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2018 DGPT Championship Preview: The 16 on the hot seat

On October 18th the competition begins. There will be 16 men playing for eight spots in the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship Quarterfinals round. Below we will take a look at each of the 16 men and what it will take for them to advance to the quarterfinals round. Before we get started though, let’s start with a format review.

The Format
In the qualifier and quarterfinals rounds, the top eight scores advance. Winning your card helps, but it is also possible for an entire card to shoot a hot round leaving room for only a few more players to advance. In the semifinals round the eight advancing players will be matched with the semifinals qualified players based on their DGPT standing. Win your card in the semi-finals round, and you will advance to the finals. However, for the sake of this article all you need to remember is that the best eight scores will advance to play on Friday.

The Players
*Please note, the ranks of those playing have been moved up based on the players who will not be attending .

17. Simon Lizotte – After taking 2016 off due to injury, Simon Lizotte qualified for semifinals last year. This year, through a series of unfortunate events, Simon missed two tournaments that he had hoped would help move him further up in the tour points standings. Then to put the icing on top of the proverbial cake, Simon tied in tour points with Gregg Barsby. Since Simon had played fewer events, he ended up needing to play all four days to make it to the finals. Simon is a firecracker on the course. He won the first Pro Tour event of the season and will be trying to draw on that success to make it all the way to finals at the Championship.
18. Chris Dickerson – Last year Chris had a bye to the quarterfinals but was not able to advance past the quarterfinals round. To advance to the semifinals, it took a -5 score. Chris barely finished under par. Chris played the same amount of events this year as he did last year and was unable to secure a quarterfinals spot. This speaks to the competitiveness on tour this season. Chris’s bright moment this season came at Ledgestone where he finished second and had a shot at first place. Watch for Chris to try and reverse his fortunes from last year’s Championship and have a shot bringing home the title.
19. Zach Melton – It’s not uncommon to see Zach’s name right beside Chris Dickerson’s as they travel the same Tennessee region competing. Zach has been consistent across the season, with his worst finish being 31st. Zach turned it on during the second half of the tour tieing for second at Idlewild and eighth at MVP. He has what it takes to make a run; however, last season he fell short in quarterfinals alongside Chris Dickerson so it will be interesting to see if he can capitalize this year.
20. Austin Hannum – This is Austin’s first year on tour. He joined Kevin Jones in the Prodiscus RV and has not looked back. Austin’s breakout performance came at Utah where he finished tied for fourth. Outside of his Utah performance, he has struggled to break the top thirty at events (hitting every stop on tour). Austin has shown he has what it takes, but it looks like he will be a longshot to make it to the finals.
21. A. J. Risley – A. J. qualified for the Tour Championship in 2016 (and did not advance past the first round). In 2017 he followed up his qualified performance with a quarterfinals bye. In 2018 many expected A. J. to make a push for a semifinals bye but after a slow start to the season A. J. struggled to card finishes strong enough to qualify for the Tour Championship. It took a heartbreaking up and down performance at Ledgestone to finally secure A. J.’s spot in the Tour Championship. A. J. will look to move past his over par performance at last year’s Championship for hope at competing in the quarterfinals and beyond next weekend.
22. Bobby Musick – Last year Bobby had to bow out of the Tour Championship at the last moment. This year we are looking forward to seeing what this west coast stalwart can bring to the east coast. Bobby almost cracked the top ten at the first event on tour this season and was finally able to put together a top ten finish at Ledgestone. Bobby’s performance at the New Worlds Sports Complex is untested, but we know he is always a firecracker to watch on the course so we would not be surprised to see him put together a hot round and push on through one or two rounds of the tournament.
