Originally published at: https://discgolf.ultiworld.com/2020/09/02/ultiworld-disc-golf-fpo-power-rankings-september-3-2020/
Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – DGPT
Can we take a minute to acknowledge that the Power Rankings are a bit wonky this year thanks to the coronavirus outbreak? Because our objective metric compares strength of field and purse, among other statistical measures, the European women—currently unable to travel to the United States—are most impacted. Real talk. The big three, Eveliina Salonen, Henna Blomroos, and Kristin Tattar, are top 5 players, and many of the 900+ rated crowd would easily make the top 25. Per Aaron Howard, “We didn’t think our metric would require a worldwide pandemic variable.” Leave us a comment: who would make our top 25 if the European swing had come to pass?
Methodology: We combine an algorithmic objective ranking with subjective ballots submitted by UWDG staff and subscribers. The algorithm uses a standardized scoring model to compare elite events, awards competition and cash bonuses, and features a decay function that gradually phases out past results. Staff and subscribers consider results from the past two months, prioritizing elite events in the U.S. and Europe. The most recent month receives priority over the previous month. Voters may consider other PDGA sanctioned events but observe the following hierarchy: Elite > A-tiers > B-tiers > C-tiers. For this edition of the Power Rankings, we prioritized the following tournaments:
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Let’s get to the results!
Power Rankings Top 10 are available to all Ultiworld Disc Golf readers. Want the entire top 25? You’ll have to be a subscriber.
1. Paige Pierce
Last Month: 4th place – Idlewild Open, 2nd place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 1st place – The Memorial, Dynamic Discs Open, The Preserve Championship, Great Lakes Open
2. Catrina Allen
Last Month: 2nd place – River City Open (A), 3rd place – Idlewild Open, 1st place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 1st place – The Ledgestone Insurance Open
At this point in the season, five events into the restart, Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen need to be considered in the same breath. Pierce holds a definite edge in the W column, finishing 1-1-1-4-2; Allen has gone 3-2-6-3-1 in the same span. However, over the last three events, Pierce has averaged 7 points below her current rating with eight of ten rounds falling short of that mark. Despite her travails, she shot the highest rated round in the field over the last ten rounds with 1030-rated scorcher to cap the Ledgestone Insurance Open. Allen, on the other hand, is averaging seven points above her current rating and only recorded four rounds below that mark. She leads the field with two rounds in the last ten rated over 1000. Their UDisc driving statistics are virtually identical, but each woman falls well short of the field in one category, which can determine the outcome of a tournament. Pierce is aggressive and throws OB too often. Her OB rate at Idlewild was 0.315 (31st) and 0.153 at Ledgestone (22nd); she ranks 30th in this category across all events in 2020. Allen ranks 44th in C1X putting and 20th in C2 putting in 2020.
3. Sarah Hokom
Last Month: 2nd place – Idlewild Open, 5th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 1st place – Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 2nd place – Idlewild Open
Consistency is the name of the game for Hokom. She ranks sixth in three UDisc statistical categories—C1 in Regulation, Birdie %, and Scramble—and her average rank across the big eight categories excluding C2 putting is, you guessed it, sixth. She boasts the second best OB rate in the field (fractionally worse than Ellen Widboom), which helps to offset her 9% C2 conversion rate.
4. Ellen Widboom
Last Month: 1st place – Lake Superior Open (A), 1st place – Idlewild Open, 10th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 3rd place – Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 1st place – Idlewild Open
Ellen Widboom out Hokom’ed Hokom at the Idlewild Open to become the first American to dethrone Paige Pierce at an Elite Series event in 2020. Expect more Widboom/Hokom showdowns in the future because they boast remarkably similar UDisc statlines this year. Widboom ranks in the top 10 for every major statistical category and her average performance, statistically speaking, is slightly better than Hokom’s.
5. Missy Gannon
Last Month: 5th place – Idlewild Open, 12th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 2nd place – Dynamic Discs Open
The Ledgestone Insurance Open was a bump in the road for Gannon, but she’s already shown her ability to bounce back this season when given a bit of break. Granted, she’s only got three weeks between Ledgestone and the GMC compared to three months between WACO and the DDO, but I expect a player of her fortitude to use any time off to her advantage.
6. Eveliina Salonen
Last Month: 1st place – Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Kuopio, 2nd place – Finnish Nationals (XA)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 1st place – Waco Annual Charity Open, Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Turku, Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Tampere, Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Kuopio
With the exception of her fourth place finish at The Memorial Championship in late February, Eveliina Salonen has finished in first or second place in every tournament she played this year. She is particularly impressive throwing into the green from the tee or fairway and boasts a quality two way game, with a powerful backhand and forehand. She has a tendency to leak her putts left and leave a few strokes on the course when she misses, but her strong mental game allows her to quickly put errors on the green in the rear view mirror.
