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2017 DGPT Championship: MPO Quarterfinals Preview – Who has what it takes to make it to Saturday?

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We have finished round one. Twelve men have advanced (due to four players who are qualified for quarterfinals not attending), and meaning after round one, one person saw
their season come to a close here in Jacksonville. The twelve who have advanced will now take on all of those who received a bye to the quarterfinals round. The Friday competition will feature twenty-five men competing to shoot the eight best rounds of the day in order to advance to the semifinals round. Below we will discuss the play of the twelve who advanced today, along with each of the players who will begin their play here on Friday in the quarterfinal round.
Not advancing
Today the season ended for Jeffery Renner. Jeff has grinded it out this year, playing in 29 events and 8 of the 9 Pro Tour stops. Jeff shot a decent +2 on the day and looked to be advancing until a late charge by Dustin Keegan moved the two of them into a tie where the tie breaker is based on tour standing. Since Dustin finished 26th in tour standings and Jeffery finished 37th. We bid farewell to Jeffery for this weekend but we will look forward to seeing him again next year out on tour.
The twelve advancing from round one
26. Dustin Keegan
Dustin spent most of his day battling from behind. However, Dustin was able to card the birdie on hole 18 to secure the last spot in the quarterfinals round after breaking his tie with Jeffery Renner on tour standings. Dustin was able to stay positive on the course even though he was down and pull off a round which was good enough to advance. Dustin will need to play a little bit better tomorrow though if he wants to advance to the semifinals round.
27. Devan Owens
Today Devan finished in the middle of the pack shooting a -2 on the day. As we noted in the round one preview, Devan is no stranger to success. In the past two quality events Devan played in (USDGC and Hall of Fame Open) he was able to put himself on the lead card at both. Now that Devan has played the course, he has a clean slate for tomorrow and will be looking to shoot a round that is good enough to put him in the semifinals.
28. James Cole
Snappy Cole is back for another Cinderella Story. James played his way into the finals last year and will be looking to do the same this year against a stiffer field of competition. James was able to finish T4 on the day, showing he has the ability to handle the New World Disc Golf Course. Tomorrow the scores reset and James will be on the course looking to grind it out again. If James is able to finish T4 tomorrow that should be good enough to put him into the semifinals round.
29. Mike Conlee
Mike started the week with a stat that was fake news due to my (apologies to all of those involved), however, Mike also finished T4 and shows he has the lay of the course here in Jacksonville. Mike didn’t qualify for the championship just to go home on Thursday and we would expect his game plan isn’t to go home tomorrow either. If Mike puts together another solid round tomorrow he will have a shot at advancing. One thing to keep in mind for both Mike and Snappy is the wind was whipping today in Jacksonville, if they have more favorable conditions they will need to shave a few strokes off their score to stay in contention.
31. Zackeriath Johnson
Zackeriath was the top of the card that was covered live today. He carded a two down today, struggling on holes 8 & 9. For Zackeriath to advance to the semifinals and play on Saturday he will need to shore up his play on those two holes. Carding an extra birdie or two wouldn’t hurt. Zackeriath can play high caliber disc golf, afterall that’s what got him this far in the season, he will just need to step up his play from today in order to advance in the championship.
33. Tim Barham
Tim was the second player covered live today. Tim shot a -5 score of 60 today to finish T2 on the day. Tim’s only bogey was on hole 6. At the beginning of the live coverage Will Schusterick predicted the hot round would be a 60 (or higher) and Tim ended up being two strokes off of the hot round. Tim has one adjustment for tomorrow, once he makes that, if he can replicate his performance from today then he should be set to advance to semifinals and continue play on Saturday.
36. JohnE McCray
Ace. JohnE set the tone for his play this week on hole 3 by carding an ace. It was a smooth drive which hyzered straight into the basket. JohnE would have finished with a -5 on the day had he not taken bogeys on 13 and 15. JohnE is easing back into competition after dealing with multiple Lyme disease flare ups this season. He has the ability to make it to the Championship round on Sunday, the question is can he card enough birdies to get him there on Friday and Saturday. He has already made the highlight reel once this week, be looking for him to make it again tomorrow.

39. Paul Oman
HOT ROUND ALERT. Paul Oman carded an impressive -7, 58 today. A feat which Will Schusterick did not think could be reached today due to the conditions. However, the TallOman continues to impress. Now we will have to see if he can continue his hot streak and advance to semifinals. Honestly though, the better question may be – can he do it two days in a row and make it to finals?
