Glass Blown Open Preview: Digging Into Probable Top 10 Finishers

McMahon, McCabe, Fajkus, and King highlight players to watch

Eagle McMahon seems poised for another strong finish. Photo: PDGA

Yesterday we published win, top-5, and top-10 probabilities for players competing in the 2018 Glass Blown Open. These probabilities are based on Elo ratings, which we introduced a few months ago. The probabilities for who stands a good chance of winning are not all that surprising (for example, Paige Pierce and Ricky Wysocki, and Paul McBeth), but other aspects are very interesting. In this preview, we investigate a few of them.

One variable in the win probability model is regarding how players performed at the tournament in the previous year. Some of the more astute of you will note that both the Open and Open Women’s divisions are playing on different courses than last year, which may diminish the importance of this variable for this tournament. However, the model was built using many years of data,1 including tournaments that switched courses from one year to the next, so this type of issue is, in a way, baked into the model. In addition, things like climate, season, and geography are similar for a given tournament independent of which specific courses are used, lending further credence to the inclusion of this variable in the model.

Performance at last year’s tournament greatly improved the win probabilities for last year’s winners McBeth and Pierce, but it also improved the probabilities for those that we do not consider frontrunners, such as JohnE McCray and Jennifer Allen. Both players outperformed their PDGA ratings in the weather-shortened tournament and significantly improved their Elo ratings. Other strong performers from last year, Chris Clemons, and Des Reading, each have a 14.2- and 33.6-percent chance, respectively, to finish in the top-10 this year.

Another variable in the model is a player’s current Elo rating. Pierce (by a lot!) and McBeth (by very little!) have the highest ratings in each division, respectively. But if you had been able to see the Elo ratings at the start of this year and how they have changed since then, you would notice that Eagle McMahon stands out. He has played very well this season, and despite playing one fewer DGPT tournament (he skipped the WACO), he has the second highest proportionate increase in Elo rating at over 3-percent,2 which equals over 50 ratings points and a 65-percent increase in win probability. Based on how McMahon’s Elo rating has improved in the early part of 2018 — due to his strong play — his top-5 and top-10 probabilities have gone up 53- and 42- percent respectively.

This model also serves to remind us of some very good players who, occasionally, remain just outside of the lead and chase cards at high-profile events. Two players that fall into this category are Eric McCabe and Elaine King. Both do not tour as much as they used to, but they still compete at a high level, to say the least. The model gives McCabe an 18-percent chance to finish in the top-10 and King a 35-percent chance to do the same.

With Pierce, Catrina Allen, Sarah Hokom and Valarie Jenkins in attendance, breaking into the top-5 will be a challenge. Jessica Weese and Madison Walker are both building off of strong finishes in recent tournaments, and some A-Tier wins. Weese has a 30.8-percent chance to do it, while Walker’s is 12.1, based on the model. Both players, however, have a strong likelihood of a top-10 finish. Lisa Fajkus is the only player in the division outside of the top four with better than 50-percent odds to break into the top-5.

Elsewhere, in the Open division, Joel Freeman and Nate Perkins have both had their share of strong performances early this season. Based on the model, both players have a roughly 10-percent chance at a top-10 finish. That puts each player inside a group of the top 30 players with the best chances to finish inside the top 10.

These are just a few players that these probabilities highlight at this year’s GBO. What other players stand out to you in the full rankings below? If you spot anything interesting, share it in the comments section.

