Delaware Disc Golf Challenge Preview: Who Will Ascend The Iron Hill?

Another quick turnaround from Pro Worlds has a smaller field vying for an NT

Photo: Sara Sinclair

The PDGA National Tour returns to the Delaware Disc Golf Challenge at Iron Hill Park in Newark this weekend. Iron Hill is known as one of the most challenging wooded courses in the country, and if watching players take on Northwood at Pro Worlds got you craving some more golf in the trees, you are in for a treat.

If you’re having trouble getting over your Worlds hangover, think about this: how much will players like Ricky Wysocki, Eagle McMahon, Catrina Allen, and Kristin Tattar feel like they have to prove? All four of those players, perhaps excluding McMahon, had a shot at the win going into the final days in Illinois and came up just short.

For McMahon, his overall performance at Worlds is one that he will likely want to forget. He was able to salvage a top 10 finish thanks to a record-setting round at Lake Eureka, but he got eaten up at Northwood, shooting a 997-rated second round. His fourth round showing in the woods recovered to 1034-rated, but he was still +1 on the back nine. McMahon is very good no matter where he plays, but he has more consistently struggled on wooded courses. McMahon is the type of player and person who loves to challenge and change narratives around his play, maybe this is the weekend he finds his way through the trees.

Wysocki made it known that he was playing through pain at Worlds due to an infected finger on his throwing hand, and he still nearly did enough to take the win. Wysocki certainly looked either healed up or very tough in the final round at Lake Eureka, and he played very well at Northwood in the final round there tying another course record in the process. He is due for a big win and is probably coming into the Mid Atlantic with a world title-sized chip on his shoulder.

Hometown hero, Andrew Fish, should certainly be considered a threat to take the W this weekend. For the unaware, Fish is 1032-rated and is a shark in the woods. He is a skilled Ultimate player, and that proficiency with a disc translates excellently to his throwing style. Fish calls himself a regional pro, and he has certainly been dominant this season. The Maryland native has nine wins on the season out of 15 events played, and has won the DDGC in the past.

It has been since the Memorial since someone not named Pierce or Allen has won a major event in FPO. Henna Blomroos and Evelina Salonen have been the only players to consistently challenge the two, and Salonen is the only one who has beaten them in standard play. Neither Blomroos nor Salonen will be in attendance this weekend, but their European comrade, Kristin Tattar will be on hand. Tattar finished sixth at Worlds, one stroke behind 2018 DDGC champ Sarah Hokom. Both Hokom and Tattar are looking for their first National Tour win of the season. Should Tattar pull it off, it would be her first.

With Pierce not playing in Delaware, the focus will be on Allen’s putting, which over the weekend was frankly, not good. She has the skills to get to the green well ahead of her opponents and saves strokes that way, but if someone is able to catch fire off the tee and is able to putt above the 62% mark, Allen’s season average, we might just get a new name on the top of the leaderboard. 


Past Winners

2019NTMatt BellCatrina Allen
2018NTPaul McBethSarah Hokom
2017AAndrew FishHannah Leatherman
2016ABradley WilliamsSarah Hokom
2015ADave FeldbergCatrina Allen
2014AMike MoserPaige Pierce
2013ARicky WysockiHannah Leatherman
2012ATyler HorneSarah Hokom

The Course

Iron Hill – Gold: Open, 10,280 feet, par 69

This course is long and technical and doesn’t really afford the big throwing types to air it out. Each tee shot demands technical skill and accuracy to land safely in the fairway. There are only four par threes on the course which means that for the players who are able to navigate the tee shot, there will be ample opportunities to score. This also means that scrambling and upshots will be key for players who will need to be saving or playing for par.

Holes 1, 10, and 15 are all playing shorter than in 2018, with pars also dropping. Holes 3, 5, and 14 are longer. 

Iron Hill – Blue/Gold: Open Women, 8,975 feet, par 69

The Open Women’s division will be playing a mixture of the Gold and Blue layouts, and in some cases playing a mixed hole by teeing from the Gold box to the Blue pin or vice versa. Par is the same but the layout is shorter, which implies that we may see some very low scores from the Open.

Like MPO, holes 1, 10, and 15 are all playing shorter than in 2018, but holes 4 and 5 are the longer holes for FPO.

Extended Forecast

A cold front will move through the region Thursday night and Friday morning. There should still be enough moisture around Friday to provide for some showers and thunderstorms. After the front continues to move to the east, high pressure will take its place. This will lead to nice conditions on Saturday. Persistent onshore flow on Sunday should lead to increased cloud cover and the chance of an isolated shower.

Friday: Scattered showers and storms possible, especially in the morning. Highs will warm to around 80°. Gusty northerly winds will be possible.

Saturday: Mostly sunny skies with a high temperature warming to around 80° once again. Northeast winds around 5 to 10 mph possible.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy skies with an isolated shower possible. Gusty easterly winds will be possible.

How to Follow

UDisc Live is on tap providing live scoring. Post-production, next-day video from the event is set to be released by JomezPro for MPO lead and Disc Golf Guy for FPO lead. Gatekeeper Media will also be on site shooting MPO round coverage.

The PDGA will be providing updates via their Instagram and Twitter.

Check in here at Ultiworld Disc Golf for recaps of each round from the Open and Open Women field.

  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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