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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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.

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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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Disc golf news and notes: June 12

It’s been a bit since we did a news and notes post, and there’s been many things happening.

First, some quick news from Vibram. The company recently announced that the Obex mid-range disc will be released June 28 at Pinnacle retailers and July 26 at all retailers.

The Obex is the over-stable compliment to the Ibex, Vibram’s stable mid-range. RattlingChains.com recently did a review on the Obex.

Vibram also announced that June 16 is the deadline for those who cashed in the 2011 Vibram Open to register by. The Vibram Open is the final stop for the PDGA National Tour. The event is Aug. 16-19 at Maple Hill course in Leicester, Mass.

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The Kansas City Wide Open was held June 1-3 and was the third stop on the six-event National Tour.

Dave Feldberg shot a 45-under 266 to earn the $2,000 paycheck and the tournament title. It’s the first NT event this year not won by Paul McBeth, who tied Jeremy Koling for fifth with a 29-under 254.

Will Schusterick placed second with a 42-under 269.

On the women’s side, Val Jenkins won her second NT event of the year by shooting a 4-over-par 315 to beat out Paige Pierce by five strokes.

Through three events, McBeth leads the men’s standings with 283.5 points. Schusterick is in second with 281, followed by Feldberg 264). Nate Doss (254) and Steve Rico (232.5) fill out the top five.

In the women’s race, Jenkins is on top with 293 points, followed by Catrina Allen with 279. Liz Lopez is in third with 261. Pierce (186) and Sarah Hokom (185) round out the top five.

Coming up: The next National Tour event is this weekend, June 15-17, at the Beaver State Fling in Estacada, Oregon.

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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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Poll 9: The National Tour

Before we get to this week’s poll, let me say this — some of you golfers play a lot in the span of the week!

And, well, I’m a bit jealous.

See, the nearest “true” course to me is about a 1:20 drive away. And though it’s not too bad if you play a couple of rounds, the economy will tell you that it’s not something that’s feasible to do every day!

So, I go when I can. There are talks, hopes and plans of a course or two in our area, though, so I can hope one day I’ll be playing as much as some of you!

Anyway, let’s check out the results of last week’s poll

We had 126 voters and the winning choice was 3-4 rounds per week, which received 32 percent of the vote with 40 people making that their choice. Next was 1-2 rounds with 33 votes (26 percent) and then 5-6 rounds per week with 26 votes (21 percent). The next was 7-9 rounds (12 percent/15 votes) and 10 or more (9 percent/12 votes).

Brian Buller notes:

It usually varies week to week for me, but on average I would say about 5-6 per week. If I could, I would have a minimum of 3 rounds per day but it’s hard getting out there very often without a car.

Three rounds per day? That would be a lot of disc throwing if you could pull that off!

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