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United States Disc Golf Championship

United States Disc Golf Championship

Paul McBeth roars after hitting the winning putt at Winthrop. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

Paul McBeth remembered the spot, literally and figuratively.

It came down to a playoff with a PDGA Major title on the line. He had been there before, earlier this year at PDGA Pro Worlds and earlier in his career at Winthrop.

Complete Coverage of the United States Disc Golf Championship

“There used to be a log right there and I missed the putt from there,” McBeth said of his 2014 playoff in Rock Hill. “It was a good spot to make that one.”

Paul McBeth is looking for his third USDGC title on Saturday. Photo: Kevin Huver / PDGA

Paul McBeth likes his position.

As the rain fell on Friday at the Winthrop Arena, the five-time PDGA World Champion rose to the top.

With the putter working and drives that avoided the daunting OBs in Rock Hill as the weather turned sideways, McBeth is eyeing his third United States Disc Golf Championship.

But Chris Dickerson is right there, one stroke back, looking to be the first player to go back-to-back at Winthrop since Ken Climo.

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Chris Dickerson, the 2020 USDGC champion, leads by three strokes. Photo: Conrad Meyer / PDGA

There are no easy shots coming down the stretch in Rock Hill, both on the course at Winthrop and as the United States Disc Golf Championship hits the midway point of competition.

Both of those instances are when the already-high pressure amps up even more.

“There are no easy shots coming down the stretch with the wind, the slopes and fast greens,” Ricky Wysocki told the Disc Golf Network’s Terry Miller. “You have to focus on every shot until the road is completely finished.”

Nate Sexton avoided the OBs and is a co-leader after the first 18 in Rock Hill. Photo: Kevin Huver / PDGA

Gregg Barsby was facing the water carry to Hole 5’s green during the opening round of the United States Disc Golf Championship.

A little out of position, the 2018 PDGA World Champion made the decision to err on the side of caution on the approach and was left with a 65-foot look at birdie.

He cashed it.

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Gregg Barsby lines up a shot during the first round of the USDGC. Photo: Kevin Huver / PDGA

2019 USDGC Champion James Conrad will be on Wednesday's feature card on the Disc Golf Network.

It takes every shot — hyzers, straight shots, turnovers, you name it — to navigate the Winthrop Arena.

But it doesn't just demand a complete repertoire, it demands precision.

"Winthrop, more than any other course, challenges you to stay in bounds, to throw accurate shots," 2020 USDGC Champion Chris Dickerson said. "All of those shots need to be in bounds."

It also adds an added amount of pressure as one the longest-running and prestigious stops on the disc golf tour as the final PDGA Major of the year.

Chris Dickerson is the defending United States Disc Golf Champion. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen / PDGA

This season has proven that — week-in and week-out — anything can happen on the PDGA Elite Series.

That sets up for what promises to be a thrilling week at one of disc golf's most revered locations.

The final PDGA Major of the year, arguably one of the most prestigious and anticipated events outside of a World Championship, the United States Disc Golf Championship kicks off on Wednesday. The inaugural Throw Pink Women's Disc Golf Championship, like its counterpart, will test the best in the sport on the hallowed grounds of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

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For the first time since 2007, the USDGC has a repeat champion. Will Schusterick of Nashville, TN, can boast Championship crowns from 2010 and now 2012 after outlasting Ricky Wysocki by two strokes on Saturday.

This time Schusterick had several members of his family in attendance including his mother, sisters and grandparents. “There’s no better feeling in the world than to have family there as I succeed,” said Schusterick.

Tied with Monday Qualifier Josh Anthon at the start of the day, the round ended up becoming a battle between Schusterick and Wysocki, who tied Schusterick for Saturday’s round with a 55 (-13).

Josh Anthon of California is holding strong at -35 for the Championship, but now he’s tied with 2010 US Champion Will Schusterick, who surged during Friday’s third round with a course record tying 53 (-15).

Schusterick wasn’t the only player to humble Winthrop Gold on Friday. Jumping into the United States Disc Golf Championship conversation with a blistering 53 were Steve Brinster of New York and Finn Jussi Meresmaa, who had a share of the lead after Round 1.

After Anthon and Schusterick are Ricky Wysocki of South Carolina (-33), Brinster and Meresmaa at (-31), and three others are tied at (-28).

Fireworks were launched from the Pro Flight lead card during Thursday’s Round 2 of the USDGC, when Ricky Wysocki and Josh Anthon shot a lights-out 55 (-13). The pair now find themselves tied atop the leader board at (-24).

Wysocki was in route to tying Anthon’s 2009 course record of 53 (-15), however, he threw OB twice and made bogey on Hole 18. “He was throwing like a genius. He should have shot a 52,” said 2009 US Champion Nikko Locastro, who was also on the lead card and is only two back after Thursday.

Feeling even more like an all-star event, the USDGC Open Flight’s Round 1 – full of big-name groupings – did not disappoint with many players going low, real low. The lowest were 2009 US Champ Nikko Locastro and Finland power house Jussi Meresmaa at 56 (-12).

Others with good showings included Monday qualifier Josh Anthon and Brent Hambrick Memorial champ Ricky Wysocki at (-11). 3-time US Champion Barry Schultz, 2005 US Champion Dave Feldberg, and Matt Orum all finished at (-10).

Locastro wants to add 2-time US Champion before his name and if he keeps up his pace, he just might.

Grandmaster Dean Pfeifer says he only looks old. When it comes to turning in low scores, he plays as young as anyone on the course.

The 56-year-old Philadelphia, MS resident is now headed to his fifth USDGC after winning grandmasters (-8) and later taking one of the last two USDGC spots during a three-way tie-breaker at the Southern National Pro Championships.

Whether it’s heading to Rock Hill after a last minute invite or making the long trip just for the Monday Qualifier, Illinois resident Dana Vicich will take any chance he can get to play the USDGC.

This year he made it easy on himself by qualifying at the Vibram Open (Aug 16-19) in Leicester, MA, with his best finish to date (18th) at the Maple Hill course.

Qualifying for his 13th USDGC was a priority for Brad Schick this year, and after a 3rd place finish at the Brent Hambrick Memorial in his hometown of Columbus, OH, he won’t have to worry about traveling elsewhere to do it.

“I just want to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to it,” said Schick, (-18) who lives in nearby Westerville, OH.