Fantasy Focus: Glass Blown Open

It's history versus the hot hand for this week's lineup conundrums

Ricky Wysocki and Paul McBeth are always great lineup anchors, but who is better at this week’s Glass Blown Open? Photos: PDGA

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Dynamic Discs Glass Blown Open Outlook

History, or the hot hand?

When it comes to your choice between Paul McBeth or Ricky Wysocki atop your fantasy lineup for the Dynamic Discs Glass Blown Open, which starts Thursday, those are essentially your options.

First, the history: In seven career GBO starts, McBeth’s low finish is 14th place, way back in 2011. In the five appearances there since, he’s come in 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, and 2nd. Toss in his performance at last year’s Professional Disc Golf World Championships, which took place on two of the three tracks he’ll attack at GBO this week, and you can add in yet another second place finish. Needless to say, if you roll with McBeth, you almost certainly know what you’re going to get.

But there’s still the hot hand to contend with, and it’s one that belongs to the reigning PDGA World Champion — who took that title on these same courses. For Wysocki, though, it’s more difficult to draw upon that success when forecasting his play this week, as his championship triumph came in August, when the conditions were vastly different. If you instead look at his past GBO showings, it actually gets a bit dicey: Outside of last year’s second place tie with McBeth, Wysocki has not cracked the top 5 at the GBO, instead logging an 8th place finish, two 10th places, and a 14th.

So why roster him this week? Because at the end of three rounds in his last two tournaments — the Texas State Championships and the Jonesboro Open — he’s held 10- and nine-shot leads, respectively. That third round was the culmination of the Texas event, while Jonesboro found him faltering in round four but still holding on for victory. With only three rounds to be played this week in Emporia — and Wysocki’s known desire for playing in undesirable conditions, which are in the forecast — he’s just as likely to jump out to another lead.

All this is to say: You can’t really go wrong this week when it comes to your lineup’s cornerstone player. But you might be able to be slightly more right.

Lineup Building Strategies

1) Hot Hands

Everyone loves a winner — especially someone who’s won recently. And in keeping with the spirit of our lead idea this week, you can make a lineup full of hot hands. Anchored by Wysocki and Simon Lizotte — who has not finished lower than third place since March and should be in any lineup you construct — and rounded out with Lewis Bitney — who won last weekend’s Taneycomo Throwdown and comes filthy cheap with a 1000 rating — you’ll barely be able to enter the lineup on SkipAce, the keyboard will be so hot. — SH

2) History

Don’t let Steve tell you otherwise up there — experience and past results are much, much more important than who’s hot right now. Okay, I’m just hamming it up; both are important. But when you have a field of this size, why not have some fun if you’re in multiple leagues by going with hot hand picks in one league and the history of past results in the other and compare your scores?

Besides going with Paul McBeth, the 2015 GBO champion, there are some other names with history at this event to consider. Devan Owens has been a lock in the top 10 in Emporia going back to 2010; since then, his average finish there is 5.3. Likewise, Paul Ulibarri has an average finish of 5.5 since 2013. There’s also Matt Orum, who proves every year he’s one of those pros that can just show up at large events and place inside the top 10, despite extended absences from the tour scene. In his first time playing the GBO last year he finished sixth, then followed that up with a ninth place finish at the PDGA Professional World Championships in Emporia last summer.

Take the experienced players with a proven track record. If they’ve done it before, chances are they can do it again. — AC

3) Leading Ladies

Catrina Allen and Paige Pierce have been first and second (three wins for Allen to Pierce’s two) at the GBO every year since 2012. That’s five years of consistency to hang your hat on, and plenty of reason to consider stacking the top two women’s players as the first step in building your roster.

