low on turnout, but still big on competition

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Sandwiched between last weekend’s “Steady” Ed Masters Cup and next weekend’s Copenhagen Open, it seems that the Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic is getting lost in the tournament shuffle.

Case in point: Only 65 players were pre-registered as of Thursday evening for the National Tour event taking place Friday through Sunday at the International Disc Golf Center in Appling, Georgia. That number is just shy of half of the participants in the Texas State Championship (116) and a mere third of those who played last week in Santa Cruz (171).

Nikko Locastro will be seeking his first NT win of the season this weekend in Georgia. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

And while plenty of big names will attend this weekend’s festivities at the home of the PDGA — Ken Climo, Will Schusterick, Nikko Locastro, , Ricky Wysocki, Dave Feldberg, Paige Pierce, and Sarah Hokom headline the bill — the list of pros not making the trek is almost as impressive as those playing.

Current National Tour leader and reigning world champion Paul McBeth? Absent. Masters Cup runner-up Philo Brathwaite? Playing a tournament in Oceanside, California. Former world champion Eric McCabe? An upstate New York tourney. Perennial tour standouts Nate Doss, Val Jenkins and Avery Jenkins? Hanging out elsewhere.

So, as some players use Georgia as a layover on their way to Europe and others simply skip out, the Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic may not feel like the big event that it is.

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