DGPT Match Play Wins For Heimburg, Pierce Add To 2021’s Record-Breaking Earnings

The FPO field has seen the biggest gains, but it's visible across the sport.

Paige Pierce and Calvin Heimburg at the 2021 DGPT Match Play Championship. Photo: Brittany Dickerson/DGPT

Paige Pierce and Calvin Heimburg outlasted the loaded fields in an alternate tournament format to win the inaugural Disc Golf Pro Tour Match Play Championship over the weekend at the Steel Club in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

The latest showcase event from the DGPT came with big cash bonuses for the victors — $10,000 — and nice payouts for every qualifier, with at least $1,000 guaranteed for 16 MPO players and $1,250 for eight FPO contestants. Eagle McMahon and Missy Gannon would have liked to add a first place trophy to the cabinet, but $6,000 and $5,000 prizes, respectively, as part of a more than $60,000 total purse isn’t bad for a couple days of work either.

Events and payouts of this magnitude have become more common since the Disc Golf Pro Tour joined the Elite Series, and the past two years have seen tournament winnings grow even more quickly. Last year’s DGPT Championship awarded $20,000 for first prize in both the Open and Open Women’s divisions, the largest cash prize ever awarded at a disc golf tournament, and this year’s PDGA Professional World Championship set a mark for total payout at an event at $173,000. As of June 2021, this season’s DGPT Championship already had more than $150,000 promised to the purse, with top prizes of at least $25,000 for each division’s winner.

While larger payouts benefit both divisions, the Open Women’s division has seen the most growth. Since the start of the 2021 season, five payouts of $5,000 or more have been awarded to FPO players. Before this year, only eight prizes of $5,000 or more (including a PDGA National Tour Bonus) had been given to the FPO division.

Top Prizes by Division

YearTournamentDivisionPlayerPlacePrize
2020DGPT Tour ChampionshipMPOKevin Jones1$20,000.00
2021PDGA Pro WorldsMPOJames Conrad1$16,500.00
2007United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOKen Climo1$15,000.00
2009United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPONikko Locastro1$15,000.00
2008United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPONate Doss1$12,000.00
2010United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOWill Schusterick1$12,000.00
2017PDGA Pro WorldsMPORicky Wysocki1$12,000.00
2017United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPONate Sexton1$12,000.00
2019United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOJames Conrad1$12,000.00
2005United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPODave Feldberg1$11,000.00
2006United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOBarry Schutlz1$11,000.00
2003United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOBarry Schutlz1$10,000.00
2004United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOKen Climo1$10,000.00
2016PDGA Pro WorldsMPORicky Wysocki1$10,000.00
2016United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOJeremy Koling1$10,000.00
2017 DGPT Tour ChampionshipMPORicky Wysocki1$10,000.00
2017PDGA National Tour Elite Series Bonus PayoutMPOPaul McBeth1$10,000.00
2018 United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOPaul McBeth1$10,000.00
2020United States Disc Golf ChampionshipMPOChris Dickerson1$10,000.00
2020DGPT Tour ChampionshipMPOChris Dickerson2$10,000.00
2021PDGA Pro WorldsMPOPaul McBeth2$10,000.00
2021DGPT Match Play ChampionshipMPOCalvin Heimburg1$10,000.00
2020DGPT Tour ChampionshipFPOHailey King1$20,000.00
2020DGPT Tour ChampionshipFPOPaige Pierce2$10,000.00
2021PDGA Pro WorldsFPOCatrina Allen1$10,000.00
2021DGPT Match Play ChampionshipFPOPaige Pierce1$10,000.00
2021PDGA Pro WorldsFPOPaige Pierce2$6,000.00
2017PDGA Pro WorldsFPOPaige Pierce1$5,500.00
2021PDGA Pro WorldsFPOLisa Fajkus3$5,300.00
2018PDGA Pro WorldsFPOPaige Shue1$5,000.00
2017PDGA National Tour Elite Series Bonus PayoutFPOPaige Pierce1$5,000.00
2016PDGA Pro WorldsFPOValarie Jenkins1$5,000.00
2019PDGA Pro WorldsFPOPaige Pierce1$5,000.00
2020DGPT Tour ChampionshipFPOCatrina Allen3$5,000.00
2021DGPT Match Play ChampionshipFPOMissy Gannon2$5,000.00

Larger tournament earnings overall will also see the 2021 season set records for prize money won by individual players. As of September 20, five players have already eclipsed $50,000 in prize money on their PDGA profiles for the calendar year — Ricky Wysocki ($62,429, 21 events), Paige Pierce ($59,113, 21 events), Paul McBeth ($57,328, 21 events), Eagle McMahon ($56,415, 17 events), and Calvin Heimburg ($54,785, 22 events). Four of those players participated in the DGPT Match Play Championship, which contributed to their PDGA earnings,1 but McBeth declined his invitation and did not attend. McBeth did, however, earn $2,800 for a win at his own Battle for Bedford, a B-Tier.

