2024 The Open at Austin Preview: Big City, New Course

A whole new course in the tour's biggest city

The Open at Austin. Photo: DGPT

The Texas swing rolls along as the Disc Golf Pro Tour heads just 100 miles south of Waco this week for the Open at Austin. The Open Disc Golf Championship was established in 2015, and in 2021-2022 was run as The Open at Belton on the DGPT Silver Series. Last year, the event was elevated to the Elite Series and moved to America’s 10th largest city: Austin, Texas. The Open Course at Harvey Penick is a temporary layout that sits on a traditional golf course, located just seven miles from downtown Austin. Of course, the famous SXSW festival is currently taking place in Austin, giving players and fans the chance to catch a concert or show while they’re in town.

Last year, Paige Pierce entered the final round with a one stroke lead over Kristin Tattar and was able to pick up her first win of the season fairly comfortably. In MPO, Gannon Buhr claimed the first Elite Series title of his career, starting the day just one stroke back on the chase card.

Past Winners

YearTierOpenOpen Women
2023DGPT ESGannon BuhrPaige Pierce
2022DGPT SilverChris DickersonCatrina Allen
2021DGPT SilverRicky WysockiCatrina Allen
2020AEzra Aderhold
Valerie Mandujano
2019APaul UlibarriCatrina Allen
2018AJames ConradCatrina Allen
2017ASimon LizotteCatrina Allen
2016ABradley Williams-
2015B/CRicky Wysocki-

Four Things We’ll Be Watching

1. Coming off a 4th place finish to start the season, a win at the Memorial Championship, and a win at last week’s Waco Annual Charity Open, Gannon Buhr might be the hottest disc golfer on the planet right now. Still just 18-years-old, Buhr continues to improve from tee to green while putting at an elite level. Now Gannon returns to Austin, the site of his first of three Elite Series wins last season. If Buhr can go back-to-back this weekend, it would be his 5th career ES win in less than a year and cement him as the early Player of the Year favorite.

2. Speaking of potential back-to-back winners, Kristin Tattar is no stranger when it comes to claiming consecutive titles on the DGPT. While she was unable to do so last season, Tattar claimed her first six wins on tour as pairs of back-to-back victories. Kristin came in with the 2nd worst DGPT finish of her career in Austin last year when she finished 5th, ending her streak of 15 consecutive podium finishes on the Elite Series. Most would excuse a subpar performance from Tattar this week, considering the jet lag she’s likely experiencing and possibly facing a look-ahead spot with the first major of the season, the U.S. Women’s Disc Golf Championship, just a week away. This weekend could indicate just how dominant Kristin will be in 2024, if she can ward off fatigue and pull in another multi-stroke win.

3. Calvin-watch is officially on after the reigning Player of the Year withdrew from last week’s Waco Annual Charity Open due to a lingering injury in his throwing elbow. Heimburg finished the first event of the season (Chess.com Invitational) in 34th and had indicated prior that his elbow was bothering him. As a result, Calvin was not throwing his forehand, a noted area of improvement last season that helped make him Player of the Year. Fans will be anxious to see if Heimburg plays healthy this week, or if this injury is going to take him out for a more substantial period of time. Given the current forecast and the MPO division having an off-week coming up, it could be in Heimburg’s best interest to sit this one out even if he is feeling well enough to play. As of publication, he remains registered to play.

4. It’s no secret that the Open Course at Harvey Penick was not well received in its debut last season. In Ultiworld Disc Golf’s 2023 fandom survey, Harvey Penick came in as the 4th least popular course, with just eight respondents out of over 2,000 naming it as one of their three favorite courses of the year. This year, the course has been completely redesigned, and it’s absolutely critical that the new layout takes a significant leap forward. Austin is the largest city the tour currently visits, and there’s no question the DGPT would like to continue having this event on their schedule. While there are other courses in the Austin area, the tour should be looking to elevate Harvey Penick to the elite level, in hopes of pairing it with another track to eventually host another Elite+ event in a major metropolitan city.

Course Changes

Forget what you remember about Harvery Penick from the 2023 Open at Austin. While a few holes remain from the previous layout, the course has been completely redesigned this year to increase the length, par, and bring significantly more trees into play. Other obstacles on the course include three water carries, five OB golf greens, and eight bunker hazards. Here’s the 2024 caddie book.

2024 MPO: 9,075 Feet Par 64
2023 MPO: 8,727 Feet Par 61

2024 FPO: 8,285 Feet Par 66
2023 FPO: 7,984 Feet Par 62

Extended Forecast

Unfortunately, the weekend forecast in Austin is looking extremely bleak. The tour has already seen a few weather delays to start the year, and more seem likely this weekend. Thunderstorms threaten the opening two rounds, with rain in the forecast for all three days of competition.

Friday: Thunderstorms likely, highs in the mid 70s. Winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70%.
Saturday: Rain and thunderstorms likely, highs in the upper 60s Winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
Sunday: Rain showers early then cloudy with occasional showers in the afternoon, highs in the lower 70s. Winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%.

  1. Justin Westfall
    Justin Westfall

    Justin Westfall is a contributor at Ultiworld Disc Golf who enjoys living in Southern California, where he can play disc golf year-round. Off the course, he works in the film industry and prides himself on being a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan. You can find Justin on Twitter and Instagram @PDGAStats.



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