Will a smaller field give us an accurate representation of the new course?
May 3, 2019 by Christopher Wiklund in Coverage, Preview with 0 comments
The 2019 Utah Open is billing itself as, “A Preview For The 2020 PDGA Pro Worlds,” which, when they put it that way, kind of sells itself. The Utah Open has been a stop on the Disc Golf Pro Tour since 2017, but is taking this year off the tour to kick the tires on the setup for 2020 Worlds.
This installment of the Utah Open will differ from previous iterations in a number of ways. First, the competitors will play two courses: Fort Buenaventura and Mulligans Creekside. The Fort is described as a tight, wooded counterpoint to Mulligans, the traditional host golf course for the event.
We will also see a diminished field of top players as compared to years past. Ricky Wysocki will be in attendance to defend his title, as will Nate Perkins, Jeremy Koling, Calvin Heimburg, Garrett Gurthie, and Joel Freeman. In the Open Women’s division, Jessica Weese is the only player rated above 900 who will be showing us how the women will be attacking the Fort. This begs the question, without the elite touring field on hand, how much of a 2020 Worlds preview will this be?
Tournament Director Jade Sewell described this year’s Utah Open as a chance to learn and improve ahead of 2020.
“[We want] to get as much data on The Fort as possible, from parking, course flow, scoring separation, and gallery issues,” Sewell said. “We are hearing incredible comments but also getting some good suggestions. Throughout the last year, we have had several touring pros come through and give feedback. It’s been fantastic. We are also realistic and understand that it’s not for everyone. We love the fact that we have 14 months to fine-tune the course for Worlds. We do have several options and changes that we are saving.”
Koling is optimistic about the new addition of The Fort.
“I think we want to reward the all-around player and reward shot placement and not just favor the longest throwers,” Koling said. “What we want in a champion is someone who has multiple skill sets and can manage all kinds of angles. I’m looking for the course to give us tight, interesting shot types and angles.”
Both divisions will play Mulligans for round one, and The Fort for rounds two and three.
Mulligans Creekside: 7,929 feet, par 58
This is the course we have seen over the past couple of years, featuring open fairways with fast ground play, winds, water, and OB. Despite being on a golf course, Mulligans plays surprisingly short, especially when compared to the Emporia Country Club we just saw at GBO. The biggest challenge at Mulligans is correctly anticipating the ground action, and weighing the risk and reward of carrying water, sand traps, and roped OB.
The Fort: MPO – 7,480 feet, par 61; FPO – 7,222 feet, par 61
This course is described as moderately wooded and flat, however, this will be the first time the world’s layout will be played in competition, so we will be going into this event blind.
How To Follow