It’s fair to say that this season of disc golf has been a bit unusual so far. We saw a virtually unknown player take home the win at the 40th Annual Wintertime Open, and The Las Vegas Challenge saw Eagle McMahon bring in his first NT victory.
The 2018 Memorial had its fair share of surprises in store, both for the tournament’s logistical side as well as some lucky breaks for a few players in particular. This four-day event was quite a whirlwind, so let’s recap!
Mastering Fountain Hills
For some, The Memorial is the first event of the season while others have had a few weekends of warm up under their belts. No matter the case, Wednesday’s first round at Fountain Hills went really well for a handful of players, including our very own DUDE Ambassador KJ Nybo.
Finishing the day with an incredible 10 down, Nybo joined the ranks of Ricky Wysocki, JohnE McCray, Nikko Locastro, and Teemu Nissinen. The familiar faces of Simon Lizotte and Eagle McMahon finished just behind them with a pair of 47’s, and with a bit of a rough start to his round, Paul McBeth finished up at -8 with about 10 other players.
Shredding The Course
Called a “birdie fest” by many, day two at Vista Del Camino gave players the opportunity to make some big moves. Several men shot exceptionally well, combining bogey-free play with some hot scores. Thursday’s action was almost like part one of a two-part moving day, as 15 competitors all landed within three strokes of each other at the top of the leaderboard.
Perhaps one of the most noted events that day at Vista, and one that has no doubt has been debated at length throughout the disc golf community, was the potential foot fault from Ricky Wysocki on hole 11. A forehand release that appeared to be well behind Wysocki’s mini created cause for Nikko Locastro to call the violation, yet no one on the card saw it nor was able to second it.
Despite some frustrations from both players, neither seemed to be greatly affected and the rest of the round went off without a hitch. After the day was done, Wysocki and Nybo were in position for the lead card on day 3 along with James Conrad and Arizona local Dave Feldberg.
Luck To Spare
In bogey-free fashion, Simon Lizotte seemed to decide that he was going to win The Memorial once and for all on Friday. With a 14 under round and what some say is an immense amount of luck, Lizotte found himself in a position he’s all too familiar with: going into the final round in the lead.
From great tree kicks and literally bouncing off car tires to remain in bounds, there was no shortage of seemingly trick shots from Lizotte. Friend and teammate Eagle McMahon also had his own set of good fortune with a -12 on the day and the chance to move into first depending on his play during the final round.
While excitement and movement were the name of the game on the men’s side of things, the ladies had more predictability throughout the four-day tournament. Deciding to take the lead and run with it, Paige Pierce completely dominated the women’s open field and won with an 11 stroke difference over 2nd place. Lisa Fajkus and Jessica Weese tied behind Pierce, with Catrina Allen and Jennifer Allen sharing 4th.
Ending The Memorial at Vista rather than Fountain Hills was a big enough change in and of itself, and many questioned if the tournament had the same impact and vibe as it has in previous years. Not letting this element deter him, Simon maintained his lead by keeping a level head and playing safely.
Although he was in contention for a top spot, a few unlucky throws pushed Conrad down in position, ultimately ending in a five-way tie for 6th. Eagle secured second place three strokes behind Lizotte, and Nate Sexton rounded out the top three with -39 for the tournament.
Thankfully, players now have a bit of rest and relaxation time before the next big event in Waco, Texas. We’ve already seen some of them taking epic photos at the Grand Canyon, while others are heading to other parts of Arizona for some peace and quiet. Who do you think will dominate the season, given the surprising finishes we’ve seen so far? Let us know in the comments below!