Sunday, 18 February 2018
Round 4 wrap-up: The competition is heating up!

The cold, heavy rain appeared endless to the weather-beaten competitors sitting inside the warm, dry clubhouse eating their lunch. It was a tough decision to put back on the cold, wet clothes and go back out into the weather for three more hours of discomfort. A few players opted to hang it up early and spend the rest of their time in Japan in a warm, dry place. Disc golf is a passion, but when it crosses the furthest threshold of discomfort, it doesn’t matter where you are or what the circumstances are, you just have to say “enough.”

Wysocki takes the lead to himself with top names right on his heels

There would be no quitting on the lead card, or the chase card, with only a handful of strokes separating the top twelve players. Each stroke is precious and mistakes are magnified, especially in hostile conditions where it can be difficult to find your best game.

Locastro was able to maintain his focus and seemed to be able to tune out the weather. Though mentally tough enough to push on, his body was having a hard time staying physically coordinated and he would card more than a half dozen bogeys due to miscues on drives and during his birdie putts which always seemed to fall short. He did find enough birdies to stay under par for the round.

Wysocki decided to stay focused on the prize and do what needed to get done. He didn’t enjoy the cold and wet but he didn’t let it affect him. He shot a 55 to take a two-stroke lead in the tournament.

McBeth did what McBeth always does; he remained calm through out the round. Even when a few of McBeth’s signature shots turned sour and cost him strokes, he remained calm. He would shoot a 55, enough to tie Locastro for second place.

Feldberg seemed to suffer the most. The relentless chill from the wind and rain seemed to conspire against him, or at least he thought so. He would card a 59 and drop off of the lead card heading into the final day. The lead card for round five will be Ricky Wysocki, Paul McBeth, Nikko Locastro and Simon Lizotte, who's tied with Feldberg but gets the spot on the top card due to better round score on round 4.

Sadly, there is an injury to report: Nicholas Duran, a young pro from Arizona, fell and dislocated his shoulder during the round and had to be rushed to the hospital by ambulance. He’s going to be okay.

Pierce catches Jenkins to amp up the excitement in FPO division

The ladies playing the purple course did not have it any easier than men on what comes to the crudeness of the elements. The lead card consisting of Valarie Jenkins, Paige Pierce, Mayu Iwasaki and Des Reading battled through the front 9 for the most part head-to-head with Val, Paige and Mayu within one stroke of each other going into the back nine.

By the time the ladies first group entered the back nine all of them we're already soaking wet and tired from the 27 holes of Disc Golf behind them. Paige Pierce seemed endure the situation the best, shooting a great 29 for the last nine holes, including an amazing ~50m field ace from the drop box on hole 16 after missing the mando on her drive. Paige took 7 strokes from the leader Val Jenkins on the back nine and with the addition of the one stroke she got on the front nine she is currently to co-leader of FPO division with Val going into Championship Saturday.

Behind Jenkins & Pierce, Japanese local Mayu Iwasaki continued her consistent efforts on the 4th round, shooting 70 to keep her foothold on the 3rd place in the competition. While there's still 27 holes to go, it seems unlikely to see the winner outside the Pierce & Jenkins pair as they now have a comfortable 12 stroke bumper against the rest of the field. The lead card for 5th round will consist of Pierce, Jenkins, Iwasaki and Jessie Westphal, who matched Iwasaki's 70 and remains 2 strokes from the third place.

The official results up to the 4th round have been posted to the PDGA event page.

See also photos from the tournament on the Japan Open facebook page. Check out the freshly published first video from Japan Open below, courtesy of The SpinTV: