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Wysocki Pushes Late For Masters Cup Lead

Ricky Wysocki closed with a turkey -- and the hot round -- during round one of the Santa Cruz Masters Cup. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Most competitive disc golfers won’t admit to watching the scoreboard -- at least not during the first of a three-round tournament.

It goes without saying, though, that Ricky Wysocki isn’t like most competitive disc golfers. So when the defending Santa Cruz Masters Cup champion checked the scores before closing out Friday afternoon’s 24 holes at the DeLaveaga Disc Golf Course, he saw an opportunity.

“I knew there were a bunch of people bunched up at 10-, 11-under coming down the stretch, and I just wanted to finish strong,” Wysocki said. “I know the weather’s coming in this week, so you never know what can happen.”

What did happen, though, was hardly a surprise: Wysocki rattled off three consecutive birdies to finish the round, connecting on two circle’s edge putts to walk away with a 1081-rated 14-under par 59 that gave him an early jump on his title defense at this seaside PDGA National Tour staple.

Though he’s up two, Wysocki is being chased by familiar company, as four-time Masters Cup winner Paul McBeth headlines a three-player group that shares second place at 12-under. Eagle McMahon and Matt Bell make up the rest of that group, while Garrett Gurthie, Eric Oakley, and Sias Elmore are tied for fifth with 11-under par 62s.

For Wysocki, the showing wasn’t just about putting -- although he did notch a perfect performance on the green. Instead, he was more focused on his control, being sure to match his shot selection to the notoriously tricky hillside terrain.

“I was making sure I was controlling my speed and landing flat coming into the greens and giving myself a lot of looks inside 40 feet, and I feel like that’s when I play my best,” Wysocki said. “...I avoided all the potential bad holes and bad roll aways on certain shots. I feel like I managed the course really well to avoid that kind of stuff.”

McBeth said he felt like he handled the fairways well, but faltered when it came time to finish each hole. His 67 percent circle 1 success rate was down from his season average of 82.

“I think it’s a good score, but I think I played better than what I scored today,” McBeth said. “I just missed a lot of putts in the circle, I think about five out there today. Just never got comfortable with the putter, but I was throwing the disc really well and getting it really close, so if I can clean that up tomorrow I think I’ll be up there toward that lead.”

On the flip side of the coin, Bell was locked in with the putter. The local hero connected on 67 percent of his attempts from circle 2 and finished the round with a flourish: His 60-footer after sawing off his forehand tee shot on hole 6 helped keep him on the lead card, part of five straight birdies he landed to stick around.

“Just didn’t wanna go away,” Bell said. “I had gotten some really good birdies out there, but had that rough stretch to where I knew if I didn’t close that round out with some birdies I might fall off the pace. And you can’t do that out here if you wanna win.”

With precipitation in the forecast for the next two days, those fast starts were particularly important. And Wysocki, who over the years has garnered the moniker “Raincoat Ricky” for his quick, but still strong play during poor weather, was ready to embrace the chaos.

“I’m definitely prepared for it,” he said with a laugh. “And the raincoat’s ready.”

Quote of the Day

Gurthie, who normally is known for his big drives, on his wooded performance: “People don’t really know me as a finesse player, but here’s a little bit of finesse for you.”



Sias Elmore was one of three players who aced during the round. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

Three players aced during the round, and two of them came on the same hole one card apart. Sias Elmore canned the 354-foot hole 3, then Austin Hannum followed up just minutes later. As the day wore on, Drew Gibson took home the solo shot on the 310-foot hole 9.

In other news…

Josh Anthon withdrew from the event after his 2-under par showing, but did not specify an injury or other reason when reporting to tournament staff.

What’s Next

The Open lead card tees off at 2:50 p.m. for another 24 at DeLa. Scores and stats will be available on, with next-day video coming from JomezPro.

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