PlayerElo RatingChange In EloWin Prob.Top-5 Prob.Top-10 Prob.
Paul McBeth2004.91324.782.993.4
Richard Wysocki2004.310.922.780.792.5
Nathan Sexton1774.7123.532.957.7
Jeremy Koling1797.783.532.157.1
Simon Lizotte1764.310.9329.153.4
Nathan Doss1784.26.32.82751.1
Paul Ulibarri17905.22.826.750.9
Philo Brathwaite1768.382.626.249.9
Nikko Locastro17855.12.625.749.5
Devan Owens1755.182.323.846.6
Eagle McMahon1723.44.51.415.533.9
Drew Gibson17063.31.112.528.5
Johne Mccray1670.28.8112.628.4
Gregg Barsby1679.95.80.911.526.5
James Conrad1616.
Eric McCabe1629.
Zach Melton1646.
Austin Turner1601.
Chris Clemons1567.4110.45.814.2
Dustin Keegan1628.900.45.213.2
A.J. Risley1591.
Seppo Paju1622.100.44.912.4
Peter McBride1603.500.34.110.5
Nate Perkins1565.
Henrik Johansen1595.
Eric Oakley1583.
Matt Bell1568.24.70.3410.1
Joel Freeman1560.
Zackeriath Johnson1579.
Austin Hannum1538.
Jordan Castro1548.
Chris Dickerson1581.400.23.38.7
Miles Seaborn1530.
Alex Russell1540.
Andrew Presnell15475.
Patrick Blazek1550.
Kyle Webster1544.
Emerson Keith1546.
Chris Eads1519.990.23.38.3
Zachary Newhouse1514.
Cooper Arnold15237.
Weston Isaacs1531.
Isaac Heinen15186.
Coby Guice15008.
Jake Lauber15263.
Kevin Jones1544.500.22.46.2
Grady Shue1542.600.22.36.1
Shawn Sullivan1509.
Joshua Anthon1542.200.22.36
Lance Brown1542.100.22.36
Jerome Knott15134.50.22.36
Nick Wood1538.900.22.25.9
Jeff Renner1538.300.22.25.8
Garrett Gurthie153800.22.25.8
Steven Jacobs15006.
Ziggy Bierekoven1535.400.22.25.7
Benjamin Wiggins15005.
Jacob Mott1511.
Billy Engel1517.
Noah Meintsma1528.200.125.3
Crispin Carrasco15004.
Jeffrey Bryk1507.
Ryan Orton1508.
Henry Dissell1505.
Benjamin Callaway1523.800.11.95.1
Ryan Nyc1504.
Colten Montgomery1530.9-
Robbie Olson1504.
J.C. Kester151500.11.84.7
Bartosz Kowalewski1514.800.11.84.7
Preston Johnson1514.
Cameron Sheehan151300.11.74.6
Rick Steehler1506.
Thomas Gilbert1511.500.11.74.5
Michael Florey1510.900.11.74.5
Dylan Horst1510.500.11.74.5
Ryan Anderson15070.
Christian Olsen1502.
Bryan Freese1507.500.11.74.4
Tristan Lucerne1506.900.11.64.3
Kesler Martin1506.800.11.64.3
Russell Jessop1506.700.11.64.3
Peter Bures1503.
Coda Hatfield1505.900.11.64.3
Nate Metzler1505.600.11.64.3
Chris Tellesbo1505.400.11.64.3
Robert Craig1504.400.11.64.2
Brandon Cawthorne1512.8-
Ralf Rogov1503.
Marshall Blanks1503.
Tommy Arianoutsos150300.11.64.2
Stephen Schroeder1502.600.11.64.2
Micah Funderburgh1502.
Cody Taplin1501.900.11.64.1
Richard Little1501.500.11.64.1
Ryan Knuth1502-
Jason Hebenheimer1500.800.11.64.1
Justin Bilodeau1500.700.11.64.1
Dominic Vassari1500.
Tommy Agent150000.11.54.1
Nathan Allton150000.11.54.1
Jacob Armbrust150000.11.54.1
Jesse Buchanan150000.11.54.1
AJ Carey150000.11.54.1
Linus Carlsson150000.11.54.1
James Chamberlain150000.11.54.1
Curtis Cooper150000.11.54.1
Johan Davidsson150000.11.54.1
Steven Dodge150000.11.54.1
Joe Dirt Douglass150000.11.54.1
Magnus Dunder150000.11.54.1
Jeremy Farnsworth150000.11.54.1
Cody Greenfield150000.11.54.1
Jeremy Harvey150000.11.54.1
Ryan Heeti150000.11.54.1
Tanner Helm150000.11.54.1
James Hufford150000.11.54.1
Tyler Jessop150000.11.54.1
David Johansen150000.11.54.1
Viktor Johansen150000.11.54.1
Ashton Kroenlein150000.11.54.1
Fletch Kuehne150000.11.54.1
Marion Kull150000.11.54.1
Jake Lazzo150000.11.54.1
