February 24, 2024

Las Vegas Challenge 2022 Predictions

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Here we are just under a week to go until the Las Vegas Challenge. LVC rarely disappoints with the excitement. It’s the first stop on the pro tour and everyone is ready to consume pro disc golf again. It always seems that we have a few unexpected players punch well above their rating’s weight class. And several finish far below what you’d normally expect.nnAt the 2021 Las Vegas Challenge we saw Ezra Aderhold finish tied for second with Calvin Heimburg. Heimburg went on to finish 3rd in DGPT points while Aderhold finished 11th. On the FPO side the biggest shakeup we saw was Jessica Weese taking 3rd at LVC and 6th in DGPT points and Ohn Scoggins taking 4th at LVC and 12th in DGPT Points.nn

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MPO Predictions

nWe did get a little preview of things to come with the DGPT All-Star event. While the doubles tournament couldn’t give up much insight into the 2022 season the singles play did. We saw the usual suspects rising to the top with Eagle McMahon (-12) and Calvin Heimburg (-13) shooting the two best individual rounds. You then had James Conrad and Garrett Gurthie shooting the next hottest rounds at -9 each.nnWhen you look at the All-Star course and the 3 courses at LVC, you do see similarities between the 2 styles of courses. With the Factory Store and Innova courses being the most like the DGPT All-Star course. The Infinite Discs course is just under 2,000ft shorter and more technical than the Innova and Factory Store courses.nnWho should we expect to see on the podium at the end of the 2022 Las Vegas Challenge? The top three finishers from the 2021 LVC were Heimburg and Aderhold tied for second with McMahon taking home the trophy. Based on what I saw at the All-Star Weekend I would not expect McMahon to finish in the top three for this tournament. I would put him in the top 5 but without having a forehand I can’t put him higher on the list. Yes, I saw his left-handed back hand but I don’t think it’ll be the same in an actual tournament with actual stakes. I hope I’m wrong.n

Third Place

nIn third place I have Ricky Wysocki. He skipped the All-Star weekend so he could spend more time learning and breaking in his bag. I think he is going to know his bag well enough to snag a 3rd place finish in his first tournament with Dynamic Discs. Even though he has been working with his bag for the last several months I think there will still be a tournament adjustment period but that shouldn’t last very long.n

Second Place

nIn second place I have Ezra Aderhold. He played in the All-Star event and shot an eight under during the singles play. That put him in a 5th place tie overall. Last year at the Las Vegas Challenge Aderhold managed to put together several impressive rounds and get a 2nd place finish tied with Calvin Heimburg. After watching Aderhold at the All-Star weekend I believe he will come out firing on all cylinders.n

First Place

nSpeaking of Calvin Heimburg, I have him winning the Las Vegas Challenge. As previously mentioned, he finished tied for second at this event. At the All-Star weekend Heimburg put together a phenomenal 1090 rated round to beat Eagle McMahon. He birdied the entire back nine and managed birdies on 13 of 14 holes starting with hole 5 and only missing hole ten. He made a fantastic 25ft putt under pressure to win his match and All-Star weekend for his team. Heimburg is also in a contract year. If he plays well this year, he’ll be able sit in a very comfortable bargaining position.n

FPO Predictions

nTurning out attention to the FPO field we have a bit more to look at thanks to the DGPT All-Star weekend. Paige pierce and Catrina Allen both look good at the event while some of the FPO player who changed sponsors struggled at the event specifically Hailey King and Kona Panis. Add in the three European women attending this tournament and things become a lot less clear.nnIn 2021, Kristin Tattar had a record of 2-1-1 in a head-to-head match-up against Paige Pierce. The only loss was at Worlds and they shared a third-place finish at the Des Moines Challenge. Since 2019, Kristin has a record of 3-3-3 against Henna Blomroos and 2-4-0 against Eveliina Salonen. Looking at the head-to-head with Blomroos and Salonen, Salonen has a commanding lead of 11-4-0. Tattar did not see these women much through 2020 and 2021 with the travel restrictions. Since Salonen and Blomroos are Finish, they say each frequently during this time. This will be the first time in several years that the top European women and US women will get a chance to face off.n

Third Place

nWith all this to consider I put Paige Pierce in third place. She had a decent performance at the All-Star weekend but I think the European women are going to come over shooting hot. If Pierce can’t get the putter consistent or have an off tournament (we’ve seen it before) then she might even struggle for third. The roughly first third of the season is going to have a much deeper field at the top than we’ve grown accustomed to since the pandemic.n

Second Place

nIn second place I predict Kristin Tattar will take the silver at this tournament. When we saw her in the 2021 season, Tattar managed to beat Pierce twice, tie her once and lost to her once. In her wins she has won by an average of 5.5 strokes. She has dominated the European scene and will continue this streak in her United States tour.n

First Place

nIn first place we’ll see Eveliina Salonen take down the Las Vegas Challenge. She is one of the three women dominating the European FPO tournaments. She is the one player that has consistently beat Kristin Tattar and an 11-4-0 record since 2019. Based on what we saw last year with Tattar’s brief but dominating appearance, I suspect that Salonen will make her presence known to the US field and wider disc golf audience.nnHow do you think the Las Vegas Challenge will go? Who’s going to take it down on the MPO side? The FPO side? Let me know in the comments below.

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