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Sharks in the Water: The Competitive Depth of the DGPT MPO Field in 2023

By Nick Quargnenti

Article written by: Nick Quargnenti – DGPT Marketing Coordinator

As the 2023 Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) season unfolds, the MPO (Mixed Professional Open) division has been witnessing an unprecedented level of competitiveness. As elite players gather on the DGPT battleground, even the most accomplished champions face formidable challenges in their quest for victory, highlighting the intense competition within the MPO field this season. Emerging stars have further intensified the battle among the top competitors, securing victories at prestigious events and adding to the excitement of the 2023 DGPT season. With new faces gracing the podium each week and unexpected halts to cash streaks, the sport appears to be entering a new era.

Some 2023 DGPT Season Champions, so far. Photos: Kevin Huver / DGPT

Emerson Keith (PDGA# 47472) kickstarted the season’s trend with a breakthrough victory at the OTB Open, his first-ever DGPT Elite Event win. However, Keith surprisingly missed cash at the Portland Open, the very next DGPT Elite Event after OTB.

Emerson Keith at the 2023 OTB Open. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

Following suit, Adam Hammes (PDGA# 57365), the Portland Open champion, faltered at the subsequent Dynamic Discs Open (DDO) and failed to secure a finish above the cash line after his win. The win in Portland marked Hammes’ first DGPT Elite Event win since the 2021 MVP Open at Maple Hill.

Adam Hammes at the 2023 Portland Open. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

Another inaugural champion this season is “Peter” Parker Welck (PDGA# 39491). Welck, who missed cash at the Portland Open, rebounded with a win at the DDO. Unfortunately, he also missed cash at the following DGPT Elite Event, the Des Moines Challenge (DMC).

The streak of going from first place to missing cash at Elite Events came to an end at the recent Preserve Championship, thanks to Gannon Buhr (PDGA# 75412) who achieved a top-10 finish in Clearwater, MN after triumphing at the DMC.

Gannon Buhr Celebrates His Win at the 2023 Des Moines Challenge. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

The competitive landscape of the MPO field extends beyond Elite Events, spilling over to Silver Events and EuroTour winners as well. Eagle McMahon (PDGA# 37817), who missed cash at the OTB Open, managed to bounce back and secure a victory at the Beaver State Fling, the following Silver Event. Evan Scott (PDGA# 89394), after missing cash at the Portland Open, found redemption by securing his first DGPT event victory at the Zoo Town Open (Silver Event).

Evan Scott and Eagle McMahon Celebrate Silver Event Victories. Photos: Kevin Huver / DGPT

Niklas Anttila (PDGA# 91249) had a similar journey, missing cash at the Portland Open before capturing his first EuroTour victory of the season at the Konopiště Open.

Niklas Anttila, Konopiště Open 2023, Kuva: PDGA Euro Tour

Additionally, several historic disc golf cash streaks have recently come to an end. Nate Sexton (PDGA# 18824), a disc golf veteran and Major champion, saw his astonishing 264-event cash streak come to an end at the 2023 Portland Open. This significant milestone marks the conclusion of a cash streak that began nearly a decade ago. The previous longest streak, held by Cale Leiviska (PDGA# 24341) with 307 consecutive cash finishes, was broken at the 2022 Las Vegas Challenge. The end of these remarkable streaks not only indicates a shifting dynamic in the professional disc golf scene but also amplifies these players’ incredible consistency and accomplishments.

Nate Sexton Throws His Trademark Forehand. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

Amidst the unpredictability of players going from missing cash to winning events and back again, Calvin Heimburg and Gannon Buhr have emerged as shining examples of resilience this season. These exceptional players have achieved an extraordinary feat, each securing not one, not two, but an impressive three victories in DGPT events so far this season.

Gannon Buhr and Calvin Heimburg During the 2023 Season. Photos: Kevin Huver / DGPT

While Ricky Wysocki (PDGA# 38008) added another triumph to his record by winning his second DGPT event of the year at The Preserve Championship (after also claiming victory at the 2023 Cascade Challenge) the remaining tournaments have witnessed a diverse array of champions. Many of these winners are relatively new to the winner’s circle, further highlighting the depth of talent and the captivating nature of the competition in the professional disc golf scene.

In the past, predicting DGPT champions was more predictable, with players like Paul McBeth (PDGA# 27523) and Ricky Wysocki dominating the scene. Back in 2017, for instance, it was a safe bet to consider McBeth and Wysocki as solid contenders, as they amassed an impressive total of 15 victories between them.

Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki During the 2023 Season. Photos: Kevin Huver / DGPT

In 2019, McBeth secured an astonishing nine DGPT event victories, boasting an incredible win percentage of 64.29%. This exceptional performance places McBeth among the elite in disc golf history, and his 2015 season stands as the highest win percentage recorded in the past decade at 66.67%. These statistics make us wonder if we will witness another winning streak of this magnitude in the future given the growth of the game.

Paul McBeth Lines Up His Throw During the 2019 Season. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

The 2023 professional disc golf season has showcased intense competition, fluctuating cash streaks, and the rise of new winners in the MPO division. The battles on the Disc Golf Pro Tour are more unpredictable and captivating than ever, demonstrating the depth of talent and fierce drive among players to claim victory. As each event brings surprises and fresh faces to the winner’s podium, the future of professional disc golf looks bright, promising an exhilarating journey for players and fans alike.

Witness History as the Rest of the Season Unfolds on DGN!