Masters Cup: Top Five Predictions

Can GG pull off another win at DeLa?

Garrett Gurthie at the 2019 Masters Cup. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – PDGA.

Next up for the Elite Series: the Masters Cup at the storied DeLaveaga course in Santa Cruz. Whether it’s watching the blind bombs into the kitchen or seeing yet another perfect upshot hit the hard packed ground and skip into the next county, this is always a fun tournament to spectate. This weekend promises not to disappoint.

Continuing the momentum from the record setting number of players at the USWDGC last weekend, the FPO field this weekend is 46% larger than at the last playing of the Masters Cup in 2019. The competitive effect of a larger field size is compounded by a slight increase in the overall average player rating. The sport keeps growing and the field keeps getting better.

This weekend, I have an entirely unsubstantiated theory that I would like to posit: the Hawaii effect. A few weeks ago, Paige Pierce skipped the DDO to head to Hawaii for some R&R. It sure looks like it worked, because she came back and won the OTB Open and then the USWDGC after missing the podium at three of her prior four events. Could a trip to Hawaii be the trick to kickstarting a player back to their true potential? This weekend provides the perfect test case. Jeremy Koling spent the off week in Hawaii1. He also hasn’t made the top 10 in any of the Elite Series events this year. Might a week on the beach be just what he needs to get back to glory? Trips to Hawaii in the past week certainly aren’t included as a predictor in the model, so Koling doesn’t come up in our top five predictions. If Koling crushes this weekend, maybe we’ll have to include it in the future!

For predictions this week, the top of the FPO is clear. Paige Pierce has reigned supreme over the division the last two weeks, and there is no reason to think that will change. The model predicts the following:

  • Paige Pierce
  • Catrina Allen
  • Hailey King
  • Madison Walker
  • Lisa Fajkus

In honorable mention, we predict: Sarah Hokom, Jessica Weese, Erika Stinchcomb, Kona Star Panis, and Zoe Andyke.

A missing Eagle from the MPO field opens the door for a newcomer to our top five picks in MPO. In our top five, we predict:

  • Paul McBeth
  • Ricky Wysocki
  • Garrett Gurthie
  • Noah Meintsma
  • Calvin Heimburg

We were surprised to see Meintsma emerge from the model’s selections, but we like it. He has finished top ten at several Elite Series events over his career, including a fifth place finish at the Masters Cup in 2018. While his 2021 finishes haven’t been great, he is coming off a win at End of Trail Classic, a well attended B-tier event. This is probably a long shot prediction, but let’s go with it.

In honorable mention, we have: Thomas Gilbert, Kevin Jones, Austin Hannum, Chris Clemons, and Drew Gibson.

  1. Congratulations on the engagement! 

  1. Sam Tauke
    Sam Tauke

    Sam Tauke lives in Madison and is part way through an MS in Statistics/Data Science at University of Wisconsin. He got his start as an ultimate player in college but then got a little older and a little fatter and decided to change sports. He would like the world to know that, while he has won tens of dollars playing league, he is still looking for a post graduation data science job.

  2. Ryan Burns
    Ryan Burns

    Ryan Burns lives in Boulder and is currently pursuing an MS in Data Science at Northwestern University. Having played ultimate in college many injuries ago, he only recently began taking advantage of the plethora of local disc golf courses at the prospect of strapping snow chains onto a McLaren of his own.

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