41. Dutch Napier
Dutch struggled today on the front nine, however, with so many people advancing he had some wiggle room with his score. Dutch was able to put together a more consistent back nine to finish under par. Dutch will need to figure out a better strategy for how to play the front nine if he wants to advance to the semifinals round. One area of improvement for Dutch will need to be his C2 putting, something we traditionally see him excel at. Today he finished 50% on C2 putting. Even just one of those putts would help to elevate his possibilities of advancing to the semifinals round.
42. Jon Perry
Jon finished one over on the day. This was enough for him to advance, but will not be enough for him to advance against stiffer competition tomorrow. Today Jeff shot three birdies on the front and then offset those with three bogeys. If he can clean up his bogeys, he has shown he can get the birdies out of the course. Jon will be looking to start out hot tomorrow and avoid the extra strokes in order to advance to the semifinals round.
45. Dana Vicich
Dana has one goal in mind – beat his semifinals finish from last year. He played steady today, ultimately finishing one over par. Dana will need to get things dialed in if he wants to advance to the semifinals again this year. Ultimately, Dana struggled to find birdies out on the course today and ended up carding on more bogey than he did birdies. Dana showed last year he has the skills to advance. Can he clean up his game this year in order to capitalize on previous success?

47. Reid Frescura
Reid may be the darkhorse/underdog of the event. The person with the lowest standings finish was able to shoot a -5 today and finish T2. If Reid can repeat tomorrow he will be looking at playing on Saturday with the likes of Simon Lizotte and James Conrad in an effort to make it into the final round here at the Championship.
The players with quarterfinals byes
Now that we have reviewed the MPO players who advanced today, let’s take a look at who earned a bye to quarterfinals and how they can build on their success in the season in order to advance to semifinals on Saturday.
9. Philo Brathwaite
Philo played 8 of the 9 Pro Tour stops this season. While five of his finishes were in the top 15; three of his finishes were below his average. It has not been quite a roller coaster, but it has the workings of one if things do not turn around here. Philo has shown he has the strength and ability to hang with the best on tour, the question just becomes: can Philo shoot a round great enough to advance him to the finals? It’s a little early to see (we still have quite a few players to review), but, Philo has been a solid player and his success from previous years should factor into his potential success this weekend.
10. Nikko Locastro
Nikko’s competition in the Pro Tour this season has been a roller coaster. He started off low, then hit a high point with 4th and 3rd place finishes at Nick Hyde and Jonesboro respectively and then he dropped back down to where we saw him competing at the beginning of the season. Last year we were able to see Nikko capitalize on the wild card spot and make it into the Championship round. This year, we will hope Nikko is able to shoot the rounds he needs in order to make it to the Championship round again.
11. Peter McBride
Peter turned heads last year making it all the way to the finals of the Pro Tour Championship. He ended up finishing 5th, but he knows what it takes to get from the quarterfinals to the finals of the championship. This year Peter played every event except the Utah Open and was able to almost reach the top ten in tour standings. Had he played the Utah Open, or played a little bit better at the Memorial or Vibram we might have seen Peter with a bye to the semifinals round. It is clear Peter knows what he is doing out on tour, so do not sleep on this pick as someone who could go all the way to finals. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to see a repeat?
12. Austin Turner
Austin has been on fire recently. The interesting thing is we have not seen that fire translate to the Pro Tour. Sure, Austin finished 4th at Utah and 6th at Nick Hyde, but in the past few weeks Austin won the Nantucket Open and made it on the lead card at the Hall of Fame Open – capping a finish to the season which saw him take down fourth in the National Tour Point Series. Austin definitely played enough events to card his bye to quarterfinals – he played eight of the nine stops, however, unless he can replicate his performances at Utah and Nick Hyde, or ride some momentum from last weekend – he might be on the outside looking in. Friday will be Austin’s chance to shine – we will see if he is up to the task.
