TOUR STORYLINES – Invitational

TOUR STORYLINES – Invitational

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The 1st event is in the books. Whether it was the fan-favorite course, the wholesome winners, or the season finally starting, this weekend got many up in their feels.

How can you not be romantic about disc golf?

In no particular order, here are the storylines you should remember or may have missed:

1 – “Olympus has the magic.” – Nate Perkins

Minus All-Stars’ 50 hours of straight rain, this location perfectly contrasted the former Vegas opener. Olympus has teeth and character.

At every turn, it was vast, magical, and seemingly fun to play. It still needs some breaking in, but the design is exactly what many have been hoping for.

  • 2 division layouts with both wooded and bomber shots that played closer to par (no double-digit rounds)
  • Unique terrain: Classic FL low ceilings mixed with demanding landing zones
  • No filler holes with a nail-biter finishing stretch

And this is only a glimpse into the future of the Tour. Championship courses designed/owned by pros will continue to trend upward.

Cale Leiviska’s Preserve Championship is in its 4th year, and Nikko Locastro’s developing his own Houston property. There might even be a 3rd McBeth-designed stop coming soon at Dylan Cease’s other private course – Cactus Rock.

2 – It’s a bug, not a feature.

World Champ Magnus Carlsen (@thediscgolfguy)

DGN 2.0 and PDGA Live’s bumpy rollout continued with some highs and lows.

  • The MPO commentary trio (Ian, Philo, & Climo) had zero dead air but was well-received
  • The video quality was mostly great, PiP on the app worked, and the chess GOAT got some air time
  • The premium ad-free version of the broadcast wasn’t actually ad-free
  • The PDGA Live scorekeeping and stats were still “rudimentary”. Pros and fans alike missed UDisc’s extra features

Adding fuel to the flames, the entire PDGA app went down for just over an hour on Saturday. Not only were the event’s scores not updating, but every ongoing tournament was down.

Overall, the broadcast and live scores were just fine. Including the Pro Tour, we’re all adjusting to the changes, so fingers crossed these issues continue to be bugs, not features.

3 – Is this FPO’s new normal?

With Kristin Tattar busy at Estonia’s Presidential Reception, it felt like anyone’s game. The storyline revolved around the homies’ battle (Hansen & Handley), but Salonen’s masterful throws and a buttoned-up putter changed things.

Surprising herself, she unlocked a new ceiling and walked it in on Hole 18. Salonen’s unofficial event rating of 1012 becomes the 3rd highest in DGPT FPO history only behind Paige Pierce.

But even as she blew past the field, her closest competitors topped out too…

It feels like we’re set up for even more unique winners than last year. The homies, the Finnish Friends, Big Money Missy, and others might give Tattar a run for her money.

POV Tattar (Brian Parks)

4 – Getting the gorilla off his back.

It was “monkey off your back” weekend on the DGPT, and just hours after Salonen broke her 4-year drought, it was AB’s turn. But before he could hoist the chess board, he had to battle his fellow Arizonan bud – Wysocki.

And boy, did they give us a show. Ballooning his lead to 6 strokes at one point, AB’s confidence was at an all-time high. But Wysocki doesn’t settle for 2nd.

The gap closed, and European Open flashbacks were referenced. But through off-season mental and putting prep, AB’s a different man now.

He clutched up to win his 1st career Major/Elite. He’s a champion now, and the field should be scared cause he’s got the full package.

“It’s just unbelievable. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this, and all the losses are worth it now. This feeling’s amazing.” – Barela (DGPT)

2013 Junior Worlds -> 2024 (PDGA)

5 – Expectations were tempered.

It’s way too early to draw any real conclusions, but let’s see who beat or lowered expectations.

Those who impressed:

  • Gannon Buhr – It was hard to tell he was bagging new discs
  • Gavin Rathbun – After becoming sponsor-less, he made the last-minute decision to compete. It paid off with a T6th finish and a couple of grand
  • Paige Pierce – Coming in with zero expectations, she finished top 10 in a promising start

Those who didn’t knock all the rust off:

  • Paul McBeth – Let’s be real, it wasn’t realistic thinking he could continue his winning ways here. But having to scroll down to 52nd place doesn’t instill lots of confidence in his recovery
  • Calvin Heimburg – 2023’s “Final Boss” is dealing with a tweaked elbow that likely led him to miss the top 5 since June

Even as the cream at the top is slowly changing, there’s plenty of time for pros to get up to speed. There’s a long season ahead.

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