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

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

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.

Continue reading

Discmasters TV — looking at a disc golf’s first variety show

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

Most of you who read Rattling Chains or the School of Disc Golf blog know I run School of Disc Golf as a side-gig, mainly because I thoroughly enjoy getting new players hooked on the game and helping those already addicted get better.

You’ve likely read, at some point, that I used to play in as many tournaments I could, topped out at a 999 player rating (so close!) and, for a time, was an officer of the DeLaveaga Disc Golf Club.

discmasters_logorevWhat I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned in this space before is another off-and-on project of mine — Discmasters TV. Since the first new episode in quite a while just hit YouTube, it made sense to take a little time to tell you about the show and its origins.

It started when I came across a YouTube video that covered a Santa Cruz tournament called the Faultline Classic. I thought the video was well-produced, given the obviously limited technical resources. I decided to approach the person who posted the video with an idea I had been tossing around for some time. The concept was for a lighter side of disc golf-type variety show, incorporating instruction, interviews and cheesy — and badly acted — comedy. It should be no surprise the last part came naturally.

Continue reading

Attending a pro clinic is a lot to digest, but still useful

Dave Feldberg demonstrates correct form for throwing a hyzer by reaching away from his body. (photo by Courtney McSherry)

When describing my skill level to fellow disc golfers, I often refer to myself as a “recreational enthusiast.” I love the game, and play as often as I can, but I am still not a great player.

Naturally, then, I am always looking for ways to strengthen my game. Whether it is some way to add more distance to my drives, or a putting routine to improve my accuracy, I will take any pointers I can get. Sometimes this helps, and other times it leads me to change what I am comfortable with, which yields inconsistency.

So when I heard that my local pro shop, Kinetic Disc Golf, was bringing an instructional clinic to Kit Carson Park in Escondido, Calif., featuring top players Dave Feldberg, Nikko Locastro, and Philo Brathwaite, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. It isn’t every day that three 1000-rated players roll through town, so I figured I should take advantage.

The end result?

A brain left drowning in new ideas and techniques, simply trying to wade through all of the knowledge and seize on what would help me the most.

Upon arriving at the clinic, I took stock of some of the fellow attendees and was pleased at the cross-section I observed — seasoned players with every disc known to man in their bags, all the way down to a new player with six months of experience who brought along his nine-year-old son. (Reports that said nine-year-old has a better forehand drive than me may or may not be true.)

Continue reading

The Vibram Open should be packed full of excitement

Nate Doss takes a plunge into the pond after winning the Vibram Open last year. Will Doss repeat or will someone else claim victory this year?

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

This year’s Vibram Open is shaping up to be one to remember.

And for the first time, the pros and ams are each getting in on the action.

The Vibram is the final stop on the PDGA National Tour Elite Series. This year, the event expands to four days for the pros, running from Thursday to Sunday.

On top of that, the Vibram has added an amateur tournament, which will be held at other area courses with the final being shifted to Maple Hill to play the vaunted gold tees.

Some of the other major new items for this year’s Vibram include:

  • The men’s professional open field is smaller, but has a larger payout. A cap of 144 players has been set (it used to be 160), and the cut will remain at 72. The payout has gone from $41,000 to $45,000.
  • The women’s payout this year has also gone up — from $8,300 to $10,000. The Vibram also allowed any and all women to compete with the cut line being 15.
  • The Vibram has also gone from three to four rounds.

The pro tournament will run from Thursday through Sunday at Maple Hill in Leicester, Mass.

One of the most scenic courses on the tour, the championship gold tees challenge the best in the world with tricky woods shots, long drives and creative water holes.

As the crowning — and final stop — on the PDGA Tour, more than just a victory will be on the line as the tour champion will be crowned at this event as well.

Continue reading

Third National Tour event starts Friday

Paul McBeth, shown here competing in the 2011 Vibram Open, has won the National Tour's first two events. He'll look to win the third NT event at the Kansas City Wide Open.

By P.J. Harmer — RattlingChains.com Staff

Paul McBeth is seeking his third straight PDGA National Tour Elite Series title this weekend in Kansas City, Mo.

The Tour will hold its third event of the six-tournament season, at the 30th Kansas City Wide Open from Friday-Saturday.

During this year’s Drive for the Championship presented by Vibram Disc Golf, a player’s top three NT event points, plus those earned at the tour-ending Vibram Open from August 16-19, will decide the champion in the men’s and women’s tour.

McBeth, who placed third in last year’s tour, has won the first two men’s events and has a perfect 200 points this season. The first two wins came at the Memorial and the Masters Cup.

Continue reading

‘Non-Stop’ opportunities, growth on professional tour

It's a non-stop tour for four PDGA pros this summer.

Tens of thousands of miles. Four professional disc golfers. One van.

No, this isn’t the premise to the newest goofy Adam Sandler film. Actually, it’s the framework for the Non-Stop Disc Golf Tour, and it is serious business.

OK, so it isn’t all serious business, but there is plenty of work involved, nonetheless.

The brainchild of 2008 world champion David Feldberg and 2010 United States Disc Golf Championship winner Will Schusterick, the foundation of the tour is simple: The two pros – along with fellow hotshots Nikko Locastro and Cale Leiviska – cross the country in an RV, holding school clinics during the week and closing out their visits with weekend tournaments. From pounding the pavement for sponsorships to cleaning up the remnants of their events, these four and their crew arrange these outings with the common purpose of growing the game of disc golf.

Passing the Torch

The genesis of the tour, according to Feldberg, came from the close relationships the players already had with one another.

“The idea of a tour this year…I think that was a combination of all of us thinking together, because we’ve been traveling together a lot,” Feldberg said. “I’ve been thinking about it for years. I’ve been building my career around the idea of being able to go to schools and teach clinics, so it works out well.”

Dave Feldberg works with another player at a NSDG clinic. (photo courtesy NSDG via Facebook)

Besides teaching new players about the game, Feldberg is also using the tour as a chance to educate the younger professionals and usher in the next era of the game.

“I just figured that it’s almost a passing of the torch,” he said. “I figured I’d take out some young guys and make sure they’re the next best.”

That torch isn’t being passed just from Feldberg to the youngsters, though.

“I think we all have something to learn from each other, even though I haven’t been around as long as everybody else has,” Schusterick said. “I’m definitely picking up a couple of their tricks and a couple of things to add and always build my game.”

Feldberg agreed that even he, as the seasoned veteran of the group, can pick up some tips from the young guys. He also sees this as a necessity to keep up with the rapid acceleration in the quality of professional disc golf currently being played.

Continue reading

NSDG holds tournament, sweeps top four spots; tourney roundup: March 7-13

The Non-Stop Disc Golf Tour held the Taos Open this past weekend in Taos, New Mexico.

The foursome of Dave Feldberg, Nikko Locastro, Will Schusterick and Cale Leiviska are touring the country this year as part of NSDG.

Will Schusterick (shown at last year's Vibram Open) is part of the Non-Stop Disc Golf Tour.

The group are playing in tournaments as well as running 15 B-Tier PDGA events. Feldberg, Locastro and Schusterick are part of Team Innova. Leiviska is a member of Team Discraft.

Feldberg, the 2008 PDGA World Champion, served as the tournament director for this event.

The four also took the top spots in the Open division.

Continue reading