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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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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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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Texas State Championships puts a premium on accuracy over distance

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

After the far-under-par shootout known as the Memorial Championships, the PDGA National Tour heads east this weekend to Austin, Texas, for the Texas State Championships.

And as the tour lands in the Lone Star State, professional disc golfers will be welcomed with open arms by something they did not see much of two weeks ago in Arizona:

Trees.

TEXAS-STATE-2013Indeed, with pros playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at East Metro Park in Manor, Texas, the game will change from the open, water hazard-rich layout of the Memorial to a tight, technical event that will highlight mid-range accuracy over giant hyzer shots.

While it may not make for as much of a “wow” factor, as the big guns will likely stay holstered, the course layout will place a premium on laser-like precision.

Throw in temperatures in the 80s and the customary Texas wind, and it’s a recipe for an intriguing weekend of disc golf.

On the heels of a fifth-place tie at the Memorial, Ricky Wysocki has spent the last few days prepping at the course in Austin, honing his mid-range game in anticipation of making a run at this tournament’s crown.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Wysocki said on Wednesday. “I’ve practiced two days here, two to three days now in Austin. I’ve practiced every day and I actually just picked up my new mid-ranges from Prodigy. It’s good to try those out and start testing them out tomorrow, and I’ll probably throw them in the tournament.”

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