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Las Vegas Challenge Kicks Off Unofficial Season Start: Tournament Preview

The 2020 season is here!

Wildhorse Golf Club in Henderson, Nevada, site of the 2020 Las Vegas Challenge. Photo: PDGA

Ultiworld Disc Golf’s coverage of the 2020 Las Vegas Challenge is presented by Innova Discs; all opinions are those of the authors. 

Who’s got the hot hand? Who is ready to lay their cards on the table? When the off-season is over, who is willing to go all in on bad Vegas puns? It’s time to let it ride at the 2020 Las Vegas Challenge. The Las Vegas Challenge may not be a PDGA National Tour event this year, but it is still drawing an impressive field and feels every bit like the start of the 2020 season.

The top 10 open division players in the 148 player deep field average a 1035 rating, while the top ten in the 19 strong open women’s division check in at a robust 948 rating. A good many of the game’s brightest stars will be out to shine in Vegas, and, lucky us, what happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas since there is media on the ground. More on that later.

Ricky Wysocki, the highest rated player in the world class field at 1049, will be back on the course for the first time since lyme disease cut his 2019 season short after the Green Mountain Championship. Wysocki is in his second year of a sponsorship deal with Innova and will be keen to improve on his 2019 season. The two time World Champion finished eighth in Vegas last year, despite going 36 under on the weekend.

Wysocki told Ultiworld Disc Golf that he is feeling confident heading into the weekend and is hungry to show what he’s got.

“I have come a long way compared to where I was just three months ago,” Wysocki said. “In my current state, I would say I am at 90% and feeling only a couple weeks out from feeling 100%. My confidence and my abilities have been almost where I want them and trending in the right direction. I truly believe with everything I’ve changed for the better; my diet, recovery, stretching and pre-round routines in addition to my other health and wellness strategies I can and will be better than ever in future years and events.”

The 2019 MPO champion, Calvin Heimburg, is back in the field this year and could be on the precipice of a huge season following his National Tour series victory last year.

Remember when the European women came over to play in 2019 and just dominated? Wasn’t that fun to watch? Well we’re in luck, because Eveliina Salonen and Henna Blomroos are going to be in town for the event. Blomroos did not play last year and Salonen finished in sixth, but the latter took down the Memorial in 2019 and the former finished second at the European Open. Both of the Innova-sponsored pros are real threats to finish the weekend with some hardware in hand. Defending champion Paige Shue was a late addition as she looks to back up her title performance from a year ago.

Quick Stats

2019

1st: Calvin Heimburg – 1062 average rating
2nd: Eagle McMahon – 1057 average rating
T-3rd: Cale Leiviska and Josh Anthon – 1052 average rating

1st (playoff – 1 hole): Paige Shue (née Bjerkaas) – 972.5 average rating
2nd (playoff): Catrina Allen – 972.5 average rating
3rd: Vanessa Van Dyken – 966.5 average rating (including an eye popping 1029 rated final round)

2018

1st: Eagle McMahon – 1063 average rating
2nd: Joel Freeman – 1047.25 average rating
T-3rd: Nikko Locastro and Ricky Wysocki – 1050.5 average rating

1st: Paige Pierce – 972.5 average rating
T-2nd: Catrina Allen and Sarah Hokom – 967.25 average rating

The Courses

For details on each course, check the caddy books here.

What makes the Vegas courses especially interesting is the danger on and around the green. The late winter grass plays fast, which helps exaggerate ground play near the pin. A seemingly perfect upshot can easily skip OB or catch an edge and make a slow, torturous roll towards sand traps and sidewalks. Having a big arm will help put players in position to score, but without the touch and finesse to control the landing, that 500 foot hyzer isn’t going to amount to much.

How To Follow

Central Coast Disc Golf will be onsite, producing post-round video for MPO lead card.

The Disc Golf Guy is covering FPO lead card.

Gatekeeper Media confirmed with Ultiworld Disc Golf that they are covering MPO chase card.

GK Productions will cover MPO’s third card.

For live media junkies, UDisc will provide live scoring on their app and UDiscLive.com.

  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.

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