A Nordic adventure.
July 12, 2023 by Justin Westfall in Preview with comments
Ready your battle axes and shields: the Disc Golf Pro Tour has landed at the Gates of Valhalla!
The PCS Open in Øverås, Norway, has been elevated from a Silver event to the Elite Series for 2023, and both the MPO and FPO divisions will see a huge increase in the competitive field. Last year featured an FPO field of just 11 players, with 939-rated Rachel Turton as the highest rated player there. This year, the field has doubled to 22 players, 10 of which are rated 952 or higher. While the MPO field has shrunk from 124 down to 104, there are now 27 players rated 1020 or better, compared to just 9 last year.
The PCS Open and Sula Open were set to merge in 2021 and host the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s first European event, but ongoing Covid-19 travel restrictions forced a postponement until last summer. Norwegian Anniken Steen won by two strokes over Rachel Turton in what was essentially a two-horse race. Gregg Barsby was able to overcome a deficit on hole 18 and force a one-hole playoff to defeat Jakub Semerád and earn his only career Silver win. While last year featured a four round tournament on two courses, this year the event has been shortened to three rounds at Øverås Diskgolfpark, after the PCS and Sula parties have once again separated. The layout features tight woods shots, water carries, beautiful scenery, and unique course assets like a tractor supporting the 18th basket.
|PDGA Tier||Open||Open Women|
|2022||DGPT Silver||Gregg Barsby||Anniken Steen|
|2021||B||Blær Örn Ásgeirsson||Anniken Steen|
|2020||B||Knut Valen Håland||Anniken Steen|
|2019||C||Eagle McMahon||Katarina Staalesen|
|2018||C||Dominik Stampfer||Lykke Lorentzen|
Four Things We’ll Be Watching
- Paul McBeth has been competing in Europe for six consecutive weeks and is coming off back-to-back wins. While most of the pros coming to Norway this week will be dealing with jetlag, McBeth has a bit of a leg up in that department. Despite 25 European events on his resume over the past 12 years, Paul has never played in the PCS Open. In fact, he only played in Norway for the first time last month, finishing 2nd at the Krokhol Open behind Bradley Williams. Williams could be another name to watch this week, though he is just now getting back into practice after suffering whiplash in a car accident last week. Many European players like Niklas Antilla have been competing on the EuroTour for the past month as well and may have a bit of an advantage over the traveling Americans. Surprisingly though, both Niklas and fellow Finn Lauri Lehtinen have never played an event in Norway.
- Paige Pierce has played 18 PDGA tournaments in Europe since 2011 and has won 6 in a row dating back to 2018. This would have been Paige’s first time competing in Norway, but she is a late scratch from the tournament, reportedly due to an ankle injury suffered during a practice round.
- After reinjuring his throwing shoulder in Portland, Eagle McMahon was able to return for the Preserve and came in with a 4th place finish after a slow start. McMahon has won four of his past six events in Europe, including two Majors, and won the 2019 PCS Open by 21 strokes. His celebrity status among younger Finnish fans was certainly notable at last year’s European Open, and time will tell if the Norwegian disc golf community has Eagle-mania as well. A quality performance is the best way to draw a crowd, and for an incredibly talented young player in the last year of his contract, these next two weeks could prove to be quite lucrative for McMahon.
- At this time last year, Kristin Tattar was sidelined with an injury and unable to compete in the 2022 PCS and European Opens. This week will be the Estonian’s first time competing in Europe with a field of top-level touring pros since her rise to prominence in 2021. Kristin achieved a career-high 994 player rating this week, just 2 points shy of Paige Pierce’s FPO record of 996. When she’s touring in the U.S., Tattar is without a doubt one of the most popular players in either division. It’s tough to imagine the fans in Norway being even more pro-Tattar than she is used to, but competing much closer to home could give the World’s #1 rated FPO player a boost she has not yet experienced on the Elite Series.
Øverås Diskgolfpark was originally designed in 2014 by Espen Mokkelgjerd, who has designed 42 Diskgolfpark’s in Norway. The course is best known for the Gates of Valhalla, a triple mandatory par 3 flanked by two giant swords that requires players to tee off from an elevated deck looking out over a beautiful view of the fjord behind the basket. In 2022, UDisc ranked Øverås as the 4th best disc golf course in the world.
Several changes have been made to the course for this year, including some tighter OB lines on holes 1 and 2. Hole 6 (the Gates of Valhalla) used to feature one drop zone short of the gates for any player who missed the triple mandatory. Now the hole will have two drop zones, just inside each side of the gate.
Hole 10 is a brand new wooded par 3, and hole 12 is a combination of the previous holes 11 and 12. This safari hole will play as a Par 4 in the MPO division and Par 5 in the FPO division. Hole 11 (previous hole 10) used to be an oval green surrounded by OB, but that area outside of the green will now play as a hazard rather than OB.
Hole 15’s teepad has been moved about 100 feet closer (32 meters) after zero MPO players carded a birdie last year, and over 76% of the field shot over par. In the FPO division, only one player carded a par last year, let alone a birdie. Hole 16 also has a new FPO teepad that’s about 60 feet closer (19 meters), and hole 17’s FPO basket has been moved about 25 feet closer (8 meters).
2023 MPO: 8,764 Feet (2,671 Meters) Par 62
2022 MPO: 8,480 Feet (2,585 Meters) Par 61
2023 FPO: 8,230 Feet (2,508 Meters) Par 65
2022 FPO: 8,185 Feet (2,495 Meters) Par 63
While July is typically the warmest month in Norway, it’s also the rainiest. Expect rain to fall steadily throughout the tournament.
Thursday: Showers with highs in the low 60s. Chance of rain 100%. Winds 5-10mph.
Friday: Showers with highs in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 80%. Winds 5-10mph.
Saturday: Showers late with highs in the upper 60s. Chance of rain 70%. Winds 5-10mph.