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Aces Wild

Ricky Wysocki stared down adversity and came away with the lead after a round for the ages Saturday at the MVP Open. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen | DGPT

Gazing up from 30th place after the opening round of the MVP Open wasn’t exactly how Ricky Wysocki envisioned kicking off his title defense at Maple Hill Disc Golf Course. But after a frustrating Friday found him in that unenviable position, he dialed up the resolve that has become one of his career calling cards.

“I needed to do something,” Wysocki said.

How about everything?

Wysocki was monstrous Saturday afternoon in Massachusetts, landing an ace and firing off a bogey-free, 13-under par 46 at Maple Hill to storm into first place at the MVP Open with one round left to play.

Yes, you read that correctly: Wysocki moved from the 10th card to the lead in a mere 18 holes. He now sits at a 14-under par 104 total.

“I think that’s a record for me for climbing up that many spots in one round,” the two-time PDGA World Champion said with a laugh.

The effort clocked in with an unofficial rating of 1108, marking the second time this season Wysocki has crested 1100; he also accomplished the feat during the final round of June’s Utah Open. It’s the seventh time in his career he has crossed that threshold.

The superlatives don’t end there: If the performance holds up, it will count as the second-best round ever thrown at Maple Hill, coming in behind Paul McBeth’s 1121-rated affair at the 2013 Vibram Open.

And it all started with a little confidence boost. Wysocki said he was steamed at carding a double-bogey 5 on the seemingly innocuous, 350-foot 2nd Friday afternoon. It was a mishap that stalled his round before it ever truly started, and he struggled to get into a rhythm. So when he connected from 40-feet to card a deuce on Saturday, that three-stroke scoring swing was all the fuel he needed.

“That kinda just set the tone for the [first] round – I didn’t really get off to a good start, and that kinda set the pace pretty badly,” Wysocki said. “I think making that [Saturday] was a huge confidence booster for me.”

If the birdie was the booster, then his ace across the pond on the 320-foot 8th found him breaking through the stratosphere. Wysocki lined up a Dynamic Discs Felon and, playing the wind, tossed a forehand shot high into the air to make sure he was deep enough to clear the water.

“It was tracking and tracking, and smash!” Wysocki said. “It was a huge gallery and everyone went crazy. It was awesome.”

Wysocki followed with another big birdie putt – this time from 50 feet – on hole 10, then shaved another stroke off his total with a 3 on the 780-foot 11th. He kept his hot streak rolling down the stretch, carding four consecutive birdies from holes 13 through 17 and just missing from long range on 18. It was a stunning turn from a competitor who has proven that, even as 2018 hasn’t been his most consistent season, he still has as high a ceiling as any player in the sport.

While Wysocki stole the spotlight Saturday, he’ll be joined in it on Sunday by his top rival. Paul McBeth moved up into second place with a 7-under par 52 that was bookended by bogeys, while 23-year-old Florida pro Calvin Heimburg dropped one slot and into third place with a 6-under par showing that brought his two-day total to a 12-under par 106.

Even though it wasn’t quite Wysocki-like, James Conrad made his own climb up the standings with an 8-under par 51 that put him at 11-under for the weekend and into a fourth-place tie with Nate Sexton. Other big movers included Simon Lizotte, who came up 15 places and into sixth; Gregg Barsby, who used a 19-spot leap to land in a three-way tie for 11th; and Cameron Colglazier, who rocketed 36 places and into that same 11th place stalemate.

Even as Wysocki was aiming to become the first three-time Maple Hill winner in the Open field, he also said he’ll be using Sunday as a tune-up for the main event: the PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships, which take place in two weeks at Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont.

“The tournament leading up to Worlds I always use as a gauge to gauge how I play,” Wysocki said. ...So tomorrow that’s what I’m gonna see if I can do and see if there’s anything I can work on.”

If Saturday is any indication, there isn’t much.


This Ace was full of Grace by Ricky Wysocki! What a fabulous shot! And to climb from card 10 to card 1 in a single round.....powerful!! Awesome jobs as well by Mcbeth, Lizotte, Conrad, Barsby, Sexton, and Colglazier.

Great Job fellas!

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