The Ledgestone Open attracts the best of the best to Central Illinois every summer.
This year, 146 MPO and 48 FPO players will take to the courses to compete in the second ever Elite+ Event featuring one of the most coveted trophies and purses in disc golf. Each year a select few rise to the top in each division and establish themselves as contenders. Who will those contenders be this year?
Predictions can be tough, but we’ve analyzed the stats, examined the skill sets, and reviewed past performances to project who you can expect to see at the top of the leaderboards come Sunday. We used all of our research to break down the reasons why a select few players stand out as potential winners of the 2023 Ledgestone Open.
We’ve organized the picks into three categories: Favorites, In the Mix, and Darkhorses. Scroll all the way to the bottom to see our analyst’s consensus pick.
FPO - Favorites
Catrina Allen - Without Tattar and Pierce in the mix, Allen is the most decorated player at the Ledgestone Open. That alone makes her very dangerous, but there’s more to it. Although putting has always been the stereotypical knock on Allen, 2023 has seen a drastic improvement. She is currently connecting on 76% of her Circle 1X putts (11th on tour). This is important because she is Top 10 in reaching Circle 1 with a chance at birdie. Converting those opportunities will give her the best chance to win.
Missy Gannon - The Team Ledgestone captain and tournament’s defending champion and is confident and motivated to perform at Northwood and Sunset Hills. The Discraft star has nine Top 5 finishes this year without a win, so that streak is bound to end very soon. She ranks fifth in C1X putting (79%), fifth in scrambling (45%), and seventh in fairway hits (76%). With the first and final rounds at Northwood Black, excelling in those three categories will lead to yet another podium finish for Gannon. In 2022 she led the Ledgestone Open field in fairway hits and that was enough to swing the event in her favor.
FPO - In the mix
Ohn Scoggins - The highest-rated player in the tournament has seven DGPT podiums this year including one win. That win came less than a week ago at the Mid America Open. Scoggins is the best C1X putter on tour at 81% and the third-best C2 putter at 20%. That alone keeps her in the mix at any event. At the Mid America Open she hit 91% of the fairways, which, combined with her top-ranked putting skillset, could make her virtually unbeatable.
Holyn Handley - In her last five tournaments, Handley has four Top 5s, including three podium finishes. The constant in all of those performances: Circle 1 in regulation. She led the field across those events in putting herself in position for birdie from Circle 1. For Handley it simply comes down to putting. She has connected on 86% of her putts in the past two tournaments and sunk 82% at the Ledgestone Open last year. There is no reason to believe her putt won’t be feeling good coming into Round 1 at Northwood. It’s also worth noting she has a high-level forehand to get out of trouble at Northwood Black.
Valerie Mandujano - It has been an injury-plagued first season at Discraft for Mandujano, but she has been knocking off the rust over the last month and looks primed for a breakout tournament at Ledgestone. Even in her small sample size of 2023 DGPT events, Mandujano has established herself as the best Circle 2 putter on tour and a Top 5 performer in fairway hits. Staying out of trouble at Sunset Hills and Northwood Black by hitting fairways is all but guaranteed for Mandujano at this point. And if her C2 stats remain at the top of the field, she’ll have a chance to pick up strokes on the entire division.
FPO - Darkhorses
Ali Smith - This is a name that will be heard more and more frequently. The KC Wide Open champion is dominating in one particular statistic over the last two months: parking holes. She has Top 10 parked stats in five of her last seven DGPT events. Being parked means birdies, more specifically, stress-free birdies. And if there is any course on tour where stress-free birdies are most important, it’s on Northwood Black, a track that can test the mental fortitude of even the most experienced players in the world.
Analyst’s Pick: Catrina Allen
Blog by Jacob Arvidson