This past weekend was somewhat of a disc golf record, at least in the time that we’ve been covering it. We normally take a look at 2 or 3 A-tier events every weekend, as long as there isn’t a major or NT event. We must be entering the summer months, though, because there were 6 A-tier tournaments (one of which was in Finland) as well as an Amateur major – the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship. This was a busy weekend in the disc golf world, and we’re going to run through all 7 events and let you know the main stories. Here’s a run-down of the tournaments:
- The United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship (USADGC) in Milford, MI
- The High Plains Challenge in Fort Morgan, CO
- The Grip Equipment – Tour Kaatis in Vihti, Finland
- Disc Girls Gone Wild in Laingsburg, MI
- Fort Steilacoom Open in Lakewood, WA
- The Tennessee Disc Golf Championship in Morristown, TN
- The Zoo Town Open in Missoula, MT
Anthony Barela becomes the youngest USADGC winner
What more of a story can you ask for than the USADGC being won by a 15 year old? Maybe a battle with a 14 year old – Izak McDonald – and a 17 year old – Matthew Kashima. That’s right, the famed Toboggan course that we talked about for the Discraft Great Lakes Open last week was taken down by three teenagers.
After the first round, Kashima found himself in the lead with his 1043-rated, course record-tying 51. However, Barela was just 2 strokes behind and McDonald was only trailing by 4. It was set to be a tight race throughout the event.
Despite Kashima’s incredible round, Barela proved that he was the most consistent force out on the Toboggan course this weekend. At 990, Barela was the highest rated player in the field, and he showed exactly why. Of all 143 players, Barela was the only one to shoot three consecutive 1000-rated rounds. After he grabbed hold of a lead in the second round, he went out and took care of business in the final round to take a 4 stroke victory over McDonald.
This is the same Anthony Barela who carded a top-20 finish in the field of 179 at the Memorial Championship. He’s the real deal and it’ll be interesting to see what he and young guns like Kashima and McDonald are able to accomplish moving forward.
Joe Rovere dominates the High Plains Challenge
Joe Rovere, Eagle McMahon, and Jared Roan were the biggest names in attendance for the High Plains Challenge. The world met Eagle McMahon when he stormed into the media coverage at the 2015 Glass Blown Open, tying McBeth for a huge second round and landing on the lead card for the final round. In the first round of this A-tier, McMahon made a strong showing. His 1036-rated 61 put him just one stroke behind Nate Metzler’s lead, so he was in good position heading into the second round.
The competition was tight throughout the second round and McMahon found himself leading by 1 stroke over Rovere as the third round approached. In similar fashion to the GBO, McMahon just couldn’t finish the job. His 965-rated 72 opened the door for other pros and they took advantage. While other competitors were able to gain a few strokes on McMahon, Joe Rovere dominated the field. With a 1066-rated 58, Rovere leapt to the top of the leaderboard and ended up winning by 11 strokes.
Pasi Koivu comes back to win in dramatic fashion at the Tour Kaatis
As is so often the case in the Finnish tournaments, Pasi Koivu and Seppo Paju battled to the finish in a European disc golf event. Even when the two don’t quite play up to their abilities, the matchup is tight. After tying with 1006-rated 61s in the first round, it was still anyone’s tournament to win.
Paju was able to take a 3 stroke lead after turning up his game a bit in the second round. Koivu stumbled, shooting a sub-1000 rated round and it seemed like he may not have the momentum to take a victory. However, in the third and final round, Koivu shot the way we’ve come to expect.
In the third round, Pasi Koivu shot a 1058-rated 57. Paju is capable of matching those numbers, but his 1023-rated 62 came up short and gave Koivu a 2 stroke victory. It’s always a back-and-forth fight between these two, and this won’t be the last we see.
Catrina Allen wins her second straight Disc Girls Gone Wild
When Catrina Allen isn’t battling against Paige Pierce, she often seems completely unstoppable. In Michigan this past weekend, she proved she’s a force to be reckoned with in 2015.
