Gregg Barsby, Ken Climo win this week’s A-tiers

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The disc golf world needed to take a collective breath after the craziness of the Memorial Championship. Now that we’re two weeks removed from Jeremy Koling’s win, we can officially welcome start of the PDGA A-tier schedule. Up until this weekend, we’d be lucky to see one A-tier per weekend, but this weekend pros took to California and Florida for the St. Patrick’s Classic and the Suncoast Duel in the Sun. Gregg Barsby followed up a solid top 5 performance at the Memorial with a win in California while Ken Climo continued his winning ways in Florida.

Gregg Barsby pulls away to win the St. Patrick’s Classic

Any time there is a big tournament in California, you can bet there will be some stiff competition. Local players like Philo Brathwaite, Steve Rico, Peter McBride, and Drew Gibson joined the likes of Ricky Wysocki, Nikko Locasrto, and Gregg Barsby in what was sure to be a tight battle.

The St. Patrick’s Classic was as much a mental challenge as it was a disc golf competition. Competitors played two rounds of 27 holes before a third round of 18. When you see guys like Nikko Locastro and Philo Brathwaite come in with rounds under 1000-rated, you know it was a tough battle.

As usual, it took three solid rounds of 1000+ rated disc golf to take home the victory. Right out of the gate, Ricky Wysocki and James Procter torched the course, shooting 14 under par through 27 holes. There were about 15 golfers within just 4 strokes of the lead after the first round, so it was anyone’s competition to take.

Gregg Barsby didn’t quite match Wysocki in the first round, but he sat just three strokes back heading into Saturday’s second round of 27 holes. In recent years, Barsby hasn’t lit up the leaderboards of big tournaments, but it’s clear that he’s on a mission this year. He put four solid rounds together at the Memorial and he brought that same consistency to the St. Patrick’s Classic. His 1057-rated 65 was good enough for the hot round, but bested Wysocki by just one stroke. Steve Rico and James Procter were still hanging tight, but the top two spots were squarely in the hands of Wysocky and Barsby.

We usually see Ricky Wysocki post some crazy scores to build big leads in tournaments all year, but this weekend it was Barsby who would pull away from the competition. After completing 54 holes in the previous two rounds, Barsby had enough left in the tank to blow the competition away in the final 18. His 1059-rated 44 overtook the rest of the field by at least three and brought him to a two stroke victory over Wysocki. We’ll see if Barsby can continue this high level of play throughout 2015.

On the women’s side of the St. Patrick Classic, Jessica Weese really ran away with the competition. Like the men’s side, the competition was pretty tight heading into the final round. Jessica Weese led Ohn Scoggins by just two strokes heading into the final 18. What really separated Weese from the field, and lifted her to an 8 stroke victory, was her impressive 1008-rated 49 in the third round. We’re seeing plenty of 1000-rated rounds in the female open division this year and we’re hoping it continues throughout 2015.

Ken Climo continues his winning ways, Paige Pierce cannot be stopped in 2015

There are two people you definitely don’t want to play disc golf against in the state of Florida—Ken Climo and JohnE McCray. McCray was not in the field for the Suncoast Duel in the Sun, but Climo would certainly let his presence be felt.

Climo certainly had his work cut out for him in this Florida A-tier. He was joined by Prodigy stars like Cale Leiviska, Paul Ulibarri, and 2015 Memorial champion, Jeremy Koling. In the first round, the young guns made their impact. Climo fell behind with a sub 1000-rated round while Jeremy Koling and Aleksey Bubis jumped out to the early lead.

Climo turned up the heat on his home turf for the second and third rounds. True to champ form, Climo stormed back and shot the hot round with a 1051-rated 45, bringing him into a tie for first place with Jeremy Koling. We know that Koling is on a mission for consistency in 2015, so it would be tough for Climo to take him down with just one round of 18 and a final 9 to go.

In the final round, Climo pulled away from the competition. He shot another hot round, this time with a 1052-rated 44. Aleksey Bubis bounced back from a tough second round to tie Climo, but that still put him three strokes behind the champ for the lead heading into the final 9. The young guns of the tournament faltered a bit, losing at least three strokes to Climo in the round. There wasn’t much movement in the final 9, but it did result in a massive tie for second, 4 strokes behind Climo. Bubis, Koling, Leviska, Charlie Goodpasture, and Calvin Heimburg all shared a piece of second place.

Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen met once again in the women’s field, but Paige Pierce had every intention of keeping her 2015 unbeaten streak going. We’re used to seeing some great back and forth battles between these two, but Pierce would win in a wire to wire victory this weekend. Paige Pierce shot the hot round in each of the three full rounds, culminating with a 1005-rated final 9. Here’s to a 2015 season filled with more battles between Allen and Pierce.

Looking ahead

It’s going to take until late April to get back to our rhythm of about three professional A-tier events per weekend. For now, though, we’ll have to settle for a week off before the Daniel Boe Memorial tournament and 20th Annual Texas State Championships on the weekend of March 28.

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