Barela Wins Jonesboro for Third Victory of the Season; Tattar Dominates

The biggest stars of 2024 kept their hot streak going

Anthony Barela after winning the 2024 Jonesboro Open. Photo: DGPT

JONESBORO, Ark. — Perhaps the wide open feel to the start of the 2024 season was a mirage.

The Disc Golf Pro Tour now has multi-event winners in both divisions as Anthony Barela and Kristin Tattar took down the MPO and FPO titles, respectively, in the Play It Again Sports Jonesboro Open this weekend. In the tour’s fifth stop this year, 2024’s winningest players took vastly different paths to victory, with Barela leaving it until the last hole to snatch victory from the trio of Ben Callaway, Calvin Heimburg, and Ezra Aderhold, while Tattar put her foot on the gas in the back nine of round one to create a lead that was never challenged.

As we head towards another major, both winners have fired a warning shot to the rest of the competition: Barela has shown he’s learned how to win the tight races, and Tattar seems to have put the issues that have affected her early season form behind her.

Barela fully sends it

It’s been a rip-roaring start to the 2024 season for Anthony Barela. “This has been Anthony’s dream since he was maybe nine years old,” said DGN commentator Nate Sexton after this tournament. “Most of us from our era grew up dreaming of being in the NBA or whatever, but for Anthony, he’s from the first generation to dream of a pro disc golf career. He’s living his dream winning on the tour.”

He became the first player since Paul McBeth in 2019 to win three of the first five Tour events.

In the pre-tournament press conference, Barela reflected on the surreal nature of his wins so far. “Both those wins happened so quick that it feels weird that I’m already a two-time Disc Golf Pro Tour champion,” he said. “It honestly hasn’t even really settled in yet.”

The wind would become an increasingly significant factor in the tournament as it changed direction each day. But in the milder conditions that met round one, the redesigned Disc Side of Heaven layout proved to be very scoreable. After round 1, Barela shared the lead with Kevin Kiefer, both keeping clean sheets to shoot 11-under-par 52s. The two leaders held a two-stroke gap over six players tied in third. Isaac Robinson shot the hot round 2 at 11-under-par to join Barela in the lead after Barela three putted on hole 4 and threw out of bounds off the tee on hole 10, with both bogeys trimming his score to 7-under-par for the round. Joining Robinson and Barela on the lead card were Heimburg and, in a welcome sight for many fans, Simon Lizotte, whose 9-under-par round 2 took him to a share of fourth place with Callaway, and Albert Tamm.

Barela got off to a very slow start in the final round. He didn’t birdie until hole 5 and then, with the 20 mph south westerly winds ripping through the gap on the hole 6 green, his birdie putt was pushed low, hit the cage, and rolled into circle 2.

“The wind was just messing with me,” Barela said afterwards. “That rollaway on hole six hurt a little bit and then it was just hard, the wind was just brutal.”

A missed par comebacker putt by Barela on hole twelve saw him drop to 5th place and four strokes off the lead of a charging Ben Callaway, who was 7-under-par for the round by that stage. Barela was even on the round through 12 holes.

The momentum shifted for Barela on the par-5 hole 14. Anthony needed to join the 10 players who had already eagled the hole to give himself any chance. On the same green where Calvin Heimburg had hit a 58-foot putt to win the tournament two years ago, when it played as hole 18, Barela sank his eagle putt downhill from 59 feet, staring at the water. Earlier, Callaway had laid up his eagle bid.

“I looked at my caddie and said if I make this, I can get the momentum to win I think,” Barela said. “I drilled it, and it was just full sends from there.”

Barela stormed home with four birdies and an eagle from holes 13 to 17. Then when Ben Callaway threw out of bounds but saved par on 17 and then crossed the OB line again for bogey on hole 18, it was Barela and Heimburg left standing on the tee of hole 18, sharing a one stroke lead. Heimburg himself had held the solo lead earlier in the round but dropped back when he took a brutal double bogey on hole 10. Barela drew on all his power to throw a towering spike hyzer that hit the green at circle’s edge and stuck. Heimburg’s attempt looked slightly nose-up and well inside the desired line: the disc hit trees and fell out of bounds. Barela was able to lay up and tap in for the win.

