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PEORIA, Illinois — The 2021 Ledgestone Insurance Open is bigger and better.
Historic big, in fact.
“We have 2,000 participants registered this year, the most ever here for this tournament, and a record as the largest field in the history of the disc golf sport,” said Ledgestone founder and longtime director Nate Heinold. “It’s just massive on a scale hard to imagine. We’re so excited to see the sport thrive like this.”
The Disc Golf Pro Tour’s Ledgestone is bigger than ever in other ways, too. The prize money for the Men’s and Women’s Pro divisions is $130,000 — the biggest purse in the history of the sport.
And the tournament, which has always worked as a fundraiser for local charities, expects to generate a record donation this year.
“We’re looking at raising $150,000 for charities,” Heinold said. “That will be the largest we’ve ever been able to donate.”
Who’s playing in the Ledgestone Insurance Open?
The Pro Men’s and Pro Women’s field is stacked with elite world-ranked players. It includes Ledgestone veteran Paul McBeth, who has $555,000 in career winnings and just finished runnerup in the World Championships at Utah in late June.
James Conrad, who emerged from that tournament as World Champion, is in the Ledgestone field, too.
So is elite world-ranked player Ricky Wysocki ($462,000 in career winnings). And on the women’s side, Catrina Allen and Paige Pierce line up just days after Allen beat Pierce on the final hole for the World Championship.
Wysocki and Allen won the 2020 Ledgestone.
A look back from the basket down a fairway cut into the woods on the Northwood Park Black course in Morton, where pros in the 2021 Ledgestone Insurance Open will be tested.
Where is the Ledgestone Insurance Open played?
The 2021 edition of the event takes part on 12 courses around the Peoria area, but the pros will play on Lake Eureka and Northwood Park in Morton. The Ledgestone has grown to 74 staff members, countless volunteers and 12 courses.
Play will happen at Bradley Park (Peoria), Camp Kearney (Canton), Kennel Lake (Morton), Lake Eureka (Eureka), McNaughton Park (Pekin), Megiddo at Westwood Park (Morton), Northwood Park (Morton), Sunset Hills Disc Golf Course (Pekin), Washington Park (Washington), Wildlife Prairie Park (Hanna City), Illinois Central College (East Peoria).
Look back at 2020: How the Peoria area’s biggest disc golf tournament got bigger, better amid COVID-19
New this year is the Northwood Park Black course in Morton. It’s a 10,500-foot course cut into the woods at Morton and designed with U.S. Open style angles and hazards.
“It is, officially, the hardest disc golf course in the world,” Heinold said. “It will challenge the world’s best players.”
Can fans attend the Ledgestone Insurance Open?
The 2020 Ledgestone operated under pandemic conditions, with roped off areas to achieve distancing, masks required and reduced spectators capacity.
But 2021 has no capacity limits or mask requirements for spectators.
“It’s back to a more normal feeling,” Heinold said.
There are various attendance options.
VIP Badge: $95 for the week includes parking, event admission, VIP tent access (food on hand), and a spectator pack that includes GRIPeq G Series bag, a limited edition disc, tournament T-shirt, tournament badge.
Weekly parking pass: $35 allows one person parks free and gets event admission, plus a Ledgestone disc and T-shirt.
Daily parking pass: $10 includes admission on days pro open men or women play at Eureka or Sunset Hills. Not available at Northwood Park
Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers Bradley men’s basketball, the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.