Idlewild Open Preview: Into The Woods

Two-time defending FPO champ is back, but MPO is a different story

Photos: Alyssa Van Lanen

If you’ve been craving some wooded golf, the Idlewild Open is here to make everything better. 

The Disc Golf Pro Tour is back in action in Kentucky this weekend at one of the most thickly forested and technically challenging courses out there. 

This will be the final elite tour event before the Pro World Championships next month in Peoria, and while most of the top pros will be in attendance, there are some big names who will not be playing. Specifically, defending champion Paul McBeth and Simon Lizotte who are taking the weekend off, presumably to rest up after their time in Europe. Eagle McMahon is also not playing either, instead, he will be playing a B-tier back home in Colorado. The Open Women’s field is looking to be at almost full-strength.

The Open field at Idlewild is strong and deep, with more than 120 players registered, 51 of them rated 1000 or better. At the top of the field, fans will be excited to see Ricky Wysocki attack the course for the first time since the event joined the Pro Tour circuit. Wysocki is coming off of a disappointing finish at the European Open, and looking for his second DGPT win of the season.  Another player to watch will be James Conrad. Conrad won the event in 2017, and finished second to McBeth in 2018. Idlewild is the sort of course that Conrad was born to shred, and should be considered a serious threat to get his first Pro Tour win of the year.

If you’ve been missing Nikko Locastro, you’ll be happy to know that he’ll be in attendance this weekend. Locastro has been playing this season, mostly off the main tour, and has been a bit feast or famine. Of the 11 events he has played so far this season he has only six top 10 finishes.

The Open Women’s division is stacked and strong. This will be the first time in a long while that all of the top American FPO players, save Jennifer Allen, will be on hand at the same time. Of the 25 players registered, 18 are rated 900 or better. 

It is probably safe to say that Paige Pierce has found her stride, having won her last seven events going back to late May. Pierce has climbed back up to a 970 rating after a mini “slump” at the start of this season. As always, if Pierce can stay in bounds and dial in her putts, there are very few people out there who can best her. The European Open was possibly Pierce’s best putting display in almost two years. She is the two-time defending champ at Idlewild.

Catrina Allen is one of those few people that can match PP when both are at their best, and while she has been finishing behind Pierce over the last couple of events, she has only missed the podium once this season. 

Fans should also keep their eyes on Holly Finley who just won the Silver Cup. Finley is vocal about her preference for playing in the woods, has quietly put together a strong season, and finished fourth in the 2018 edition of the Idlewild Open.

Past Winners

YearTierMPOFPO
2017DGPT/A-TierJames ConradPaige Pierce
2018DGPT/A-TierPaul McBethPaige Pierce

The Course

Idlewild: MPO – 9,203 feet, par 68; FPO- 8,929 feet, par 67

In the 2018 coverage by Jomez, Paul Ulibarri describes the back nine of the course as one of the most difficult stretches of holes on tour, nay, the world. Here’s a way to judge its difficulty. Hole 5 is a 555-foot pro par 4 for the Open division. Hole 7 is a sub-500-foot par 4. Hole 8 is a sub-600-foot par 5. Hole 17 is a par 4 and is only 418 feet. And on and on and on. One will be hard-pressed to find a shorter course with as many par 4s and 5s as there are at Idlewild.

But wait, it’s 9,200+ feet. That’s not necessarily short. Well, that’s because there are still a couple bomber holes, like the 969-foot par 5 hole 16 that undulates down a long and tight fairway before ending on a wooded island green.

Extended Forecast

High pressure has settled into the eastern United States for much of the last week. This has brought and will continue to bring nice conditions to northern Kentucky. This stretch of nice weather is expected to continue this weekend. The wind may kick up some on Saturday and Sunday as the area of high pressure slowly moves to the east. Fortunately, no rain is in the forecast!

Friday: Temperatures warm into the mid 80s. A southerly breeze may develop in the afternoon.

Saturday: Highs warm up to the mid to upper 80s. Southwest winds around 5 to 10 mph will be possible. 

Sunday: Highs will top out in the upper 80s. Southwest winds around 5 to 10 mph will again be possible. This will usher in a bit more humidity, making temperatures feel more like the low 90s across the region.

With hot and dry weather forecast, will the scores be hot as well? Idlewild is known for being one of the tougher courses on tour. Will someone be able to use good scoring conditions to light up the scoreboard?

How to Follow: 

Livestreams for FPO and MPO cards start at 9 am and 3:30 pm EST each day. You can catch the Smashboxx TV crew producing those on the DGPT YouTube channel. GK Pro will be turning around MPO lead card action on a next day schedule, and Anhyzer TV will have FPO coverage but may be up to two days later. 

UDisc Live is handling live scoring.

  1. Christopher Wiklund
    Christopher Wiklund

    Chris is a contributor at Ultiworld Disc Golf. He lives and works on Cape Cod in Massachusetts where he plays as much disc golf as he can, and reminds people he lives on Cape Cod. He likes spending time outside when he isn't playing video games and watching TV.

  2. Jacob Wilkins
    Jacob Wilkins

    Jacob Wilkins is a disc golfer from Bowling Green, Kentucky who has a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Western Kentucky University. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram for a solid mixture of disc golf and weather.

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