Ledgestone Insurance Open - The 2nd to last leg of the US National Tour was able to raise some heads already early in the season by promising to deal out the biggest purse of added cash in the history of the sport, a total of $65.000. The big payout also lured a huge 694 player field to central Illinois to compete in 5 Pro and 9 AM divisions. The MPO field alone boasted a total 217 players, with most of the top players of the sport taking part in this National Tour event.
The obvious top candidate for the victory was naturally the 4-time consecutive World Champion Paul McBeth, who has been winning events far and wide this season, including (but not limited to) all 3 PDGA Majors of the season so far, as well as 3 of the 5 NT events held before the Ledgestone Insurance Open. Last weekend again, Paul was in the lead by 2 going into the final 9. Trailing by those 2 strokes was Team Discmania's Simon Lizotte, who knows Paul very well from the 2 previous seasons of competing against McBeast in numerous events around the world.
While most players would probably consider themselves lucky to be even that close to Paul, taking 2nd this time was no option for Simon. After 9 holes of exciting golf, Simon was eventually able to come up on top with a whopping 4 stroke gap over the 4-time World Champ. This was also Simon's first ever NT win and only the 2nd time ever an European player has been able to capture the top spot at a US National Tour event.
We caught up with Simon after the event for a quick interview, check out Simon's thoughts of the tournament below:
Q: Congrats on winning your first National Tour event! After so many close calls, how did it feel like to finally bring one home?
Simon: Thank you! It felt totally unreal. The past couple events have been really frustrating to me so I was very surprised that suddenly everything started to come together. I'm very proud of this win and glad I learned from all the mistakes I've made before.
Q: You actually went to the final 9 two shots behind Paul McBeth and ended up winning by 4. What is it like to beat the McBeast in his own game?
Simon: Usually once Paul McBeth gets ahead he never looks back. I was very surprised to see him make mistakes. I've been in that situation so many times now I knew I just had to be patient and let things happen. If you're beating McBeth you're probably winning the tournament. His skills and consistency are amazing, so to be able to get a win over him feels amazing!
Q: The course design especially on certain holes raised some controversy. Did you have to adjust your game in some way to avoid getting those big numbers we saw from many players over the weekend?
Simon: The course was a little bit crazy. So many island shots. You really just had to play the lay up game. If you'd just lay up on every hole it wasn't that hard of a course. Almost everyone who took a risk got punished pretty roughly. So all I had to do is play it safe.
Q: Which discs did you use the most at this event?
Q: What are your plans for the rest of the season?
Simon: My plans are to keep playing disc golf the best I possibly can and to stay healthy :)
On behalf of the whole Discmania Staff we'd like to congratulate Simon for his first NT win! Here's to many more to come!