7. Henna Blomroos
Last Month: 4th place – Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Kuopio, 1st place – Finnish Nationals (XA)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 1st place – Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Helsinki
When I watch Henna Blomroos play, she strikes me as a player still coming into her own. Note, I’m saying this about the fifth highest rated player in the world, which makes it a scary proposition for her competitors. Her distance and precision from the tee can be jaw dropping, but she is less polished on the green. Her style of putting affords her a lot of range, but when the putter runs cold, like it did in the final round of the PDPT – Kuopio, her performance suffers.
8. Heather Young
Last Month: 11th place – Idlewild Open, 3rd place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 3rd place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
Heather Young is no joke on the putting green. She leads the division in C1X putting (80%) and C2 putting (25%). In the final round of the Ledgestone Insurance Open she went 8/8 from the third ring (23-33 feet) and showed real moxie draining a handful of testy bids. As the Earhart brothers say, “they’re only death putts if you miss.” Notably, she also leads the FPO field in Scramble percentage in 2020 (55%), which means she’s getting up and down for par when she needs to.
9. Hailey King
Last Month: 1st place – Tower Ridge Open (B), 4th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 4th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
Hailey King is flying a bit under the radar right now. She’s only played two of the five Elite Series DGPT events since the restart, but quietly notched top 5 finishes at both. Between those tour stops she took second at the Silver Cup, a DGPT Silver Series event, won a Wisconsin B-tier, and competed in the Open division once. If she can dial in her driving game (58% Fairways) she’ll contend for the podium.
10. Kristin Tattar
Last Month: 2nd place – Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Kuopio
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 2nd place – Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Turku, Prodigy Disc Pro Tour – Kuopio
We all know that ratings are depressed in Estonia, where Tattar has played three of her five tournaments this year. We also know that high ratings depend on propagators. At those three tournaments she only faced one competitor whose rating was greater than 900 (eyes on you Keiti Tätte), and the field average was 848. Tattar is the second highest rated player in the world despite these odds. Her two defeats in Finland this year were one-stroke losses at the hands of Eveliina Salonen. Please let us finally get a handle on the pandemic so that Tattar, Salonen, and Blomroos can travel stateside again and the US pros can swing the month in Europe in 2021.
Top 25 continues below.
11. Valerie Mandujano
Last Month: 6th place – Idlewild Open, 5th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 1st place – Feather Frenzdemic (C)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 5th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
Over the past few years we’ve watched Valerie Mandujano steadily and quietly raise her profile. Case study: two years ago in August she was rated 928, last year in August she was rated 940, and this year she’s at her career high of 954. She mostly stays close to home in Texas, where she wins dang near everything, but she performs well when she hits the big tour stops, and recently notched her best finishes at DGPT events to date.
12. Lisa Fajkus
Last Month: 1st place – Mid America Open (A), 16th place – Idlewild Open, 7th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 3rd place – Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 7th place – Ledgestone
Lisa Fajkus started the month of August with a W at the Mid America Open, her second DGPT Silver Series win in 2020, but success between tour stops hasn’t quite translated at the Elite Events. Her 7th place finish at the Ledgestone Insurance Open was her first top 10 at a full-fledged DGPT tournament this year. Despite her struggles to lock down top 10s against the full field, she remains one of the best in the business when it comes to accuracy, hitting 64% of her fairways (5th), scrambling at a 50% rate (3rd), and connecting on 78% of her C1X putts (3rd) and 19% of her C2 putts (4th).
13. Vanessa Van Dyken
Last Month: 10th place – Idlewild Open, 7th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 7th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
I was surprised to see that VVD didn’t play a tournament in 2020 until June 27 when she won a 1-day B-tier in northern Michigan. After the delayed start, she’s trending upward, finishing 13th at the Great Lakes Open, 10th at Idlewild, and 7th at the LIO.
14. Jessica Weese
Last Month: 6th place – Idlewild Open, 20th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 3rd place – Great Lakes Open
Despite what the LIO finish might imply, Jessica Weese is starting to hit her stride on tour in 2020. While her 860-rated first round in Peoria isn’t quite an anomaly—she’s turned in 3 sub-900 rounds since the restart—it felt out of character considering her recent run of play. Had she played to average in Peoria, she would have bagged another DGPT top 10. Her strong two-way game ranks her in the top 5 off the tee.
15. Holly Finley
Last Month: 2nd place – Lake Superior Open (A), 6th place – Idlewild Open, 19th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 5th place – Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open (A)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 6th place – Idlewild Open, The Preserve Championship
Holly Finley hucked her best round of the year at the Idlewild Open. She was the only woman under par after the first round and led the field by five. Finley is a real force to be reckoned with when she plays clean golf. Success off the tee (71% fairway hits) led to success on the green (86% C1X, 33% C2).
