2024 Jonesboro Open Preview: A Reconfigured Classic

Can Calvin get his third straight victory at Jonesboro?

Kat Mertsch after winning the 2023 Jonesboro Open. Photo: DGPT

Coming off a much-needed rest week, the Disc Golf Pro Tour now rolls into Jonesboro, Arkansas, for the fifth event of the season. The Jonesboro Open has been a staple on the Elite Series since the DGPT’s first full season in 2017. A handful of players spent this past weekend in Greenbrier, Arkansas, for an A-tier at the Persimmon Ridge disc golf course, while others traveled straight to Jonesboro to get in a little extra rest and practice time. The trip from Houston was over 500 miles, more than double the length traveled for the entire month-long Texas swing.

Last year, defending champion Calvin Heimburg entered the final hole tied with Eagle McMahon. Heimburg put his drive safely on the fairway, while McMahon’s teeshot went OB early. It was essentially over from that point, as Calvin picked up his 3rd Jonesboro title in four years. On the FPO side, Arkansas-native Kat Mertsch held a one stroke lead over Aria Castruita going into the final round. Hailey King managed to chase down Mertsch from three strokes back to force a playoff. However, on the first playoff hole, King got into trouble early, and Mertsch was able to secure her first career DGPT win.

Past Winners

2023DGPTCalvin HeimburgKat Mertsch
2022DGPTCalvin HeimburgKristin Tattar
2021DGPTRicky WysockiCatrina Allen
2020DGPTCalvin HeimburgPaige Pierce
2019DGPTPaul McBethPaige Pierce
2018DGPTRicky WysockiPaige Pierce
2017DGPTRicky WysockiPaige Pierce

Four Things We’ll Be Watching

1. Kristin Tattar has now failed to win three consecutive Elite or Major events for the first time since 2022. Her dominance really began at the 2022 Jonesboro Open, where she averaged a 1009 event rating, winning by 10 strokes. Jonesboro was also the site of her worst finish in 2023, where she averaged just 978 golf and finished in 6th place. Tattar may already be back to her winning ways after taking down an A-tier at Persimmon Ridge this past weekend, averaging a 1006 rating to beat Ohn Scoggins by five strokes. Three of the eight highest rated FPO rounds of all-time have come at the Disc Side of Heaven. With how competitive the division has been this season, Tattar may need a similar round to stay ahead of the pack this weekend.

2. Last year’s runner-up Hailey King will look to get things going after a somewhat slow start to her season. King had a lead after the opening round in 2023 but struggled in round 2. She even took a costly penalty stroke for a misplay on the green of hole 7. Despite a good effort in round 3, she was unable to win the playoff over Kat Mertsch. As an Arkansas local, Mertsch is very comfortable on this course; she finished 3rd in 2022 and picked up her first career DGPT win here last season. Kat averaged a 997 event rating to win this event. Given the strength of the field to this point in the season, expect this year’s winning score to come in quite a bit lower.

3. It’s nearly been a full calendar year since Calvin Heimburg’s last win, which came here in Jonesboro. Heimburg’s game sets up perfectly for this course, which demands accurate backhand shots to score well. However, if Calvin is still resting his elbow, he will certainly miss having use of his sidearm on hole 3, a 360 foot uphill teeshot that requires a good bit of left to right movement. If he wants to earn his first win of the season, Heimburg, who’s defending back-to-back Jonesboro titles, will need to outscore both Gannon Buhr and Anthony Barela, who have yet to finish outside the top four at an event this season. Both players are more than capable of shooting very low on this property and have shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

4. After a runner-up finish to start the season, Ricky Wysocki had a pretty disappointing Texas swing, finishing 10th in Waco and 17th at Texas States. Ricky has won this event three times and averages a 1052 rating at the Disc Side of Heaven in five career starts. Another player who’s gotten off to a slow start in 2024 is 2023 world champion Isaac Robinson.  Robinson also struggled out of the gates last season, before winning the Champions Cup and then finishing as a runner-up in Jonesboro. Both players should be looking to round their games into form sooner rather than later, with the first MPO Major of the year quickly approaching.

Course Changes

Established in 2013 and designed by Tournament Director Brad Pietz, the Disc Side of Heaven is a true disc golf destination. Set on more than 50 acres, the course is relatively open but still features large trees, big elevation changes, and a pair of ponds and marshes that come into play throughout the round. Despite having a more open layout, OB comes into play on fewer than half of the holes. The course layout has been relatively the same for several years, but this year the layout has been completely re-ordered.

Players will now begin their rounds on the former hole 14, a big 520 foot downhill shot. The new layout concludes on the former hole 5, a par 3 with water on the short right side of the green. This hole gives players the option to either lay up short and play for par or push over the water for a birdie look. The most significant change is to hole 9 (former hole 17) which has been shortened into a par 3, and now has hazard territory up near the green. Hole 14 (former hole 16) on the FPO side has been lengthened to play as a par 5 rather than a par 4. And hole 2 (former hole 15) has been lengthened 90 feet after traditionally playing as one of the easiest par 3’s on tour. The new pin location should also require a straighter shot rather than the simple short hyzer that players used to throw.

2024 MPO: 9,775 Feet Par 63
2023 MPO: 9,995 Feet Par 64

2024 FPO: 8,792 Feet Par 66
2023 FPO: 8,572 Feet Par 66

Extended Forecast

It should be warm and sunny in Jonesboro throughout the weekend, with a healthy dose of wind to keep players on their toes.

Friday: Sunny with highs in the low 70s.  Winds 10 to 20 mph.
Saturday: Sunny with highs near 80.  Winds 15 to 25 mph.
Sunday: Mostly sunny with highs in the lower 80s.  Winds 15 to 25 mph.

  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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