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.’”

Continue reading

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.

vibram_open

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.

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

national_tour

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.

Continue reading

McBeth edges Brathwaite for second consecutive Masters Cup title

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

As far as the 2013 PDGA National Tour Series goes, the third time was a charm for Paul McBeth.

Paul McBeth putts during the final round of the “Steady” Ed Memorial Masters Cup on Sunday. McBeth rallied for his first National Tour victory of the season. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

After second place finishes at the season’s first two NTs, McBeth emerged victorious Sunday at the 28th Annual “Steady” Ed Memorial Masters Cup in Santa Cruz, California, edging out fellow Southern Californian Philo Brathwaite with a three-day 18-under-par 198.

Brathwaite placed second with a 16-under 200 at the famed DeLaveaga Park. Nate Doss, Nikko Locastro, and Steve Rico each shot a 14-under 202 to tie for third place.

The win marked the second consecutive year McBeth won the tournament title, but he never led this year’s installment until almost halfway through the final round.

After Locastro shot a 1074-rated round to open play on Friday, Brathwaite responded with an 11-under round Saturday, which was unofficially rated at 1087. Heading into Sunday’s final round of 24, Brathwaite held a one shot lead, but he said he knew anyone — or anything, including the course — could be nipping at his heels.

Continue reading

Wysocki dominates en route to Texas State Championships victory

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

After an up-and-down performance that still found him on the lead card for the final round of the Memorial Championship, it was anyone’s guess how Ricky Wysocki would perform at the Texas State Championships.

Wysocki, though, left no doubt.

Ricky Wysocki putts during the second round of the Texas State Championships. Wysocki won the event. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

On a course littered with trees, brush, and cacti, Wysocki shot the hot rounds Friday and Saturday en route to a 10-stroke victory in this weekend’s Texas State Championships in Manor, Texas. Even as Paul McBeth tried to play catch-up on Sunday, Wysocki didn’t let up, using a deft mix of backhand drives and forehand escape shots to capture the $1,660 purse.

Wysocki finished the three-day tournament with a 33-under-par 186.

McBeth placed second with a 23-under 196, taking home $1,270 in the process. Nikko Locastro’s 16-under 203 earned him $975 for his third-place finish. David Hemmeline and Ron Convers tied for fourth by shooting a 15-under 204. They each earned $730.

Without question, though, the tournament belonged to Wysocki. Even if he wouldn’t admit it himself.

After starting off by shooting an eight-under-par 65 on Friday, Wysocki said he felt like he could have played better.

“I knew after the first round I was ahead, and I didn’t feel like I played that well,” he said. “It was windy, so when it’s windy you can shoot pretty well and not know it. That’s how I felt the first day, I didn’t play super solid, but I played all right.”

Continue reading

Schusterick overcomes scorecard error, wins Memorial in playoff

By P.J. Harmer – Rattling Chains staff

One day, Will Schusterick will be able to look back at the 2013 Memorial Championship and laugh.

Schusterick birdied the opening hole of a playoff with Paul McBeth to win $3,700 and the championship at the 25th Memorial in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Some 30 minutes earlier, a playoff was the furthest thing from Schusterick’s mind. In the span of about five minutes, things came crashing down.

Will Schusterick, shown competing at the 2011 Vibram Open, earned a victory in the first National Tour event of the year by winning The Memorial Championship on the first hold of a playoff with Paul McBerh. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

Will Schusterick, shown competing at the 2011 Vibram Open, earned a victory in the first National Tour event of the year by winning The Memorial Championship on the first hold of a playoff with Paul McBerh. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

This almost turned out to be the tournament that got away.

Celebrating his win at the season-opening National Tour event, Schusterick broke away from friends and fans to make sure his scorecard added up. It added up to a 43 and a two-stroke victory over McBeth.

Moments later, while being interviewed, he got news that he said made him look white as a ghost.

Schusterick forgot to put the total on his card, resulting in a two-stroke penalty. That meant he’d have to go into a playoff with McBeth.

Continue reading

PDGA National Tour season begins with The Memorial Championship

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains Staff

And so it begins…

With an off-season of sponsor-jumping in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to start looking ahead.

And there’s no true better way to do it than with the beginning of the 2013 PDGA National Tour, which starts today with the The Memorial Championship in Arizona.

national_tourThis is the 25th running of the annual tournament.

The tournament also might give some light to how players are adjusting to new sponsors. And with many using different discs, it leaves the question of who the favorite is heading into the four-day tournament.

To go over every sponsor change would take up an awful lot of space. But consider this — six of the top 10 from last year’s National Tour standings have flipped teams. Those include Will Schusterick, Ricky Wysocki and Cale Leiviska, who finished 2-4 last year and all moved to upstart Prodigy Disc.

Reigning tour champion Paul McBeth stayed put with Innova. Could the stability of being with the same team be beneficial this year?

Or will it make a difference?

Prodigy, obviously, made the biggest splash in the market, putting together a team of former world champions and top-level players — both men and women. Time will tell if that move proves to be good for the players involved, but it has given fans of the professional tour something to discuss, argue and debate about since the announcement in January.

Continue reading