16. Callie McMorran
Last Month: 11th place – Idlewild Open, 11th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 6th place – The Memorial Championship
What a weird, lopsided, pandemic year. Callie McMorran played seven events between January and March, but only three since June. She bounced back from a down performance at the Tennessee State Championships in June to snag a pair of elevens on tour. She’s generally a strong putter from inside the circle, converting 75% of her C1X putts, and has improved in every driving category this year.
17. Alexis Mandujano
Last Month: 9th place – Idlewild Open, 13th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 3rd place – Feather Frenzdemic
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 9th place – Idlewild Open
The 2018 Amateur World Champion is one to watch. She improved her player rating by sixteen points at the beginning of August, eclipsing the 920 mark for the fourth time in her young career. Her 2-over-par 70 on the final day of Idlewild was the second best score of the day and tied for fifth best at the event.
18. Emily Beach
Last Month: 9th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 9th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
Emily Beach is one of the more enigmatic members of the top 25. She doesn’t play many tour stops but usually shows up to play when she does. With one of the deepest fields and biggest purses of the year, a top 10 finish at the LIO is a big deal.
19. Christine Jennings
Last Month: 2nd place – Lexington Open (B), 13th place – Idlewild Open, 1st place – Ledgestone Flex (C), 13th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 6th place – Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open, 2nd place – Three Rivers Open (B)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 13th place – Idlewild Open, Ledgestone Insurance Open
Since June 4, Christine Jennings has played a tournament every weekend but one. She ranks in the top 20 earners based on tournament winnings in 2020 as a result of the weekend warrior mentality. Like Callie McMorran, she plays mostly regional events but can jump on tour and compete for the top 10. Putting is key to her success, and in 2020 her 75% C1X conversion rate is 8th best in the field.
20. Jennifer Allen
Last Month: 13th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 1st place – The Shootout at Wilderness Ranch (C)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 2nd place – The Memorial Championship
Jen Allen hasn’t played enough rounds to qualify for the comparative season stats in UDisc, but she would rank first in C1 and C2 in regulation if she did. Her challenge is to capitalize on birdie opportunities. Though her driving percentages were somewhat down in Peoria, the glaring statistical outlier was her C2 putting, where she went 0/21 on the weekend.
21. Elaine King
Last Month: 1st place – The ECO Tour Fayetteville (C), 22nd place – Idlewild Open, 13th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 2nd place – Where World’s Woulda Been (B)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 13th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
What a treat it must be to play with Hall of Famer Elaine King. It’s a real joy to watch her play in the limited exposure she gets on FPO coverage. The longer courses featured on tour don’t really cater to her game, but she makes sure to flash the rings on the putting green. King ranked third in the field for C1X putting at the LIO. (Side note, the possessive apostrophe in “World’s” drives me nuts. Just add that “s” without punctuation for plural nouns kiddos.)
22. Ohn Scoggins
Last Month: 13th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 1st place – Sky High Showdown (C)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 13th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
It’s nice to see Ohn Scoggins hitting some of the tour stops this year. It’s worth recalling that she finished fourth at Worlds in 2014 and 2015 before opting off tour in 2016. Her talent is undeniable, as demonstrated by her player rating, which has only fallen below 940 five times since 2015. Scoggins underperformed slightly in Peoria, but rebounded with a seventeen throw victory back in California a week later, where she averaged 976 rated golf.
23. Cynthia Ricciotti
Last Month: 6th place – Mid America Open, 18th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 5th place – Dynamic Discs Open
It’s hard to believe that Cynthia Ricciotti has only been rated north of 900 for the past three updates. Her UDisc stats indicate that she has a very well-rounded game ranking between 8th and 13th in all categories. After a hot start following the restart, which saw her log two, top ten performances at the DDO and the Preserve Championship, she slipped a bit at the GLO and LIO.
24. Courtney “Pixie” Cannon
Last Month: 2nd place – Mid America Open (A), 13th place – Idlewild Open, 20th place – Ledgestone Insurance Open, 13th place – Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open (A)
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 13th place – Idlewild Open
The Kentucky pro has found success between tour stops with second place finishes at three events, including a DGPT Silver Series event. She cashed at the last two tour stops after missing the green at WACO and GLO earlier this season, and the three tournament stretch from MOA to Ledgestone was her most successful three tournament run, earnings-wise, in her career.
Last Month: N/A
2020 Best Elite Series Finish: 3rd place – Dynamic Discs Open
The last time we saw Paige Shue was at the Preserve Championship, where she backed up her third place finish in Emporia with a fifth place finish in Clearwater, MN. Contra that pair of events, which represent her best finishes on tour this year, Shue’s only rated rounds since, all in Alaska, are a weird bunch and fall well below her standards: 872, 911, 861.
Want to see how the voting shook out? See the complete objective voter tallies for FPO.