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.

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.

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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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Wysocki extends NT points lead; Hokom takes women’s crown

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

Elevation? No problem.

Bum leg? Not an issue.

Course record? No big deal. Twice.

Ricky Wysocki earned his third National Tour event of the season this past weekend at the Great Lakes Open. (photo courtesy of PDGA Media)

That sums up Ricky Wysocki’s performance at this past weekend’s Great Lakes Open National Tour Series event, where the Prodigy phenom racked up his third NT victory with a three-round 32-under-par 154.

Prodigy teammate Garrett Gurthie shot a 23-under par 163 to place second, and Will Schusterick and Devan Owens tied for third place with 22-under 164s. Paul McBeth rounded out the top five with a 24-under 165, which took place at the much-revered Toboggan Championship Course at Kensington Metropark in Milford, Michigan.

As has been the case in the other events he has won this year, though, this one was all Wysocki from the first day.

After Owens held the lead briefly with a course-record 52 on Friday, Wysocki bested the score later that day with an 11-under 51. Wysocki then took that one shot lead and extended it to six by throwing a 1077-rated 50 – breaking his own Toboggan course record, all while playing through a calf injury – on Saturday.

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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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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.”

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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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Words with Wysocki: Exploring Philly and winning the Yetter

There are times when you leave one tournament and don’t know what’s next. Though I wanted to play the Eric C. Yetter Tournament, I wasn’t entered. So, I thought I was going to be heading home.

Then I got a call from Darren Dolezel, who told me I could have his spot. He called the tournament director to tell him he’d give up his spot for me, which was awesome. But the TD didn’t go for it, saying it wasn’t fair for all the others on the waitlist, which is understandable.

I looked at the waitlist to see if it was worth going to the tournament or if I had a chance to get in. I noticed my name wasn’t as high on the list as I thought. It turned out the TD had forgotten to put me on the waitlist because of a miscommunication. He squared that up and I ended up getting in.

After all that, I headed out to Philadelphia for the Yetter, which I was pumped for because I like the tournament and the course. I played in it the year before and placed third. I was looking to improve on that.

In Philadelphia, I stayed with my buddy Dan Meers, who lives downtown. He was an awesome host. We got to see the Rocky statue and we also ate a famous Philly cheesesteak at a place called Gooey Looie’s. It was one of the best cheesesteaks I’ve ever had. It was 20 ounces of steak — so one of the biggest I’ve ever had!

The guy working at Gooey Looie’s told me the Food Network was coming the next day to film. That’s how you know you picked a special place.

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Words with Wysocki: Cliff jumping and playing strong in Ithaca

Sorry to start writing in the middle of the season, but I’m just glad to be part of the RattlingChains.com blog and website.

The first tournament I want to write about is the DiscIthaca Open in central New York. I came to Ithaca after playing in a tournament in Manchester, Connecticut. I drove to Ithaca and had the chance to stay with my buddy, Pat Govang, which was very cool.

For people who don’t know Pat, he’s the one who created the National Tour series. I really appreciate him and his work, since I’m always playing National Tour events and making my living playing tournaments he created.

Anyway, back to tournament preparation.

I usually always take Monday off and try and do something fun – Monday Fun Day. So, I didn’t practice Monday.

On Tuesday, I went to a set of waterfalls in Ithaca and went cliff jumping. We were lucky enough to meet up with locals and find the spots to jump from. We jumped off a 50-foot cliff into the water. We also had the chance to check out the 215-foot-tall Taughannock Falls in nearby Trumansburg. The Taughannock Falls are one of the largest set of falls east of the Rocky Mountain.

Cliff jumping was very exciting and thrilling. The hardest part about it was the first jump and just getting yourself to do it, and trying to avoid thinking about it too much. It’s one of those things where if you figure if you do it once, you won’t be so nervous to do it again. But it’s just as nerve-racking jumping the fifth time as it is the first time!

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Wysocki to team up with Rattling Chains

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Disc golf has gone through quite an evolution.

Even to those of us who are newer to the sport, there’s a history to be celebrated. From the early days of Frisbee to discovering disc golf and “Steady” Ed Headrick, the history is much longer than one might think. There are tournaments and historic courses. Players such as “The Champ” Ken Climo are known for all they’ve done in the sport.

Saying the name Dave Dunipace to many will quickly help turn a disc golf conversation to Innova.

Then there’s the more current names in the game — players such as Dave Feldberg, Nate Doss, Eric McCabe and Avery Jenkins — all recent world champions.

Then there are the young guns.

These are the players who might make people take notice as the next group of fun and exciting professional disc golfers coming through the system.

When discussing that next bunch of players, the conversation often begins with Ricky Wysocki, a 19-year-old out of North Carolina who is a member of Innova’s Star team.

And for somebody who isn’t even old enough to legally purchase alcohol, Wysocki is already making a name for himself in the disc golf world. In fact, he’s won more than $20,000 playing the game this year as a full-time touring pro.

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