The last event in the Pro Tour Texas swing has arrived. This is a long-running tournament that has been an elite series event of some capacity for many years, but this year it might as well be a new event! With a completely redesigned course and players hungry to take the last Pro Tour stop we will see until April 22nd, it is setting up to be a good weekend!
The biggest storyline heading into this weekend has been the redesign of the course at Lindsey Park. It is on the same property as Dogwood, the course that was previously used, and even includes 4 holes from the Dogwood course but combines them with a safari layout using all three courses on the property. This course does not feel like your typical safari course though and if we weren’t told that it was, we probably wouldn’t even notice.
This change has been met with some pushback from a portion of the field that prefers Dogwood and the technical wooded golf that it brings over the longer more park-style course that the Thorn offers. The players that are upset because they signed up expecting Dogwood and later found out that the course had changed have some valid reasons. Unfortunately for them, technical wooded courses days on the Pro Tour are numbered at this point. The change allows for better coverage, more spectators, and an overall better event experience from the Pro Tour’s side at the sacrifice of a technical wooded course. When the Pro Tour is looking at the pros and cons of courses like the Thorn versus courses like Dogwood, it is hard to see scenarios where that option is available and they are choosing Dogwood.
Storylines to Follow
The Pro Tour pointed out in a graphic that they posted earlier in the week that Ricky is headed into this weekend undefeated at Texas States. His previous success here cannot be denied as a source of confidence for him, but with the course change, his previous success doesn’t mean a ton headed into the event. Since he is one of the top players in the world, he has a great chance of winning the event, but this stat is somewhat irrelevant and could prove to jinx Ricky’s tournament before it ever begins if you believe in that sort of thing.
Another big storyline that we missed in the recap show is the Pro Tour debut of Niklas Anttila. This young talent from Finland made some noise last year by taking down the European Disc Golf Championships as well as a few other large events against pretty strong fields. He will be teeing off on a feature card alongside Chris Clemons, Luke Humphries, and Ricky Wysocki on the main feature card for live coverage. This will definitely add some pressure to his first round, but we are very excited to see what he is capable of out there!
On the FPO side, I think that this is a big tournament for Paige Pierce. She has come out the gates with a 2nd place and a 6th place finish which is a great start for pretty much any player not named Paige Pierce. For her this is a less than stellar start and a finish outside the top 3 here could start to get the narrative going of an “off-year”. This is mainly due to the fact that we are about to go a month with no true Pro Tour stop with back-to-back silver series and then a Major coming up. If she is able to put together a solid tournament and walk away with a win, she can shut the haters up before they have much time to speak.
Keys to Victory
- Controlled Distance Distance will help out here, but throwing far without concern for where it is landing will not. Players will need to accurately get way down the fairway and be smart about where their disc is ending up. If they do that, this course is very scorable.
- Play the Wind Players will need to take advantage of holes when the wind is down. The course can get very windy and will play very difficult when the wind is up. If a player is able to get a few holes or even a full round in with the wind down, they need to take advantage.
- Get Off the Tee After playing this course, if you do not get off the tee well, you will not compete out there. The tee shots are crucial to giving yourself good looks into the greens on par 4s and just hitting the gap isn’t enough. You need distance plus accuracy to score well out here.
- Damage Control There are some holes that can really have some teeth if you do not have a damage control mindset and choose to take the bogey instead of trying to save par and ending up with a double or worse.
How to Watch
If you want to catch the action live, you can do so by subscribing to the Disc Golf Network! The usual crew of post-production companies will be out there as well if you want to catch the action the day after for free on their YouTube channels!