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2019 DGPT Championship Preview: Is It Jones Time to Shine?

By Baker Helton
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As we turn to the DGPT Championship October 18-20th, our next player with a bye to the semifinals is Kevin Jones. Kevin was able to get his first hallmark win on Tour at the Idlewild Open in July. After a break-out performance at the USDGC in 2017, Jones has now secured an Elite Series win and can look towards a potential Tour Championship signature finish.

Jones struck out on the Disc Golf Pro Tour during the second half of the 2017 season. He came up just short of qualifying for the tournament, finishing T58th in a year when the top 50 players made the Tour Championship. In 2018 Kevin decided to tour full time and the lead to a 7th place Tour Standings finish, which was parlayed into a finals finish last year. Kevin’s 7th in Tour Standings in 2018 secured his bye to the semifinals, and then he was able to win the wild card spot in the finals with a -10, the hottest round not winning a card. In the finals, Kevin struggled to get anything going but was able to hang on until he took a quad bogey on hole fourteen. Kevin will be looking to avenge his 2018 performance this year at Hornets Nest.

Where can the stats help Jones?
Diving into the Udisc stats for this season, he’s not close to leading in any category. His best stat is his birdie percentage for which he finished 8th in the regular season. He will need to improve his 57th in scramble percentage and 54th in C1x putting stats to have a shot at the finals.

On the surface, it does not look promising for Kevin, but let’s take a look at his stats specifically from Idlewild, where he found success this season. More importantly, Idlewild is one of the courses most similar to Hornets in play on tour. At Idlewild, Kevin was able to use his 1st in parked and C1 in regulation percentages to secure his first Elite Series victory on tour. He struggled again in the scramble and C1 putting rates finishing 34th and 29th for the tournament, respectively.

Looking at the stats, Kevin’s best shot at a Tour Championship victory is to get on the birdie train early and maintain that performance across two rounds. Kevin will benefit from the single round format, where scores do not carry over, assuming he can make it out of the semifinals round.

What does playing Hornet’s Nest mean for Jones?
In 2012 while players like Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki were playing a final nine to see who would win the World Championships at Hornets Nest; Kevin was finishing up summer break about to head to high school. Now in 2019, Kevin will be joining the likes of Paul McBeth and a few others who were playing in 2012 to play for the Tour Championship. Kevin was able to flourish at the Idlewild course but struggled at other wooded courses on Tour this season. Before Worlds this year, he indicated he was more comfortable playing at Lake Eureka as opposed to the wooded Northwoods track. He played nine throws better each round at Eureka as opposed to Northwoods through the first four rounds of Worlds. Kevin will need to overcome whatever is challenging him in the woods and take advantage of the open holes at Hornets to have a shot at the final round this year. If he can channel the good vibes from his Idlewild, DGLO, and Ledgestone performances to the Tour Championship, he may have a shot.

We are looking forward to watching all of the action October 18-20th on the John Houck modified Hornets course. We cannot thank Charlotte Disc Golf Club and Mark Huether enough for their work in finalizing the course to make sure it is Championship ready. If you have not already, make plans to watch in person or live this is going to be one event you will not want to miss!