It has been a fantastic start to the 2016 disc golf tournament season! Many competitors and fans will likely argue that this year looks to be one of the most exciting in disc golf history. Team Innova is already rolling, racking up tournament wins around the world. None have been larger than Paul McBeth‘s back-to-back victories; which have earned him the top spots on both the PDGA National Tour and Disc Golf World Tour .
McBeth was feeling right at home in southern California as he dialed up his game for the La Mirada Open. La Mirada played host to the season’s first Disc Golf World Tour event, which felt every bit like an early season, Major championship. The world’s top disc golfers were on hand to tackle one of the most revered courses in America – La Mirada Regional Park. McBeth grew up less than hour from La Mirada so he was even more prepared for this historic event.
The win did not come as easily as the final leaderboard might suggest. While McBeth won by a total of six throws, things were considerably tighter than that early in the final round. McBeth struggled with the putter, which is unusual for him. Paul’s struggles behind the mini, combined with some hard-charging veterans narrowed the gap and added some drama down the stretch.
For this win McBeth needed to rely on solid driving which was tracked in detail via the DGWT Disc Golf Metrix system. While Paul ranked 1st in greens hit, he ranked 19th in putts made inside the circle. McBeth fared better on putts outside the circle (ranked 10th) but clearly he relied on his other strengths and pure mental toughness to capture the win.
Team Innova brought home four wins in Kansas. Justin McLuen and Duane CD Steiner swept the Masters and Grandmasters divisions on Saturday at the Kan-U-Wyco in Bonner Springs, and then again on Sunday at the Rosedale Cup in Kansas City. McLuen has gotten off to a particularly good start this year with a 6th place finish at Innova’s Gentlemen’s Club Challenge, followed by a 5th place finish at the Memorial Championship.
Team members brought home another four wins in South Carolina, all at the same event! Barry Schultz led the charge with an Open win at the Earlewood Classic in Columbia. Innova went on to sweep the other divisions as Jessica Hill grabbed Pro Women, Matt Peckham finished tops in Masters, and Hall of Famer Alan Beaver smoked the field in Grandmasters to complete the sweep.
Jay “Yeti” Reading and Lisa Fajkus snagged a pair of wins in Texas. Jay blistered it early shooting 49 (-15) in round one, and continued to ride his Yeti Pro Aviar to an Open victory at the Circular Skies Over Llano. “I was bogey free and my putter never touched the ground inside the circle”, said Reading. Fajkus was over in Red Rock, TX, where she won Pro Women at the 18th Annual Red Rock Show. Casey Wright also had a strong showing at Red Rocks, taking home 2nd place in the Open Division.
J.D. Ramirez added a win in Texas as well. J.D. squeaked out a 1-shot victory in Open at the 2nd Annual Disc Shop Open in Fort Worth. J.D. is having a great season so far. This marked his 4th win already in 2016.
Last but not least, Virginia Ambassador Bob Cannon captured a Masters win at the Winchester IFO in Winchester, VA. This was Bob’s second win of the year. Congratulations to Bob and all of our team members on an excellent weekend on the tournament scene.
We now head into a bit of a lull in high-level tournament action. While there are many PDGA A-tier events during the next few weeks, the next National Tour stop is not until April 28-30 when the Glass Blown Open returns to Emporia. The very next weekend the National Tour scoots over to Kansas City for the 34th Annual Kansas City Wide Open on May 6-8, 2016. That same weekend, Event #2 on the Disc Golf World Tour – the Konopiste Open – will be held in Benesov, Czech Republic.