PEORIA, Illinois – The 2022 Ledgestone Open is underway, supporting more than a dozen disc golf courses in central Illinois and attracting elite players from around the world.
Tournament founder Nate Heinold – Ledgestone’s Tournament Director and now Chairman of the Professional Disc Golf Association Board – has turned the event into a week-long celebration of the sport via on-course competitions, big prizes in cash, public meet and greets, skills clinics, live music, food and more.
It’s both a tournament and a festival, hosting the world sports championships in 2019 and presenting the biggest purse in sports history – $130,000 – in 2021.
The 2022 release will include thousands of players with a wide range of ages and skill levels. But the Men’s Pro Open (148 players) and Women’s Pro Open (53 players) will give Peoria Disc fans a taste of the best players in the game.
Nate Heinold of Ledgestone Insurance is building a new office with attached warehouse to store disc golf equipment for the Ledgestone Insurance Open, an annual disc golf tournament held at several area courses that attracts hundreds of disc golfers from around the country.
The Ledgestone Open 2022
The Pro Open field is stacked as always. Among the players are the top three on the Professional Disc Golf Association’s United States Tour rankings: No. 1 Richard Wysocki ($42,135 in 2022 earnings), No. 2 Paul McBeth No. 2 ($42,951), No. 3 Calvin Heimburg. McBeth has 139 career wins and earnings of $644,000, while Heimburg has 53 career wins with earnings of $226,900 and Wysocki has 122 career wins with earnings of $549,000.
Wysocki and Heimburg finished tied for first place in 2021 at Ledgestone in a championship round interrupted by extreme weather conditions.
McBeth is a five-time world champion, including the 2019 version hosted in central Illinois at Ledgestone.
Kristin Tattar, from Parnu, Estonia, is in the Women’s Pro Open field and is ranked second in the US Tour standings. She is coming back from an elbow injury and a bout with COVID.
She follows No. 1 Paige Pierce, who has 150 career wins and $351,714 in career earnings. The defending champion from Ledgestone topped the field for an 11-stroke victory in 2021.
Catrina Allen is back and a five-time Ledgestone champion.
Bring your passport
Ledgestone 2022 includes scattered players from the Pro Open and lower tiers from Austria, Czechia, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Stanislaus Amann spent 48 hours traveling from Austria to the United States to play in central Illinois.
More: How the Peoria area’s largest disc golf tournament got bigger and better amid COVID-19
Magnus Thorstensen and Fredrik Glendrange are from Oslo, Norway and play the MA2 board.
Bryce Kennedy rode over 8,000 miles from Kerikeri, New Zealand, to Peoria to join the M40 field.
The tournament program
Thursday, Round 1, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Men’s Pro Open Tees at Lake Eureka Disc Golf Course. Women’s Pro Open Tees at Northwood Park Black Course (Morton).
Friday, round two, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Men’s Pro Open starts at Northwood Park Black Course (Morton). Women’s Pro Open t-shirts in Sunset Hills (Beijing).
Saturday, round three, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Men’s Pro Open starts at Northwood Park Black Course (Morton). Women’s Pro Open t-shirts in Sunset Hills (Beijing).
Sunday, final round, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Men’s Pro Open Tees at Lake Eureka Disc Golf Course. Women’s Pro Open Tees at Northwood Park Black Course (Morton).
The divisions below the pros will play throughout the week on different courses.
The game will take place at: Bradley Park (Peoria), Camp Kearney (Canton), Kennel Lake (Morton), Lake Eureka (Eureka), McNaughton Park (Beijing), Megiddo at Westwood Park (Morton), Northwood Park (Morton), Sunset Hills Disc Golf Course (Beijing), Washington Park (Washington), Wildlife Prairie Park (Hanna City), Illinois Central College (East Peoria).
Thursday, 2-4 p.m.: signing of Catrina Allen and release of the record at Five Points in Washington.
Thursday, 6-8 p.m.: Paul McBeth, Paige Pierce and Missy Gannon meet, plus Ben Askren’s signing and record release, all at Lake Eureka.
Thursday, 6:30-8 p.m.: Jonny Quest performs at Lake Eureka. Food, ice cream sundae/root beer floats.
Thursday, 9-11 p.m.: Glo Disc golf at Washington Park.
Spectators have several options for tickets, and the tournament site also has guidelines that address in-game protocols.
VIP Badge: Cost is $100 and includes free parking and admission for one person during the entire event, plus a special badge and spectator pack. The badge will give you special access to the VIP tent at the event (which will include snacks and food).
Weekly parking pass: $55 and includes a free Ledgestone disc and a free shirt. This allows a person to be admitted to the event.
Daily pass: $15 per day, per person.
Children: 10 and under, free admission.
Dave Eminian is the Journal Star’s sports columnist and covers men’s basketball for Bradley, the Rivermen and the Chiefs. He writes the sports column Cleve In The Eve for pjstar.com. He can be reached at 686-3206 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.