Prior to 2021, only two players ever finished a season with more than $50,000 in PDGA earnings — McBeth four times and Wysocki twice. Wysocki holds the overall top sum for a season at $79,348.23 set in 2017 with 29 events, and McBeth’s highest yearly sum is $72,045 from 26 events in 2015.

Only Pierce from the Open Women’s division has finished a season above $40,000, setting the high mark at $41,328 in 2017. In 2021, Pierce and Allen2 are already above the $40,000 mark with Hailey King within striking distance. Pierce and Allen are the only two FPO players to ever finish above $30,000 in a year, and four players are already at or near that in 2021. To date, 2019 saw the most female players finish a season earning more than $10,000 with seven, and, in 2021, 14 women’s players are already at $10,000 or more.

In addition to tournament earnings, sponsorship bonuses, and tour fundraisers such as signature discs, players are also given more opportunities to increase their earning potential through media appearances. GK Pro’s popular OTB Tour Skins series gives players more chances to win cash outside of tournaments, and Gatekeeper Media has also recently hosted a match. Skins matches aren’t new, but the frequency and cash amounts are. In 24 skins matches in 2021 — 23 on GK, one on Gatekeeper — 14 players have earned $1,000 or more in total. McMahon leads the prize total in skins matches at $7,300 on three appearances, and Missy Gannon, $1,450, is the only FPO player on the list of top earners.

2021 Skins

 TotalBrantwoodGMCMVPDelawareStaffordIdlewildEagles CrossingPreserveGLODMCCanyonsWorlds - MulligansWorlds - FortPortlandOTBGoat HillDDOMid AmericaJonesboroVintageTexas StatesBeltonWacoLVC
Eagle McMahon$7,30050009001400
Calvin Heimburg$5,500130016003002008001000300
Kevin Jones$4,5007002009001100700900
Matt Orum$3,62513258003001200
Simon Lizotte$3,50016009001000
James Conrad$3,1757751100500600200
Chris Dickerson$3,1007004001300700
Ricky Wysocki$2,975575700900800
Nate Sexton$2,100011001000
Thomas Gilbert$2,00010001000
Gavin Rathbun$1,700700400600
Missy Gannon$1,4501450
Silver Latt$1,150250900
Gregg Barsby$1,0001000
Michael Johansen$900900
Chris Clemons$900900
Zach Melton$9000500400
Garrett Gurthie$900600300
Trevor Harbolt$800800
Cale Leiviska$700100600
Kona Panis$700700
Colten Montgomery$700700
Catrina Allen$700100600
Casey White$700700
Ben Callaway$600600
Nikko Locastro$600600
Connor O'Reilly$600600
Paul McBeth$600600
Kyle Klein$600600
Terry Rothlisberger$600600
Albert Tamm$600600
Emerson Keith$600400200
Eric Oakley$600600
Paul Ulibarri$5503001500100
James Proctor$550550
Nathan Queen$525525
Jeremy Koling$500400100
Matt Bell$500500
Reid Frescura$500500
Nate Perkins$400400
Dustin Keegan$400400
Corey Ellis$300300
Paige Pierce$3003000
Ezra Aderhold$300300
Kristin Tattar$250250
Bradley Williams$200200
Luke Samson$200200
Austin Hannum$100100
Philo Brathwaite$100100
Drew Gibson$100100
Alex Russell$100100
Rebecca Cox$5050
Chandler Fry$5050
Tristan Tanner$00
Ohn Scoggins$00

In all, 55 players have appeared in skins matches on YouTube in 2021. Paige Pierce is the only female player to appear in a standard Skins match, with the other five FPO players being featured in either mixed doubles or an FPO-only edition.

Skins matches have also benefited the top earners more on the MPO side as well. Of the top 20 current Open earners in 2021, 16 have appeared on at least one skins episode — Adam Hammes, Andrew Marwede, Joel Freeman, and Andrew Presnell are the exceptions. Six players who are not in the current top 20 earners — Gavin Rathbun, Nate Sexton, Gregg Barsby, Thomas Gilbert, Simon Lizotte, and Silver Latt — have earned at least $1,000 via skins matches.

Including earnings from skins, three players have already won more than $60,000 in 2021 — Wysocki, McMahon, Heimburg — and several large payouts loom at the Music City Open, USDGC/TPWDGC, and DGPT Tour Championship.

Added cash from sponsors, spectators, and subscriptions have raised the expectations when it comes disc golf payouts, and while in many instances the “rich get richer,” the benefits are also being seen further down the leaderboards.


  1. not reflected on PDGA page as of 9/21/2021 

  2. $45,164 as of 9/20, 2021 

  1. Bennett Wineka
    Bennett Wineka

    Benn started playing disc golf in the '90s but has somehow never gotten any better. He lives in Decatur, Georgia and cares too much about Atlanta United and UNC basketball. Email him at bennett@ultiworld.com

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