23. Calvin Heimburg – The Florida Boy Wonder or Vinny as his friends call him, made a statement at MVP finishing 3rd and putting a definitive statement on his reasoning for playing the final three events of the Pro Tour this season. He wanted us to watch him play in his home state in October. Calvin finished top 11 at all three stops he played this season and even had a lead card appearance at Worlds. Calvin will be a darkhorse pick for anyone who is looking for a raw talent option that might make a deep run at the championship.
24. Colten Montgomery – Colten made waves at the beginning of the season, carding competitive rounds at both Memorial and Waco before showing up and showing out at the cold Jonesboro Open. Colten struggled down the stretch this season, but after spending all year on tour in the Discmania RV, he will be looking to make a closing season statement at the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship.
25. Joel Freeman – Joel had his two top-ten performances at Jonesboro and Utah this season. At his other four events, he struggled to card a strong enough finish to take more than the obligatory one participation point. Joel has the skill to compete on the top level but has only shown flashes of competitiveness on tour. If you are a person who likes to gamble or one of Joel’s Colorado supporters who has watched his competitive prowess you may want to pick him to move on, but his brief flashes may not be enough to ensure much beyond a quarterfinals spot.
26. Peter McBride – Peter is another player much like A. J. who after strong performances in 2016 and 2017 one might have expected at least finish the tour with a quarterfinals bye. That being said, do not sleep on Peter McBride. Peter’s best performances of 2016 and 2017 came at the Tour Championship so he is one you should expect to advance through at least one, if not two, rounds of the championship.
27. Seppo Paju – Seppo was in the top eight in tour points for most of the season. It was not until Seppo opted to take the second half of the tour off that he began to watch players move ahead of him in the tour standings. In 2017 Seppo barely qualified for the Tour Championship and opted not to attend. This year, Seppo knew he wanted to compete in the Championship, and we expect his early season performance along with this drive to help propel him to a strong standing in the championship.
28. David Feldberg – Dave played five events in 2017 and had a bye to quarterfinals. This season Dave only played four events and was able to qualify for the Pro Tour Championship with his fifth-place finishes at Jonesboro and DGLO. Dave was unable to move past the quarterfinals round last season but will draw from his fifth-place finishes to try and advance through the Tour Championship.
29. Anthony Barela – Last year Anthony opted last minute not to attend the Pro Tour Championship. This year, Anthony has stayed on the east coast playing USDGC, the HOF, and the Tour Championship. Finishing 6th at his home tournament (The Memorial) and also at Utah helped him secure his place in the Pro Tour Championship. Anthony seems to enjoy playing on open courses in warm temperatures, so if he can avoid succumbing to the Florida humidity, he may have a shot at advancing through the Pro Tour Championship rounds.
30. Devan Owens – The first of the lucky ones . Devan is filling the spot of one of three players who were unable to attend the Tour Championship. Devan has competed in both of the previous Tour Championships but was unable to advance past the first round in both. Devan’s only top 25 finish on tour this season was at Waco where he finished seventh. Devan will need to draw on this performance for a shot at moving up through the tournament.
31. Andrew Presnell – Andrew Presnell began wowing audiences during the summer of 2017 where he finished strong at the Kansas City Wide Open and had a lead card appearance at Idlewild. This season Andrew struggled on the Pro Tour where his best finish was a tie for 11th at Utah. Andrew has the potential to advance past the first round, but given his performance this season the likelihood appears low for him to make a deep run at the Championship.
32. Reid Frescura – Reid is the last of the lucky ones. Last year Reid advanced all the way through to semifinals after only qualifying for the tour championship. Steve Dodge has Reid pegged to be this year’s Dana Vicich and if Reid can put together a performance like the one he had a Ledgestone he might be able to advance all the way to the Championship.

Thursday is going to be an exciting day at the Pro Tour Championship. All of the action starts at 9 AM ET on the 18th , and we will be live with the noon and 3 PM ET cards which will include Anthony Barela, Devan Owens, Andrew Presnell, and Reid Frescura at noon and Simon Lizotte, Chris Dickerson, Zach Melton, and Austin Hannum at 3 PM.

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