This strategy is slightly more palatable in 6,025-point leagues — where you can also easily add McBeth or Wysocki and a solid player in the 1020s — but can also be accomplished in 6,000-point leagues by those willing to throw a little more caution to the Kansas wind. — SH

Leading Ladies
6,000-point leagues 6,025-point leagues  
PlayerRatingPlayerRating
Simon Lizotte1029Paul McBeth1051
Eagle McMahon1028Jeremy Koling1023
Austin Turner1010Devan Owens1015
Lewis Bitney1000Chris Clemons1005
Catrina Allen968Catrina Allen968
Paige Pierce963Paige Pierce963
Total5,998Total6,025

4) Fake Punt

Sometimes when choosing a fantasy lineup, someone intentionally creates a top-heavy roster and just takes whatever is left over to fill out the bottom end — something called “punting” a pick. But punting is boring, and fake punts are the best. See what kind of lineups you can put together with Paige Bjerkaas, Jessica Hill or Maria Oliva in the second FPO spot. All three have an excellent chance at a quality finish this weekend, hence the “fake” moniker for this trick play.

Here’s a potential lineup with Hill that totals exactly 6,000 points:

Fake Punt In 6,000-Point Leagues
PlayerRating 
Paul McBeth1051
Simon Lizotte1029
Matt Orum1028
Eagle McMahon1028
Paige Pierce963
Jessica Hill901
Total6,000

If you choose this strategy, just make sure to hang on to the ball. So not like what Jon Ryan did, but maybe more like Reggie Hodges.

Optimal Lineups

6,000-Point Leagues
Steve's Picks Alex's Picks  
PlayerRatingPlayerRating
Ricky Wysocki1050Ricky Wysocki1050
Simon Lizotte1029Simon Lizotte1029
Eagle McMahon1028Eagle McMahon1028
Devan Owens1015Devan Owens1015
Paige Pierce963Paige Pierce963
Paige Bjerkaas915Paige Bjerkaas915
Total6,000Total5,998

A rare consensus across the board! And yes, we made these lineups separately.

6,025-Point Leagues
Steve's Picks Alex's Picks  
PlayerRatingPlayerRating
Paul McBeth1051Paul McBeth1051
Ricky Wysocki1050Simon Lizotte1029
Simon Lizotte1029Eagle McMahon1028
Lewis Bitney1000Devan Owens1015
Paige Pierce963Paige Pierce963
Jennifer Allen931Jessica Weese938
Total6,024Total6,024

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a lineup with McBeth, Wysocki, Lizotte, and Pierce. Take it to the bank.

Value Plays

Alex Geisinger (1019) – Geisinger hasn’t played much in 2017, but if there is anyone who can come out and dominate on the long, open fairways of Emporia, it’s him. Massive distance is his calling card, but when he gets the putter rolling he’s a top 5 contender.

Devan Owens (1015) – Owens came in ninth at the PDGA Professional World Championships in Emporia last year, tied for fourth at least year’s GBO, and has an excellent average finish at the event, like we mentioned earlier. He’s been playing well on the Disc Golf Pro Tour in recent weeks and there’s no reason that can’t continue at the GBO, especially considering the experience he has there.

Deep Sleepers

Chris Clemons (1005) – Clemons is from Kansas City and is used to all that wind. He finished 19th at last year’s GBO and 20th at the PDGA Professional World Championships in Emporia.

Jessica Hill (901) – The Florida pro has had a good start to the season and finished inside the top 10 at last year’s GBO. She’s playing more consistently and at a higher level now than she was at this time last year, so another top 10 or better is not out of the question.

Shy Away From

Zackeriath Johnson (1004) – Johnson has struggled over the past two months with too many rounds well below his current rating.

Madison Walker (921) – It’s still unclear if Walker’s fully healed and back to 100 percent after dealing with a wrist injury. Stay clear until she’s back to her usual self.

Final Thoughts

With strategies aplenty and a long-time event with voluminous history, there is no excuse to not have your picks dialed in this week. Use every bit of information out there — plus a little intuition — and let it ride.

  1. Steve Hill
    Steve Hill

    Steve Hill is the editor of Ultiworld Disc Golf. He provides reviews from the perspective of a low-powered player at Noodle Arm Disc Golf, and in the past served as the associate editor for Rattling Chains. Contact him at steve.hill@ultiworld.com or on Twitter.

  2. Alex Colucci
    Alex Colucci

    Alex Colucci is the managing editor at Ultiworld Disc Golf. He is a disc golfer currently living in Northeast Ohio who teaches geography sometimes. Contact him at colucc43@gmail.com with tips, news and questions, and follow him on Twitter.

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