“Through about 12 holes, I didn’t think I even had a chance. I couldn’t get really any birdies. But down that stretch I was proud of not completely throwing it away like I have in the past,” said Barela. “It’s just crazy how it can unfold on these courses.”

Barela’s improved form this year has been across the board, but it’s particularly noticeable in his accuracy off the tee and more consistent putting. Last year, Barela averaged 72% fairway hits with 82% C1X and 32% C2X putting. This year, including Jonesboro, he has hit the fairway 82% of the time with C1X putting up to 86% and C2X up to 34%.

Grand Slam Kristin slams the gate shut

Kristin Tattar at the 2024 Jonesboro Open. Photo: DGPT

If the adage that says ‘you’ll never play well on a course you hate’ is even partially true, then Kristin Tattar sent an ominous message from the pre-tournament press conference.

“I really like the course here. I’ve always loved it,” she said. “I think it’s a beautiful property. I like the design of the holes. It requires different kinds of shots. It’s a very fair course. You just have to execute here. It’s hard to predict any scores. It depends on the wind, I guess. But I feel there’s a lot of birdies out there and I’m hoping to get them.”

A 10-under-par final round at the Texas State Championships the week before had given some idea that Tattar might have left behind some of the problems that had been troubling her since her win in Waco. Sure enough, in round one, it was ‘Grand Slam Kristin’ on full display: hitting the fairway 95% of the time, knocking down 86% of her C1X putts and gaining a whopping 9.27 strokes tee-to-green. If Tristin did err in her throwing lines or her putting, it was usually not an error in execution but in decision making. Tattar gave the sense that she was sending the disc exactly where she chose to send it, just that occasionally, usually through a bad wind read, she was sending it to the wrong place. Despite the couple of bogeys she picked up, Tattar still finished round one with a 1044 rated 10-under-par 51 and six throw lead over Eveliina Salonen.

In round two, it was Holyn Handley’s time to shine. On the chase card, Handley matched Tattar’s round one effort of 10-under-par and drew to within six strokes of the lead as Tattar’s card mates of Salonen, Lykke Lorentzen, and Jennifer Allen struggled to keep the pace. Salonen’s putting was again a topic of conversation among amateur and professional coaches alike as she missed six circle one putts on her way to 50% from C1X – the consensus seems to be that she lacks a consistent routine and begins to rush once she has missed a few.

No birdies and three bogeys in the first nine holes of the final round ended any challenge from Handley as she found out that it’s one thing to chase Tattar down from another card and something completely different to maintain that same pressure matching her shot for shot. Salonen made an early charge and reduced the lead to five strokes at one stage. But that was as close as anyone would get to Tattar, who, despite a rough day in the wind with the putter, did enough to stretch her lead over Handley to nine strokes, with Salonen one more stroke back in third. Salonen and Handley were tied up going into the final hole before Salonen threw her drive short and out of bounds.

Just in case there was any doubt about how she felt about the course, Tattar continued with her pre-tournament praise. “I love this course, I’ve always loved it and I do love the changes they have made here,” she said following her win. “Last year I felt like I wasn’t playing to my potential so coming back here and winning now, it means a lot to me.”

Tattar travels with the rest of the DGPT caravan a half day’s drive east to Nashville this week to defend her title at the Music City Open. We will find out who gets to hold the guitars aloft in six days as the tour rolls on.

  1. Kingsley Flett
    Kingsley Flett

    Kingsley Flett is a writer, photographer, and disc golfer who lives in Western Australia. You can find some more of his work on Instagram. He told us that he rides a Kangaroo to work every day, but we don’t believe him.



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