Lee Letts150000.11.54.1
Zane Letts150000.11.54.1
Joseph Lowe150000.11.54.1
Ricardo Martinez150000.11.54.1
Andrew Marwede150000.11.54.1
Kyle McClure150000.11.54.1
Sam Michaels150000.11.54.1
J.C. Mitchell150000.11.54.1
Jared Neal150000.11.54.1
Cory Obermeyer150000.11.54.1
Brendan Orwig150000.11.54.1
Roderick Plumley150000.11.54.1
Lucas Potts150000.11.54.1
Nichles O. Potts150000.11.54.1
Cody Prugger150000.11.54.1
Chris Richard150000.11.54.1
Nicholas Rowton150000.11.54.1
Kevin Shaffer150000.11.54.1
Brian Shintaku150000.11.54.1
Mario Short150000.11.54.1
George Smith150000.11.54.1
Ben Stafford150000.11.54.1
Justin Starks150000.11.54.1
Henrik Vännström150000.11.54.1
Robin Villman150000.11.54.1
Nick Whited150000.11.54.1
Andrew Wiler150000.11.54.1
Trevor Wilkerson150000.11.54.1
Ryan Wilking150000.11.54.1
Chris Wojciechowski150000.11.54.1
Seth Wood150000.11.54.1
Slim Belcher1499.900.11.54.1
John Jones1499.200.11.54
Alex Berg1499.200.11.54
Alan Wagner1498.700.11.54
Tim Mitchell149800.11.54
Taylor Pennington149800.11.54
Daniel Lindahl1497.400.11.54
Nick Lopez1497.300.11.54
David Potts1497.200.11.54
William Lister1496.600.11.53.9
Tyler Jeffery1496.600.11.53.9
Joseph Bruno1496.500.11.53.9
Zachary Hardham1496.
Benjamin Smith1495.900.11.53.9
Chris Zagone1495.
Landen Fledderjohn1494.900.11.53.9
Cory Winant1494.600.11.53.9
Matt Jackson1494.500.11.53.9
Nick Walker1493.800.11.53.8
Jonathan Fletcher1493.300.11.43.8
Brandon Oatman1503.7-
Nicholas Duran1500.3-
Sean Jumbo Slice Roggiero1490.500.11.43.7
Andrew Dominguez1490.
Thomas Malone1488.700.11.43.6
Brock Shepherd1503.2-
Daniel Sweet1494.6-
Brian Cole1503.8-
Cory Sharp1494-
PlayerElo RatingChange In EloWin Prob.Top-5 Prob.Top-10 Prob.
Paige Pierce1708.110.539.899.799.9
Catrina Allen16677.928.598.299.6
Sarah Hokom1618.43.811.282.896.6
Valarie Jenkins1589.33.24.858.490
Jessica Weese1564.
Lisa Fajkus1563.715.11.466.786
Jennifer Allen1559.65.81.636.276.3
Madison Walker15410112.153.7
Zoe Andyke1530.500.78.243.5
Paige Bjerkaas1530.22.60.610.846.6
Melody Waibel1527.
Nicole Bradley1522.400.56.136
Elaine King152200.5635.6
Karina Nowels1518.400.55.232.5
Ellen Widboom1517.200.4531.5
Rebecca Cox1513.
Des Reading1509.
Vanessa Van Dyken1506.200.33.323.1
Nicole Dionisio1503.6-
Tina Stanaitis1502.7-30.3218.3
Kona Star Panis1501.300.22.719.8
Emily Beach150000.22.519
Andrea Meyers150000.22.519
Missy Gannon150000.22.519
Sarah Gilpin150000.22.519
Erin Griepsma150000.22.519
Christina Linthicum150000.22.519
Colleen Thompson150000.22.519
Angelina Videtto150000.22.519
Sydney Wallenfelsz150000.22.519
Jennifer Wheeling150000.22.519
Nicole Young150000.22.519
Sai Ananda1499.400.22.518.7
Denise Cameron1497.3-
Kristy Moore1494.700.22.116.1
Marla Tuttle1494.400.2215.9
Kaylee Kincaid1493.3-
Kelly Tucker1493.100.21.915.3
Lauren Butler1492.700.21.915

  1. Over 6 years for MPO and over 2 years for FPO. 

  2. This value is calculated as (Current Elo – Elo at the start of 2018)/Elo at the start of 2018. 

  1. Aaron Howard
    Aaron Howard

    Aaron Howard is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Franklin & Marshall College. He loves to play disc golf and to think about things he loves quantitatively. Contact him at and follow him on Instagram.

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