Conditions were tough!
May 4, 2022 by Justin Westfall in Analysis with comments
Competing at the top level of any sport requires the mental toughness to set aside circumstances you can’t control and focus solely on the elements you can. Disc golfers in Emporia, Kansas, this past week had to lean on a famous adage: “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” The 20th Dynamic Discs Open featured some of the toughest wind conditions that even veteran touring pros have competed in. Coupled with a challenging new course, increased difficulty on a former course, and a short turnaround from the previous event led to scores more akin to a traditional golf tournament.
For the most part, putting was thrown completely out the window at last week’s DDO. The best players in Emporia were staying on the fairways, scrambling when they did go out of bounds, and parking as many holes as possible to avoid throwing putts altogether. While the FPO leaderboard wasn’t too out of the ordinary, the MPO side featured a multitude of lesser-known players who managed the conditions well, even as many higher-rated pros struggled to keep pace. The result was one of the lowest winning event ratings in tour history, and a record seven players finishing on the podium.
After four previous runner-up finishes at this event, Ricky Wysocki can finally call himself a DDO champion — and it comes in his first year sponsored by the event’s namesake. Ricky led in strokes gained tee to green, scramble rate, and holes parked. He did the best job of limiting his mistakes, taking just ten single bogeys and two doubles, both of which occurred in the treacherous third round. Wysocki did open the tournament with a 70 foot throw in and during round two had a 146 foot throw in for eagle. But over the week, he went just 1-of-17 on C2 putts: fortunately, this was an event that didn’t require him to make those. Instead, scrambling and parking holes was the common trend among the top finishers.
This was Simon’s first runner-up finish since the 2020 Preserve, and now in seven attempts he has never finished outside of the top 10 at this event. Lizotte finished 2nd in holes parked and 5th in scramble rate. It’s beginning to feel like his injury is finally behind him after some impressive rounds these last couple of weeks and posting back-to-back top 10 finishes.
The Finn earned his first Elite Series podium, finishing 7th in strokes gained putting and holes parked. While seventeen bogeys and one double bogey may not seem like a great tournament, limiting almost all of his over par strokes to single bogeys was a big accomplishment in Emporia last week.
Now with his second top five on the Disc Golf Pro Tour this season, Gossage had the 3rd best OB rate and 9th best C1 in regulation, but he somehow only parked 2-of-72 holes. He was also the only player to not card an OB stroke on the final day. The next DGPT event is the OTB Open, where Aaron had a breakout performance last year after landing on the final day lead card.
The Kansas-native finished with the 3rd best OB rate and was 4th in fairway hits. Staying in bounds came at a premium last week, helping to earn him a spot on the crowded podium. Ironically, Harpool missed the cut last year at 2-under par, the same score he shot this past week (albeit in much windier conditions on more difficult courses). Harpool’s previous best E.S. finish was 23rd at the 2021 Preserve and 2020 DDO.
The man with the cornhole style putt finished 2nd in holes parked and 4th in strokes gained tee to green. Jake took eighteen bogeys but had zero doubles or worse, which helped him finish high despite a 14th best birdie rate.
Just 780 days from his first E.S. tournament, the Dark Horse emerged from the shadows and not only finished on the podium but did so in impressive fashion. Brodie led the field in birdie rate, had the 3rd best C1 in regulation percentage, and was #4 in C2 in regulation. Jones had fallen back a bit on the final day but proceeded to birdie the final four holes to get back onto the podium, no small task at the Emporia Country Club. He shot the highest event rating of his career at 1034, only one week after setting the mark at 1031 in Jonesboro. What’s most impressive is that Brodie did this in poor conditions, during a four round tournament with an extremely competitive field, and on one day of practice. He didn’t just back into a podium finish: Smith earned this spot and proved many of his doubters wrong.
Coming off a win in Jonesboro, Heimburg quickly headed to the big money skins match at Eagle’s Crossing, but unlike Brodie, he didn’t fare as well with just one day of practice. Nevertheless, Calvin climbed from 51st place after the opening round to finish in a tie for 10th. After all four rounds, he managed to pull in the 2nd highest birdie rate but couldn’t overcome his struggles at Jones Park.
After finishing 100th in C2 putting last week, Kyle flipped the script and finished 1st in Emporia at 36%. Klein was also 2nd in scramble rate and 7th in holes parked, earning him his best finish of the season. A tie for 13th place may not seem possible for a player who was 42nd in birdie rate, but Kyle stayed as clean as possible with only eleven bogeys and two doubles on the week.
Sitting tied for 89th place after the opening round, Jerm shot under par in each of the final three rounds, including an ace on hole 16 at the Emporia Country Club. Koling was 7th in both holes parked as well as strokes gained tee to green. The reward was his best finish at the Dynamic Discs Open since 2017.
Stokely shocked the world by taking down the big money skins match at Eagle’s Crossing, then he came to Emporia and cashed in his first E.S. event since the 2001 USDGC! Scott finished 15th in strokes gained putting and had the 11th best C1X putting percentage just weeks after switching to brand new putters and tweaking his form. His 1037 rated opening round is his 2nd best of the season and ties the 6th highest rated round of his career. Keep in mind, Scott was a PDGA member for 20 years before receiving his first rated round.
After a three-putt double bogey on hole 18 in the third round, McBeth missed the cash line for the first time in his career. Paul’s OB rate ranked 84th in the field, and while this season has had some really high moments for him. it’s also had some low lows, none more so than this.
Kristin Tattar found herself in very unfamiliar territory after the first round, down in 22nd place and needing to claw back up the leaderboard. By the end of the final round, she led the field in strokes gained tee to green, despite having just the 6th best birdie rate. Tattar’s saving grace was that she took just thirteen bogeys and two doubles, a clean scorecard given the conditions. She has now won back-to-back DGPT events in consecutive seasons, joining Paige Pierce as the only other FPO player to do so.
Allen finished top six in 7 of the 8 major statistical categories. She led the field in scramble rate, was 2nd in birdies, 2nd in strokes gained putting, and 6th in strokes gained tee-to-green. On Sunday, she looked unstoppable, going 6-for-6 to start the day but ultimately shot 1-over par on the next 12 holes to lose by one stroke.
Ella finished 2nd in strokes gained tee-to-green just behind Tattar, and led in both C1 and C2 in regulation. Hansen has now recorded back-to-back 3rd place finishes with the OTB Open and Portland Open on the horizon, both of which were breakout events for her last season.
Emily is one of the few athletes who played well across the board last week, finishing 5th in strokes gained putting and 7th in strokes gained tee-to-green. Like many players, she earned her first E.S. podium finish and took home her largest paycheck to date. Her $1,750 in winnings is more than double her previous high and totals more than 10% of her entire career earnings.
Despite finishing in 5th place, Paige led in birdies by a wide margin, carding five more than the 2nd best players. Her scoring breakdown was 35% birdie, 32% par, and 33% bogey or worse, nearly an even split. Pierce may have pushed for the win had she not taken eight double bogeys and one triple.
Every time the cameras cut to Alexis, she was making an impressive putt in the wind, so it’s no surprise that she finished 1st in strokes gained putting. Mandujano made 6-of-17 C2 putts to lead the division, and while she finished outside of the top 10, she played above her rating and improved on last year’s finish by 12 spots.