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Stat of the Week: Testing Clichés: Drive for Show, Putt for Dough?

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That’s right, folks, we are less than a week away from the fourth stop of the Disc Golf Pro Tour, and that means it’s time for a stat of the week. Most tournaments on the Pro Tour come
with their own storied history, but the San Francisco Open Presented by Innova Champion Discs is about as fresh of a tournament as you can get. Tournament Director Sean Jack told me the story of how an Indiegogo campaign in just the last year brought together almost double their $10,000 goal to build the course that is now the Gleneagles Disc Golf Course. If you haven’t caught their hole previews on their Facebook Page you’re missing out and should head over there right away!
Now that you have a sense of the layout our pros will be playing you’re probably ready to make some predictions, right? Let me guess, you’re thinking big arms and strong putts. Back in April, Lewis Bitney clenched the win at a C-Tier, single round preview event as the only player under par at a 1037 rated, 4-down. It’s hard to say though, the layout our pros will tackle this week has never been played before. This course is huge, and from what I’ve heard the wind is going to play a factor. TD Sean Jack has Eagle and Paige for his picks. Who are you putting in for your fantasy picks?
As we head into one of the longest courses of the season – Gleneagles comes in at a whopping par 62, 9998 ft layout for MPO and a par 66, 9044 ft layout for FPO – this course is sure to test every aspect of your game. As if the length wasn’t enough, the course is set up in truly championship format replete with OB, hazards, and, of course, an island green. Since the Pro Tour is now well underway, we can look at the top of the leaderboards for what’s working. If you haven’t read our Tour Standings Articles make sure to check them out here – MPO Standings and FPO Standings . Let’s take a closer look at the stats of the top-ranked players in FPO and MPO to figure out if the age-old adage “drive for show, putt for dough” holds true on the Pro Tour.
Let’s start our search for the stat of the week in the Pro Tour’s most dominant player, Paige Pierce . Currently, Pierce is having a perfect season, having won literally every event she has entered (on the Pro Tour and beyond). Taking a look at her stats you can quickly figure out how she is holding down the top spot:

Paige Pierce Pro Tour Season Statistics:

When you look at our player statistics you can think of the top four as how the player is driving from the tee and throwing from the fairway on par 4’s and 5’s. The bottom four stats cover what they can make happen after their drives and approaches find the green (or in the case of scramble rate, the rough). Pierce’s strength is in her throwing. If you’re playing against Pierce she is going to beat you from the tee. Comparing Pierce to Lisa Fakjus , arguably the best putter in the FPO division, you can see how Pierce’s brilliant display of power and accuracy of the tee are creating an ample scoring divide.

Lisa Fajkus Pro Tour Season Statistics
Don’t be confused by seeing Fajkus rated at 3 rd in Circle 1 Putts, of all the players who have been there for all three Pro Tour Events, Fajkus is making on average 1-2 more putts per round than the rest of the top ten FPO players. She’s doing well on Fairway hits too, but once you compare Parked, Circle 1 In Regulation, and Circle 2 In Regulation, the scoring divide becomes apparent. Being a phenomenal putter will certainly help you get to the top (Fajkus is ranked third in Pro Tour Standings) but those putts can’t carry you all the way. You need birdie opportunities and with the combination of power and accuracy needed to play the Gleneagles DGC for the San Francisco Open, I predict the FPO leaderboard to be topped by the players can find the most birdie looks, even if they don’t can every putt. Pierce, is obviously dominating this part of the game with her textbook form so I wouldn’t bet on her streak ending here. On the FPO side, it appears the cliché of “Drive for show, putt for dough” doesn’t quite hold up as Pierce is proving she can certainly drive for dough.
What about the MPO side? Does the cliché hold up there? To be in the top ten for Circle 1 Putting in the Men’s Division you have to make at least 92% of your putts from inside 10 meters. Only one player ranked in the top ten for Pro Tour points has accomplished that feat, can you guess who? Nope, it’s not your current Pro Tour leader Ricky Wysocki, it’s Utah crusher, Eric Oakley , who is currently ranked 7 th on the Pro Tour. To focus only on a couple players in this division wouldn’t show the critical complexity of how these players got to the top 10.

Top 10 Pro Tour Season Statistics
In the MPO there are a number of ways to the top, but what’s clear is that you need to perform well in every category and excel in at least one. Almost all of the men are hitting the fairway 75% of the time or more, parking at least 15% of their drives/approaches, and at worst making 86% of their circle 1 putts. That is truly the cream of the crop, and in my opinion, confirms what so many of have been speculating about this year in MPO. I think we are witnessing a new era of disc golf, gone are the days of battles between Ricky and Paul. They may still be the highest rated, and they may be leading the Pro Tour standings for now, but we have been treated to dramatic final round after dramatic final round this season with new and old names vying for their chance at glory.
It is hard to say for sure that the cliché is holding true in MPO. The greatest statistical outliers can be found in Circle 2 Putting, which there has been a ton of energy around on the tour. While most of the Top Ten guys are making around a quarter of their putts from Circle 2, it’s Ricky Wysocki (35%) and James Conrad (43%) that are making the most. At first blush, it’s hard to see why Conrad is a few places back because the numbers are just so close, but a couple percent means a lot at this level. Conrad trails Wysocki by 3 or 4% in circle 1 putts and circle 1 in regulation. Wysocki seems to be a few chain links off on the basket this year, but when you’re one of the greatest putters of all time, your bad day on the green still beats most people’s best. I hesitate to say that the cliché holds true when the competition is just this good. Instead, I’ll reword it a bit, if you want a chance to putt for dough, then you better drive a damn good show too!
What do you think? We have six more events in the DGPT season before the Pro Tour Championship. The more rounds we add to these statistics the more they will show what separates the young gun out for a hot round from the seasoned and steady tour veterans that can play a dream round cool as a cucumber. Share your thoughts in the comments below and of course don’t miss all of our incredible coverage of the San Francisco Open Presented by Innova Champion Discs starting this Friday at 4 pm ET with the FPO feature card. Until then, get out there, enjoy the spring weather, and rattle those chains!