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Discraft’s Great Lakes Open MPO Preview – Will McBeast return or will another player prevail?

By Baker Helton
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​Discraft’s Great Lakes Open starts tomorrow, and there is no time like the present to discuss McBeth’s blistering -18 performance which took place on this very course less than a year ago. A lot of things have changed since last year in both the open division and on the course which could make a repeat performance difficult.

On the Course
Last year there were very few OB spots on the entire course with Hole 18 being the only hole with a noticeable OB hazard. This year, things have changed. With a lengthened and OB strapped hole one, the challenges added to the course come early. Two holes will see the mound separating them become OB (between holes three and thirteen) which will take away the natural bail-out spot for the booming drives which came off the top of hole three last year. OB rope is also on holes fifteen and seventeen for good measure. The only hole getting “easier” this year is hole nine which was moved back 25 feet last year for the men but will return to its original tee position for this year’s contest. The 425 ft, par three, played as pretty accurate to par last year averaging 3.13 throws across all three rounds. Moving this hole up will create more scoring opportunities for those with controlled uphill distance.

The Competition
This year there are nine fewer competitors in the Open field. The reduction in player numbers is due to adding more spots to the FPO field as well as a few last minute drops. The total field size is only two players less than last year. The competition will be fierce as 32% of the field is 1000 rated or better. The competitive portion of the field cannot be understated as last year the player who took second place was not even 1000 rated, showing the Toboggan course presents an equal opportunity for players across the board to score.

The two main stories from last year’s competition at the Discraft Great Lakes Open centered on the aforementioned -18 carded by McBeth and the equally as stunning performance of local Willie Prince. On the final day of competition, Willie Prince stormed up from the chase card with a -14 performance. He played the front nine the same way McBeth had played it the day before, birdieing every hole and taking an eagle three on hole two. Willie will be joining Paul McBeth on the live coverage for day one.

Other competitors in the field include Calvin Heimburg who did not attend last year’s event but is the second highest rated player in attendance this weekend. After starting the season hot, with a win at Las Vegas, he has cooled off with his only other Elite Series podium finish coming at San Francisco where he came in third place. While Calvin has not finished outside the top ten at National Tour events he has struggled at Pro Tour stops so it will be interesting to see how he navigates the hills of the Toboggan course this weekend.

The next two highest rated players in the field this weekend are Kevin Jones and Andrew Fish. Last year Kevin made the lead card for the second round of the tournament but was not able to keep up with McBeth’s -18 pace and ultimately dropped six spots on the second day but was still able to finish in a tie for 7th place. Andrew Fish is playing the Discraft Great Lakes Open for the first time. A regional Pro from Maryland, Andrew has a handful of A-Tier wins under his belt but is still chasing the elusive Elite Series win (or podium finish). Andrew dominated the podium at Iron Hill before the event becoming an NT, so he has cut his chops on some challenging courses. It will be interesting to see how he takes on the Toboggan course this weekend.

Also on the registration list is last year’s third-place finisher Nikko Locastro. His finish last year at this event was his best Pro Tour finish during the regular season. Outside of the MVP Open where he finished 8th, it was also his only finish inside the top 10 last season. Nikko has missed a few more events than he did last season and this season he is averaging over 20 spots worse in finishing position, but maybe the Toboggan course will carry some magic to help him get his season back on track.

​Finally, just like last year had Willie Prince who made a push towards unseating Paul, this year a storied Pro will be making a push to upstage Paul two weekends in a row. Last weekend at the CCR Open Garrett Gurthie came from behind during the final round to best Paul McBeth by two throws. On the heels of his first National Tour victory in May, Garrett could also be hitting his stride and be ready for his first Disc Golf Pro Tour victory as well. If he can overcome his 24th place performance from last year, he could be able to challenge McBeth this weekend.

It is clear that there is not a shortage of talent in this year’s DGLO tournament. The question remains will one of the other 42 1000+ rated players step up to challenge McBeth, or are we destined to see another repeat victory for the McBeast? You can tune in to watch live starting tomorrow, July 5th at 3:30 PM ET on the Disc Golf Pro Tour YouTube channel. CentralCoastDiscGolf will be providing the edited MPO Feature and Lead card coverage this weekend to make sure to tune in to watch for their videos coming down the pipeline. This is an event you will not want to miss!