2024 OTB Open Preview: The Start of the West Coast Swing

California dreamin'.

Following the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s first European Elite Series event of the year, the DGPT returns to action stateside in Stockton, California, this weekend for the OTB Open. Previously run as the San Francisco Open, the event was moved to Swenson Park in 2021 due to Covid restrictions and has returned to Stockton every year since. While players had the opportunity to enjoy an off week following the Dynamic Discs Open, many chose to play in either the Las Vegas Challenge, 303 Open, Masters Cup, or even the Copenhagen Open.

Yesterday, the PDGA and DGPT announced that the 2025 Champions Cup will be held at Swenson Park as the International Disc Golf Center continues its restoration project following an infestation of southern pine beetles. In their statement, PDGA Executive Director Doug Bjerkaas said “it is critically important that when the Champions Cup returns to the IDGC, that it is played on a course that is truly elite, from challenging fairways to spectator accommodations.” Fans and players immediately expressed disappointment in hearing that the Major, which has so far always been played on a challenging woods course, would instead be contested on an open golf course. The same venue cannot be utilized for both a Major and Elite series event in the same year, so as a result, the Champions Cup will replace the OTB Open in 2025.

Last year, Emerson Keith surprised many when he came in with a two-stroke win over Gannon Buhr to earn his first career Elite Series win. He entered the final round one-stroke shy of leader Aaron Gossage and shot five strokes better than any other player on the lead card. Keith was aided by a 1078-rated second round, which remains the highest rated round of his career at a DGPT event. In the FPO division, Paige Pierce comfortably won the event for a third consecutive year, defeating Ohn Scoggins by four strokes.

Past Winners

2023DGPT ESEmerson KeithPaige Pierce
2022DGPT ESSimon LizottePaige Pierce
2021DGPT ESEagle McMahonPaige Pierce
2020 - SFODGPTCanceledCanceled
2019 - SFODGPTRicky WysockiCatrina Allen
2018 - SFODGPTPaul McBethSarah Hokom

Five Things We’ll Be Watching

  1. Anthony Barela, Gannon Buhr, and Calvin Heimburg all have some things in common when it comes to the OTB Open. All three players have never missed the top 10 at this event, and all three of them have finished as the runner-up at some point since 2021. For any of the “Big 3,” a win at this event could be a major turning point in their season. For Barela, a fourth win this season would cement him as the clear frontrunner for Player of the Year with Buhr, Heimburg, or any other challengers having quite a bit of ground to make up. Of course, for Buhr and Heimburg, it would pull them within one win of Barela, who has slowed a bit since his last win in Jonesboro.
  2. Following the Champions Cup, most European players either headed home or over to Denmark for last week’s Copenhagen Open. While Texas States champion Anniken Steen is the only FPO player returning for this event, several players in the MPO field are making the trip to Stockton.  Fresh off his first career Elite win, Jesse Nieminen and several other Finns have made the trip, including Open at Austin champion Niklas Anttila. Kristin Tattar will rejoin the tour in Portland, but Copenhagen Open champion Eveliina Salonen along with fellow Finns Henna Blomroos and Heidi Laine will not be competing stateside until the World Championships later this year.
  3. Since the move to Stockton in 2021, Paige Pierce has dominated this event, taking home the trophy in all three years. Now, more than a year removed, the 2023 OTB Open remains Pierce’s most recent win as she still struggles to return to form after suffering an ankle injury last summer. It’s odd to think that the 3-time champion would not even be a podium favorite this weekend, but Paige has struggled mightily to keep the disc in bounds and get consistent birdie looks like season. While her putting has been fairly good, she ranks just 41st out of 49 players in fairways hits this season and 42nd in OB rate.
  4. With Kristin Tattar and Eveliina Salonen absent from this tournament, it once again opens up a good opportunity for Holyn Handley and Ella Hansen to earn their first career Elite Series wins. Handley has never fared too well at this event: her best finish was 9th, back in 2022. Hansen, on the other hand, has back-to-back 4th place finishes at Swenson Park. Despite her lack of distance, last year’s runner-up Ohn Scoggins should be considered the favorite this weekend due to her elite putting and low OB rate. Missy Gannon had never won an Elite Series event on a golf course until the Dynamic Discs Open. She’ll have an opportunity to not only pick up her first podium finish at this event but consecutive tour wins.
  5. How will Eagle McMahon look after his poor return to the tour at the Champions Cup? His timing looked way off from the tee at Northwood, but he’s had more time to work on dialing in his shots (and new discs) over the past few weeks. He’s got the right kind of game to succeed at OTB — if he’s in form.

Course Changes

Located on a traditional golf course, the Swenson Park disc golf course does a tremendous job of feeling like it’s anywhere but. Designed by Leonard Muise, the course utilizes the tree lines between fairways, several water features, and even crossing multiple golf fairways in a single hole to create a track that never feels restricted by the traditional golf layout.

While this year’s hole layout remains the same from last year, nearly every hole has some type of minor change, whether it be an added mando, a removed mando, a new drop zone, or a slight shift to the tee pad or basket location. The most notable change is that hole 9 will be altered for round 2 only. A new basket location will make the hole play 200 feet longer in the FPO division and 300 feet longer for the MPO division. As a result, the hole will score as a par 5 rather than a par 4 in round 2. Another interesting change is the addition of two large hazard areas 320-390 feet from the tee on hole 5. These hazard areas compress the landing zone for any players who cannot push their tee shot past them.

2024 MPO: 11,264 Feet Par 66 (11,564 par 67 in round 2)
2023 MPO: 11,388 Feet Par 66

2024 FPO: 9,099 Feet Par 67 (9,299 Feet Par 68 in round 2)
2023 FPO: 9,113 Feet Par 67

Extended Forecast

There’s no better way to kick off the west coast swing than with warm weather and plenty of sunshine.  If the winds stay low, expect scores to come in even hotter than the weekend forecast.

Friday: Sunny with highs in the mid 80s.  Winds 10-15 mph.
Saturday: Sunny with highs in the mid 80s.  Winds 10-15 mph.
Sunday: Sunny with highs in the mid 80s.  Winds 10-15 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.


PLAYERS: , , , , , , ,

More from Ultiworld
Comments on "2024 OTB Open Preview: The Start of the West Coast Swing"

Find us on Twitter

Recent Comments

Find us on Facebook