Can Blue Lake give us a repeat performance of 2014 Worlds?
May 24, 2019 by Christopher Wiklund and Jacob Wilkins in Coverage, Preview with comments
Let’s hop into the wayback machine. Expand and stretch your imaginations: Paul McBeth, Ricky Wysocki, Catrina Allen, and Paige Pierce are the top throwers in the game and we’re in Portland, Oregon for the 2014 PDGA Pro World Championship.
A lot has changed since 2014. For one, Ultiworld Disc Golf exists and you have a much better internet connection. Also, the field and talent in both Open divisions have expanded and improved. In 2014 Worlds, Nate Doss was the third place finisher in Open and Valarie Jenkins was the fifth place finisher in Open Women. This year, the two will be not be playing the event, but will be acting as the co-owners of the presenting sponsor, Bevel Craft Brewing.
Now snap back to the present so that we can focus on how Wysocki, Allen, and Pierce are still the favorites at the inaugural Disc Golf Pro Tour Portland Open at Blue Lake Park. McBeth, who won his third world championship in 2014, will not be in attendance this weekend, opting to spend Memorial Day playing a tournament closer to home in Virginia, as he’ll also be sitting out the Beaver State Fling in the coming weeks.
Recently we have seen some well-known, but not necessarily superstar level, players up their games and introduce themselves to a wider audience. Matt Bell made the final round lead card at the Masters Cup and won the Utah Open. He’ll be in Portland, and based on what we’ve seen from him lately, there is no reason to suspect we won’t be seeing him near the top of the leaderboard this weekend as well. James Proctor will also be in attendance. So far this season Proctor has two wins and three second-place finishes to his name. Proctor is known for terrorizing the West Coast and a regular on Central Coast Disc Golf coverage of California tournaments, maybe this is his weekend to break out on the big stage.
Or could this be the weekend we see Hailey King or Missy Gannon break through the FPO ranks? Gannon has four wins to her name this season, including an A-tier at the Vintage Open. Her rating has been steadily on the rise, and while none of her stats may blow you away, she has improved in every UDisc Live category compared to 2018. For her part, King finished second at The Rumble and has been knocking on the door of the top 10 at National Tour and Disc Golf Pro Tour events all season. It may, or may not, surprise you to know that King’s 70% putting from Circle 1X is good for first overall on the season in FPO. That and her accuracy off the tee might be enough to see her through to the top 10 in Portland.
Blue Lake Park: MPO – 10,020 feet, par 66; FPO – 8,980 feet, par 66
Blue Lake is a long semi-wooded course with lots of low ceilings, demands precision off the tee, and accuracy with distance. If you watch old coverage from the course, like the NWDG video above, you’ll notice fairway shapes and lines reminiscent of the BSF, but with much different foliage.
UDisc Live had some slight par and distance variations from the traditional 10,296-foot par 69 MPO layout. You can find that course map here.
An upper level, low pressure system will bring a chance of rain and cool conditions to the Portland Open for the first round. However, that system should move out for the second and last round of the tournament, leading to improving conditions.
Saturday: Temperatures will remain near 60° throughout the day. Showers will be possible with southwest winds around 5 to 10 mph.
Sunday: Highs should recover back into the low to mid 70s. A few isolated showers may be possible during the afternoon. A northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph may develop in the afternoon.
Monday: A northwest breeze will once again develop in the afternoon as highs warm into the mid 70s.
Overall, a great forecast is shaping up for a majority of the tournament. Can someone use day one conditions to get a big lead? Or can someone come from behind in the nicer conditions?
How to Watch
JomezPro, Central Coast Disc Golf, and Par Save Productions will all be on site providing next day coverage of MPO 1, MPO 2, and FPO 1. Livestreaming will can be accessed at the DGPT YouTube channel or the Disc Golf Network on Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV. FPO coverage starts at 12 p.m. Eastern, MPO at 6 p.m. Eastern. See below for more details: