The Discraft Ledgestone Insurance Open attracts the best of the best to Central Illinois every summer.
This year, 148 MPO and 53 FPO players will take to the courses to compete for one of the most coveted trophies 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 use all of our research to break down for you the reasons why a select few players stand out as potential winners of the 2022 Ledgestone Open.
Ricky Wysocki (1st in 2021) - Wysocki comes in as the highest rated player in the tournament. That alone is reason enough to make him a contender. He also holds the title of co-defending Ledgestone champion. From a more analytical perspective, Wysocki has averaged 9.66-under-par since 2019 at Lake Eureka. That includes three Ledgestone events and the 2019 Worlds. Couple that statistic with his three bogey strokes in 36 holes at Northwood Black in 2021 and Wysocki looks hard to beat.
Calvin Heimburg (1st in 2021) - Heimburg joins Wysocki in the position of defending co-champion. He has all the tools to be successful at Lake Eureka and Northwood Black. His 83% Circle 1X putting in 2022 will keep him in contention, but it’s his distance accuracy that puts him truly at the top of the list. Coming into Ledgestone he ranks 6th in greens in regulation (41%) and 9th in fairway hits (75%). At Eureka, staying away from out-of-bounds is crucial. At Northwood, staying out of the rough is the name of the game. Heimburg’s history shows he can handle both.
Kyle Klein (6th in 2021) - Those that recall last year’s tournament will remember Klein’s 5-through-5 start during the final round where he sat at the top of the leaderboard before severe weather ended the tournament prematurely and negated the final round. It would be easy to forget the 8-under-par Klein posted during Round 3 to set the course record at Northwood Black. He clearly demonstrated he has the skill set to compete on the Ledgestone courses. In 2022, he has not placed outside the top six in his last five DGPT events, so he’s hot and his 41.72% birdie rate is No. 9 on tour. Every birdie you can score at Ledgestone is huge.
Paul McBeth (18th in 2021) - Who can count out the 5-time World Champion? No one. Especially since his fifth title occurred in Peoria. Since 2019, over his nine recorded rounds at Lake Eureka, McBeth has averaged 10.33-under-par, the lowest of any player on tour. In 2022 he has a 46% birdie rate (4th), 89% efficiency from Circle 1X (8th) and hasn’t won in any of his last 10 Elite Series events. Currently, his only 2022 Elite Series win is at Waco. However, the last time McBeth won less than two Elite Series or higher events in a season was in 2010. It’s hard to imagine that happening again for him, so with that logic he’s due for a DGPT win and Ledgestone provides a prime opportunity.
Kevin Jones (12th in 2021) - This one might be a bit surprising because his only win of the season so far came at the Match Play Championships. But the stats say it can happen. The MPO field has only seen Northwood Black in competition for two rounds. In those two rounds, Jones has averaged 3-under-par which includes a triple bogey on hole 14 during Round 3 in 2021. Why is that important? Because hole 14 has been cleared out to create wider landing zones and thinner rough. It’s still tough, but Jones repeating a triple bogey is unlikely. The other half of Ledgestone takes place at Lake Eureka and Jones showed in 2019 that he can shoot double-digits under par out there. His final two rounds at the 2019 Ledgestone event combined with his first two rounds at Worlds two months later averaged out to 11.5-under-par.
Chris Dickerson (7th in 2021) - Dickerson is No. 2 on tour in Circle 1 in regulation (47%) and No. 3 in birdie percentage (46%). That alone makes him a contender on any course. Dickerson made noticeable improvements between the two rounds at Northwood in 2021. Through hole 8, he improved by four strokes in Round 3, learning from his mistakes and playing clean with a flurry of birdies. The hole that destroyed him (like Jones) was hole 14, which has seen significant adjustments. He averaged a double bogey in 2021, but with widened landing zones and cleaner rough, don’t expect to see Dickerson do that again.
Drew Gibson (4th in 2021) - Drew Gibson showed what he is capable of in the woods last year. His power and control of his Buzzz through the long, tight tunnels at Northwood Black kept him out of the rough and helped him finish the tournament with a 79% fairway hit rate (6th). At Lake Eureka in 2021, Gibson threw OB zero times. This stat stands out most of all because Gibson’s backhand power is near unmatched. If he can stay in bounds like in 2021, he will have every chance to win.
Honorable Mentions - Andrew Marwede has the forehand and backhand control to carve through the woods, along with the course management skills to avoid OB. Paired with his 90% efficiency in Circle 1X and his 39% dominance from Circle 2, don’t be shocked if Marwede is in contention on Sunday.
Isaac Robinson burst onto the scene with his win at Idlewild. At Ledgestone in 2021 he flew under the radar with a 14th-place finish. In that performance he didn’t miss a single Circle 1 putt and birdied 39% of the holes (8th). When Robinson is in the mix in Round 4, don’t be surprised.