This past weekend, about 900 disc golfers swarmed Emporia, KS for the 2015 Glass Blown Open. Emporia is home to the booming Dynamic Discs business, and also seems to be a disc golf mecca with seemingly every small business in town welcoming the incoming pros and amateurs. If you haven’t heard of the Glass Blown Open, I’m not sure where to begin. From putting tournaments to block parties, to bonfires, to bowling night, movie night, and more, there was so much more going on around this tournament than just disc golf.
Another unique part of the Glass Blown Open this year was what The Disc Golf Guy continually called a “media blitz.” We enjoyed live coverage of every round at the Memorial Championship courtesy of SmashboxxTV, but even that didn’t match what Dynamic Discs had going on at the GBO. Dynamic Discs had a camera crew following the lead card for each round, SmashboxxTV was on hand to cover the chase card for all three rounds, McFlySoHigh Disc Golf recorded all three rounds of FPO action for Prodigy Disc, Jomez Productions provided shot-by-shot coverage of the leader card all week, and both Dynamic Discs and SmashboxxTV held recap shows on after the first and second rounds. Media blitz is absolutely right.
The disc golf world has been clamoring for bigger and better coverage, and it was certainly accomplished. There’s nothing quite like seeing the action live or following along as the action unfolds each night. In case you missed it all, we’re here to help.
Despite all of the unique things going on at the 2015 GBO, two things remained the same – Paul McBeth on top of the MPO field, and Paige Pierce on top of the FPO field. It was a tough battle for both McBeth and Pierce, but in the end, the champions dominated in the final round to take big victories.
MPO Round 1: McBeth looks good, but Koling steals the show
Heading into the GBO, Jeremy Koling was on a streak of 4 straight national tour rounds without an out-of-bounds stroke, and he wasn’t about to let up on that streak at Municipal Park in Emporia. The name of the game at GBO is accurate power. You need 450+ feet of power to birdie many of these holes, but there are OB flags everywhere, and the fairways get narrower as you approach the basket. Koling had his work cut out for him.
Not only did Koling stay inbounds throughout the first round, he absolutely destroyed the course. He birdied 6 holes on the front 9, and he was only heating up. On the back 9, Koling birdied 6 holes and took an eagle on hole 13. The 1095-rated performance was a sight to see, and it landed the 2015 Memorial Championship winner in first place. Unfortunately for Koling, the likes of Simon Lizotte, Dave Feldberg, Will Schusterick, and Paul McBeth were just 3 strokes behind after their 49s.
Want to check out the action for yourself? Get access to the archived live footage of the first round:
MPO Round 2: Serious movement as McBeth, McMahon, and Locastro dominate
As Koling faltered throughout the second round at Jones East, shooting a 1004-rated 56, the door was wide open for other golfers to leap to the top. The winds were down, and the scores were, too. However, Paul McBeth, Nikko Locastro, and Eagle McMahon were the stars of the day.
McBeth and Locastro are names you’ve heard. When they shoot 14-under par, a 1073-rated round, in a national tour event, you’re impressed but you’ve seen it before. Eagle McMahon, though? Where did he come from?
Eagle McMahon is a 17 year old Boulder, CO native who represents Discmania. Apparently Discmania has a knack for finding young phonemes because McMahon proved he’s every bit as talented as any of the best pros in the game. Tying Paul McBeth for the hot round put him just one stroke out of the lead for the event, and landed the young star a spot on the lead card of a national tour event.
The top of the leaderboard was incredibly tight after two rounds at the GBO. There was no clear favorite going into the final round, unless you count McBeth who always seems to outperform the field when the final round rolls around. He had a one stroke lead heading into the final round, but Dave Feldberg was just 2 behind and Will Schusterick was just 3 behind.
If you want to see some coverage of the crazy moving day, check out the live footage:
MPO Round 3: McBeth becomes McBeast, wins by seven
Paul McBeth is almost unstoppable in final rounds of big tournaments. Or any tournament, really. All of the buzz was behind the young gun, Eagle McMahon, but calm, cool and collected as always, McBeth went to work at the Country Club course.
There’s something to be said about throwing clean rounds on courses like Winthrop for USDGC or the three for the GBO. All of the OB has a tendency to make scores shoot up in a hurry, so there’s a reason why Koling’s four clean rounds were able to win the Memorial Championship. McBeth may not have shot every round clean, but his final round scorecard is the only one without a single stroke over par.
After playing the first two rounds with essentially no wind (at least by Kansas standards), the winds really picked up at the Country Club. Many of the pros were clearly thrown off by the conditions as putting seemed off for most everyone. Scores were a clear indication of the tough conditions. Guys like McMahon, Koling, and Schusterick slipped a bit, giving way for some other competitors to remain intact at the top.
The only person who seemed like he could keep up with McBeth on Saturday was the ageless veteran, Dave Feldberg. The man who had said he would semi-retire after 2014 had his foot surgically repaired, and is back better than ever. Through 12 holes, Feldberg was keeping pace with McBeth. On hole 14, though, the winds got the best of him and he took his first bogey. By the time hole 18 came around, McBeth had built such a lead that Feldberg’s penalty 5 just didn’t make a difference, other than to further solidify first place for the three-time defending champ.
In the end, McBeth found himself the winner, Feldberg held onto second place, and Nikko Locastro finished just one stroke behind Feldberg. Rounding out the top 5 were Paul Ulibarri and John E McCray. Catch up on the action with Dynamic Discs TV and SmashboxxTV:
Paige Pierce wins her 9th PDGA event in 10 tries for 2015
Paige Pierce is just in a league of her own this year. She hasn’t just been winning events. She’s been dominating many of them. The GBO was no exception.
Pierce came out of the game a little slow in the first round at Municipal. She scored two early birdies, but a bogey and double bogey left her in third place heading into the back 9. Pierce seemed to settle down in the back 9, taking birdies on 3 of 9 holes and putting herself in the lead by 1 stroke over Paige Bjerkaas.
Round 2 brought a familiar sight – Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen battling for the hot round. Allen was able to shoot an impressive 995-rated 57, but she came into the round 4 strokes behind Pierce. Pierce’s completely clean round at Jones East padded her lead by one more stroke over Allen as the rest of the field faltered. With a 5 stroke lead heading into the final round, things were looking good for the 2015 Memorial Championship winner.
Paige Pierce didn’t let up on the gas in the final round, but her 1006-rated 61 wasn’t the hot round. Val Jenkins, who struggled a bit throughout the tournament, battled in the final round for a 1014-rated 60. The one stroke wasn’t nearly enough to catch up to Paige, though. At the end of the tournament, Paige’s average round rating was over 1000, which is an great feat for the growing FPO division. In the end, Pierce finished the tournament at 9-under par, which was good enough for a massive 11 stroke victory over the field. The good times just keep rolling for Pierce in 2015.
How can we just look ahead from the 2015 GBO? This was a truly massive tournament that was revolutionary for the game. The media coverage was incredible and the support that the event received from the Emporia community was just great. If you haven’t checked it out already, download the GBO phone app and check out what the guys at Dynamic Discs put together just for this tournament. Who knows, maybe this will become a standard for majors and national tour events. The players certainly appreciated the well-run event and disc golf fans around the world were able to keep up with the action live. All in all, it was a great week for all involved.
After so much action, the PDGA schedule will slow down a bit next weekend with just one A-tier being played. However, we’re just two weeks away from yet another national tour event – the famed Steady Ed Memorial at in Santa Cruz, CA. We’re looking forward to bringing you all the action as we continue to move through the 2015 disc golf season.