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Wysocki, McMahon Jockeying For National Tour Points Title

Ricky Wysocki (left) and Eagle McMahon are virtually neck and neck in the National Tour series standings. Photos: Alyssa Van Lanen

We’ve hit the PDGA National Tour season’s halfway point, with next week’s Beaver State Fling set to give way to the Delaware Disc Golf Challenge and the Ed Headrick Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic to close out the 2018 circuit. There is $35,000 worth of bonus cash up for grabs for those who make the most of the six-tournament series, and a picture of who might take home the dough has already started to emerge.

But is the picture that clear? Let’s take a look at the Open and Open Women’s NT standings up through the Santa Cruz Masters Cup and see if the image has the instant feel of digital or the slow fade of a Polaroid.

Open Women’s Standings

Rank Name PDGA # LVC* GBO* MC* Total
1 Paige Pierce 29190 100 (1) 100 (1) 100 (1) 300
2 Lisa Fajkus 32654 85 (5) 95 (2) 91 (3) 271
3 Sarah Hokom 34563 93 (T2) 91 (3) 79 (T7) 263
4 Catrina Allen 44184 93 (T2) 63 (15) 95 (2) 251
5 Jessica Weese 50656 80 (7) 86.5 (T4) 75 (T9) 241.5
6 Madison Walker 59431 77 (T8) 75 (T9) 85 (5) 237
7 Jennifer Allen 15354 88 (4) 55 (19) 88 (4) 231
8 Kona Star Panis 27832 82 (6) 75 (T9) 72 (11) 229
9 Melody Waibel 29858 74 (10) 50 (22) 68 (13) 192
10 Zoe Andyke 39504 - 80 (T6) 82 (6) 162

*Finishing place in parentheses

Paige Pierce’s current season sweep has netted her a 29-point cushion over Lisa Fajkus. That should be a safe enough margin for Pierce to roll to the $2,500 prize if she repeats at Beaver State. Even if she comes up with another fourth place finish at the HOFC, that’s a solid 88 points tacked on to her total.

The more intriguing battle, then, is for the $1,700 second-place purse. Fajkus’ commitment to full-time touring is already paying off; at this point in 2017 she had missed out on two National Tour events, which put her in a 100-point hole (if a player competes in all NT events, his or her lowest showing of the first five is dropped). Her fifth-place showing at the 2018 Las Vegas Challenge, plus a second place finish at the Dynamic Discs Glass Blown Open and a third-place slot in her first career Santa Cruz Masters Cup, has already netted her 10 more points than she earned in her first three NTs last season. That’s significant, because she leads Sarah Hokom (second at LVC, second at GBO, seventh at Masters Cup) by only eight points.

Other women’s players to keep an eye on include Madison Walker, whose 237 points have already surpassed her injury-shortened 2017 total, and Kona Panis, whose average 2018 NT finish of 8.67 has her in eighth place in the season-long race.

Open Standings

Rank Name PDGA # LVC* GBO* MC* Total
1 Ricky Wysocki 38008 89.5 (T3) 93 (T2) 100 (1) 282.5
2 Eagle McMahon 37817 100 (1) 100 (1) 81.25 (T5) 281.25
3 Paul McBeth 27523 80 (7) 71 (T11) 91 (3) 242
4 Drew Gibson 48346 83.5 (T5) 93 (T2) 62 (T15) 238.5
5 Nate Sexton 18824 73 (T9) 75 (T9) 81.25 (T5) 229.25
6 Kevin Jones 41760 73 (T9) 85 (5) 68 (T12) 226
7 Simon Lizotte 8332 83.5 (T5) 88 (4) 35.25 (28) 206.75
8 Grady Shue 68285 32.5 (30) 82 (6) 57 (T18) 171.5
9 Philo Brathwaite 26416 78 (8) - 88 (4) 166
10 Paul Ulibarri 27171 38 (T27) 54 (T18) 68 (T12) 160

*Finishing place in parentheses

This is going to be a good one, folks. There’s $6,000 on the line for first place and $4,000 for second, and that $2,000 is hanging by a thread.

One would think that, by winning the season’s first two National Tour events and taking fifth place at the third, Eagle McMahon would be running away with the series lead.

That thought, though, would be wrong, because the reigning PDGA World Champion is on the prowl.

Though Ricky Wysocki only has one NT victory this season – his second career win at the Masters Cup – he hasn’t finished lower than a tie for third place at any other NTs. That consistency has resulted in the thinnest of margins: He holds a 1.25-point gap over McMahon. This will be the story to watch heading into Beaver State, an event Wysocki won in a playoff last year over Paul McBeth but where McMahon finished in third.

Speaking of McBeth, last season’s National Tour Champion has fallen 40 points off the pace, with his 11th place GBO finish causing him to slip. But that isn’t the biggest surprise in the Open division. That honor, instead, belongs to Drew Gibson, who is sitting in fourth place after three events with 238.5 points. The Northern California pro only managed 119 points through his first three National Tour events in 2017 and finished in 24th place, far outside of the bonus cash.

Other contenders to keep an eye on include Kevin Jones, who is currently in sixth place but has zero career starts at Beaver State, and Austin Hannum, who 15 points outside the bonus but made noise by tying for fifth in Santa Cruz.

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