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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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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McBeth wins opening National Tour event; tourney roundup: Feb. 22 – March 6

Paul McBeth (shown here at last year's Vibram Open) won the first National Tour event of the season this past weekend at The Memorial Championship.

Using a steady weekend with three rounds in the 40s, Paul McBeth won The Memorial Championship for the second straight year, winning the title by three strokes over Innova teammate Will Schusterick.

The tournament ran in Scottsdale, Ariz., from Feb. 29 – March 3 and served as the first event of the National Tour Elite Series.

McBeth, who earned $3,500 for his victory, finished 44-under-par with a four-day 188. He had rounds of 45, 44, 53 and 46.

One of his rounds — the first — was an 1107-rated round, one of four rounds at the tournament that had a rating of more than 1100.

Schusterick had one of the others — shooting a 43 in the final round for an 1103 round. He finished the tournament with rounds of 49, 45, 54 and 43 for a 41-under-par 191. Schusterick earned $2,500 for second place.

Dave Feldberg, who placed third with a 39-under 193, had the other two top-rated rounds. He shot a 44 in the opening round for an 1115 round and had a 42 in the final round, for a 1112. In the second round, he shot a 48, but a 59 in the third round appears to have doomed him. He still left with a $2,000 check for third place.

Avery Jenkins and Steven Rico tied for fourth place, each winning $1,550 for finishing at 31 under. They each had a 201. Jenkins’ top round of the tournament with a final-round 48. Rico shot a 47 in the second round as his top score.

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