With a 990-rated first round, Allen opened up a 4 stroke lead over Ragna Bygde, and she would not look back. She turned up the heat in the second round with a 1009-rated 50, which effectively put the tournament away. After shooting the hot round again in the third round, the competition kept up with her and her victory ended up at 8 strokes. Heading into the next NT stop, Allen looks ready.
Nate Sexton comes out on top in a chaotic Ft. Steilacoom Open
Usually when an NT stop is coming up, the busiest A-tier of the weekend is the one in the area near the NT. With the Beaver State Fling coming up in Oregon, Washington’s Ft. Steilacoom Open was a hot spot for a few top pros. With Nate Sexton, Ricky Wysocki, and Dave Feldberg in the field, there was sure to be some action.
The three top pros all tied with 49s in the first round, so the match was tight. But things started to get a bit crazy from the second round on. Ricky Wysocki pulled out ahead with a 45, good enough for a 1081 rating and a 2 stroke lead over Sexton. Feldberg, on the other hand, really fell apart in the second round. His 988-rated 55 was very uncharacteristic and it seemed that he would fall out of the running for the title. Never count Feldberg out.
Sexton and Wysocki shot respectably in the third full round with a 48 and 49, respectively. This landed Wysocki in the lead by 1 stroke heading into the Final 9. Feldberg came flying back into the picture, though. His 1077-rated hot round of 45 put him within striking distance, though 6 strokes is an awful lot to overcome in just 9 holes.
Feldberg gave it his all and had a bit of help from Wysocki. While Feldberg shot an incredible 1107-rated 24 on the final 9, Wysocki stumbled and shot a 30. Feldberg came all the way back to tie Wysocki for the event, but Sexton spoiled the fun by barely holding onto a 1 stroke victory. It was a roller coaster event, but Sexton was able to capture his biggest win of 2015, just in time to head into a national tour event on his former home courses.
Will Schusterick wins again in Tennessee
As Dana Vicich often says on the SmashboxxTV podcasts, Will Schusterick is quietly putting together a very solid 2015 season. We saw him win the St. Jude Charity Invitational and he’s taken down a host of local tournaments and claimed top 10 finished throughout the season. This past weekend, Schusterick continued his winning ways in the Tennessee Disc Golf Championship.
When Schusterick is putting well, he’s almost impossible to stop. He must have been putting well this weekend, because there was no question of his victory. Will shot the hot round in each of the three tournament rounds, putting up 1051, 1038, and 1029 ratings for a final victory of 6 strokes over Zach Melton. Schusterick will be heading out to Oregon for the Beaver State Fling, which he won last year. We’ll see if he can claim a repeat victory.
Nikko Locastro picks up his game late, but takes a strong victory at the Zoo Town Open
We’ve been seeing Nikko Locastro all over the tops of leaderboards this season. After a rough end to his 2014 season, Locastro seems to have come into the new year with a new and improved attitude, ready to climb leaderboards like the old days when he was the top rated player in the world. This past weekend, Locastro overcame a slow start to take a win in Montana.
Cale Leiviska was on hand for the Zoo Town Open, and he made his presence known in the first round. His 1058-rated 47 stormed ahead of the competition, leaving Locastro 5 strokes out of the lead. Although Leiviska played well throughout the event, he had serious issues on the final 9, shooting a 924-rated 34. He finished in 3rd, but it was impossible to keep a lead with such a rough finish.
After his rocky start, Locastro went on to shoot three straight hot rounds. In the second round, he shot a 48. The third round brought a 52. The final 9 is where Locastro really showed up to overtake the field. With a 1071-rated 25, Nikko was able to leap to the top of the scoreboard for a 6 stroke victory. Although Christian Dietrich gave him a run for his money, he also struggled in the final 9 and Locastro was able to take advantage.
This was a jam-packed weekend of disc golf. But as always, we’re looking ahead to our next national tour stop. Next weekend, the best players in disc golf will head back to the site of the 2014 World Championships – Milo McIver Park in Portland, OR – for the Beaver State Fling. We’ll see which of the top pros will be able to take advantage of the momentum they built this weekend to claim victory at Milo.