14. Nate Sexton
The reigning USDGC Champion, Nate Sexton enters the event with the most eyes on him, probably more than any other Pro in the event. Will he be able to put together a performance which rivals that of his commanding USDGC win? Nate only played in four of the nine Pro Tour stops this year, never carding worse than an 8th place finish (GMC). If Nate had even played two more events on that level he would have a bye to semifinals. Instead, Nate gets an extra round of practice before he will be playing against the rest of those advancing to the semifinals round on Saturday. At this point it seems like of any of the competitors in the field, Nate almost has a guaranteed spot in the semifinals. However, nothing in life is guaranteed so tune in to watch on Friday to see who will be advancing!
18. Nate Perkins
Nate Perkins grinded it out and played every Pro Tour stop this year plus some. His hard work paid off with a bye to the quarterfinals. Nate carded two top ten finishes at Utah and Idlewild, turning heads with his ability to stay on the lead card through the final round, only getting edged out in the final day from someone on the chase card. Nate has the skills it takes to advance to semifinals round – the key for him will be to get in the groove early and card enough birdies to put him ahead of the pack. Sounds simple, but then again – no one is expecting to advance to semifinals without the same general strategy.
19. Zach Melton
Zach Melton is a competitor from Tennessee who has spent more time on the road this season than we have seen in years past. Last year Zach only competed in two Pro Tour events. This year he competed in seven events, saving his best finish for the last stop on tour – Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship. Zach’s increase in competition edged out his travel buddy Chris by 2 points, but Zach will need to keep an eye on Chris as he looks to advance to the semis on Saturday. Going from 25 competitors to 8 is quite the jump. We will need to see performances similar to Zach’s 6th place GMC finish in order to see him continue play in the Championship on Saturday.
20. Chris Dickerson
Chris Dickerson is also a player from Tennessee who we have seen a lot of this year. Chris’s consistent play at Jonesboro and Idlewild netted him two top five finishes. Chris only played four events this year. In those four events he never finished below 22nd. Chris could be considered a wildcard to make a run for finals, however, with the following he has gained this season, at this point it might as well be expected.
21. Eric Oakley
Putterpants is back in action and ready to take on a competitive field in hopes of advancing to Saturday play. Eric struggled out of the gate this season but put together several top 20 finishes in order to vault him to an easy bye into the quarterfinals round. Eric’s 9th place Utah Open performance was a thing of beauty. He was able to keep his play safe from the OB and card some impressive rounds in the process. Like we have said multiple times before, all it takes is one good round, hopefully Eric has his putter pants turned on and he will be ready to card one of those rounds.
22. A.J. Risley
At this point it would be a stretch to call A.J. a darkhorse pick. After lead card appearances at both the USDGC and the Hall of Fame Classic we know A.J. has what it takes to shoot a hot first round. The real question at this point is if he can pull off two hot rounds in a row and land himself in the finals on Sunday. Regardless of what happens we can expect A.J. to be disciplined and happy – focused on playing his game and hoping he can advance in the Championship.
23. Michael Johansen
MJ showed at GMC this year he knows how to play under pressure. Going toe-to-toe with Nate Doss, MJ seems destined for a big win this season. Since it has not come yet, why not have it happen on the biggest stage of the year, at the final event of the Pro Tour? MJ won’t have Nate Doss to take away the win, so MJ can now focus strictly on playing his game and hoping that is enough to bring home the win. MJ only signed on for the second half of the season but he has proven that’s all he needs. Do not be shocked if you see MJ shooting the hot round of the next two days and we see him playing against the “young guns” for the Tour Championship.
24. David Feldberg
Feldberg is not someone we have seen a lot of on tour this year. His 3rd place Memorial finish and 8th place Jonesboro finish helped solidify his bye to the quarterfinal round. Feldberg will look to draw from his years of competitive experience to put together two solid rounds in hopes of making a run all the way to the final round on Sunday. First though, he will need to shoot the top 8 rounds out of 22 competitors in order to advance to play on Saturday.
25. Andrew Presnell
Andrew turned heads at Idlewild landing on the lead card during round two of the event. He finished the event in 11th place, his second best Pro Tour finish of the season. Andrew used a 7th place finish at the GMC to boost his way into the last quarterfinals bye position. Andrew will look to continue the solid play he displayed during the second half of the tour this year in hopes of shooting one of the best eight rounds today in quarterfinals in order to advance to play on Saturday.
It’s shaping up to be an exciting quarterfinals round on Friday, October 20th here in Jacksonville. Make sure you’re ready to watch all of the action.
Live coverage of the DGPT Tour Championship schedule starts, times listed are EDT: