More money, more points.
May 31, 2023 by Justin Westfall in Preview with 0 comments
The Elite Series is back in full force this month with four events scheduled in June, and the Portland Open will kick it off by hosting the first ever Elite+ event this week. The Portland Open was founded in 2019 by Disc Golf Pro Tour CEO Jeff Spring, and much like the Green Mountain Championship, it is now owned and operated by the Pro Tour. The Blue Lake course, which famously hosted the final round of the 2014 World Championship, as well as the 2019 and 2022 Portland Open, will not be used this year. Instead, all four rounds will be played on two courses at Glendoveer Golf & Tennis.
This tournament has provided plenty of fireworks in the past. Now on a grander scale and with increasingly competitive fields, expect to see yet another thrilling weekend of disc golf, and some big payout for the winners.
Four Things We’ll Be Watching
1. The Portland Open is the inaugural Elite+ event for the Disc Golf Pro Tour, a new designation for this season. Per the tour’s original press release, “Elite+ events will feature bigger purses, additional media focus, and elevated spectator experiences.” Elite+ is not a PDGA sanctioned tier and will essentially be treated the same as any other Elite Series event. The DGPT, however, is awarding 1.5x points for these events, the same as they do for PDGA majors and DGPT playoff events. The tour has advertised increased on-site food and beverage experiences, including two bars pouring beer from Bevel Brewing. The purse will be at least $110,000, per the DGPT. The question is whether the “+” distinction shows up for viewers at home, but more importantly on-site spectators, to help set this tournament apart from the other Elite Series events.
2. Sockibomb is back! Having dealt with a lyme disease related ailment all season long, Ricky Wysocki returned for last week’s Cascade Challenge and took home a three stroke win. It seems like Wysocki is picking up right where he left off last season, and now he arrives to an event that he nearly won back in 2021. Ricky actually missed the 2022 Portland Open due to a different lyme disease flare up. In the FPO division, Kristin Tattar will also return to the U.S. this week after taking the month of May off. Tattar has already tallied 4 wins on the year, but this will be the Estonian’s first time playing in the Pacific Northwest.
3. The Glendoveer golf course was first used for the 2021 Portland Open, after the Blue Lake course became unavailable due to COVID regulations. In just six weeks, an 18-hole West course was designed by Dustin Keegan, but it didn’t exactly receive rave reviews. Last year, the event was given access to the nicer Eastern side of the property, and the new layout was very well received by players and fans alike. This year, the West course has been completely redesigned, and two rounds will be played on each side of the property. Hopefully the revamped layout will fix a lot of the issues from the 2021 design and offer players and spectators four rounds of exciting disc golf.
4. Hole 18 has provided plenty of drama for the MPO division since the event’s inception. In 2019, Eagle McMahon missed a C1 putt on the final hole, allowing Drew Gibson to take him to a playoff and eventually earn his first Pro Tour win. In 2021, Ricky Wysocki also missed a C1 putt which would have pushed McMahon to yet another playoff; instead, McMahon took down the win in regulation. And last year, Garrett Gurthie threw an approach shot out of bounds, which allowed Simon Lizotte to earn his 2nd consecutive win in dramatic fashion. With how competitive the Elite Series has been this season, don’t be surprised to see another photo finish in both the MPO and FPO divisions.
The Glendoveer East course has undergone a few minor changes from 2022, but for the most part has remained untouched. Some notable changes are additional OB added to hole 8, while hole 11 had some OB territory removed to open up the landing zone for approach shots. Hole 18 has also had its second mandatory removed. The West course, on the other hand, is a complete redesign, with only a couple of holes from the previous iteration making their way into the new layout. The new MPO layout is over 2,000 feet shorter than the 2021 iteration, while the FPO track has seen a much less drastic change at around 550 feet shorter. The original hole 15, which was the site of Kevin Jones’ quadruple-bogey that took him out of contention, has been slightly redesigned and will now play as hole 17.
2023 MPO: 11,245 feet Par 66
2022 MPO: 11,260 feet Par 66
2023 FPO: 9,195 feet Par 67
2022 FPO: 9,210 feet Par 67
2023 MPO: 10,610 feet Par 63
2021 MPO: 12,696 feet Par 67
2023 FPO: 9,987 feet Par 68
2021 FPO: 10,522 feet Par 70
It’s shaping up to be a beautiful weekend in Portland with plenty of sun and relatively low winds.
Thursday: Partly cloudy with highs in the mid 70s, winds 5-10mph
Friday: Sunny with highs in the upper 70s, winds 5-10mph
Saturday: Sunny with highs near 80, winds 5-10mph
Sunday: Sunny with highs near 80, winds 10-15mph