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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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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