How the final hole at Disc Side of Heaven played for the MPO division
April 14, 2018 by Matthew Mesite in Analysis with 0 comments
When your 1050-rated, 2-time world champion and tournament winner, Ricky Wysocki, is content to take his par and go home during all three rounds of the tournament, it’s clear that your 18th hole is not pulling any punches. The 818-foot par 4 that closed each round for the competitors at the Jonesboro Open’s Disc Side of Heaven course is billed by the event’s website as “one of the hardest holes on tour.” This final hole features an elevated tee box, followed by a long, uphill fairway flanked by OB on the left side. For most, the tee shot calls for a long, very straight drive through a narrow tree-lined gap, ideally tailing to the right, save for the biggest arms in the division who may choose to throw a massive hyzer over the top.
Statistically the toughest hole on each day of the tournament, according to UDisc Live’s stats, hole 18 averaged over half a stroke over par on the weekend. In fact, through the three-day tournament, only Friday’s first round saw less than half the field shooting over par.
Aided by wintery conditions, the percent of players over par jumped from 37% on Friday to 56% on Saturday and dropped very little at 54% for the final round. When pairing that with 8 triple-bogeys across the three-round event and a whopping 55% of the field left scrambling to save par in Friday’s more favorable conditions, it becomes clear that “send them home happy” is not a mantra of Jonesboro, Arkansas.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom to close out each round, however. Birdies resulted in 19 of the 308 total times the hole was played and over half came on in round one. Of Friday’s 11 birdies, however, two required big-time putts from Zach Melton (60 feet) and Joel Freeman (75 feet). Additional notable achievements came from a trio of long throwers: Paul McBeth, Kevin Jones, and Colten Montgomery. Those three accounted for seven of the 19 birdies, with McBeth being the only one to card a birdie in all three rounds.
Just seven times the field managed to find themselves in position for a tap-in birdie from ten feet or less, but no one enjoyed this luxury more than once over the three rounds. Unsurprisingly, two of those seven players finished in the top three at the end — Garrett Gurthie in second, Montgomery in third — and all but one finished in the top 20.
With numbers like these, questions may arise over the practicality of calling this a par four. The course does boast one par five, appearing just two holes prior. The 855-foot hole 16 averaged just below a 4.8 on the weekend, good for somewhere between the fourth or fifth easiest for the tournament. With hole 18 averaging a bit more than 0.2 strokes lower, a switch to listing it as a par five would drop it from the consensus number one handicapped hole to somewhere just shy of the easiest holes, in terms of average strokes over/under par. But, considering that during two of the three rounds over the half the holes on the course averaged over par, it plays nicely as a challenging, championship level par four that keeps the lead card honest through the very end of the tournament.