The Texas Swing is off and rolling
March 9, 2023 by Justin Westfall in Preview with comments
For a third consecutive year, the Waco Annual Charity Open will jumpstart what has become known as the Texas Swing. Since the 2021 season, two Elite Series and one Silver Series event have taken place in the Lone Star state on consecutive weekends during the month of March. With some players opting to skip the Las Vegas Challenge, a handful of pros will make their season debut in Waco this weekend. Injury concerns still linger for a couple of key players though, potentially delaying their season even further.
Four Things We’ll Be Watching
- Kristin Tattar returns to the tour this weekend, after a season in which she won four Elite Series events, a World Championship, the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship, the DGPT Player of the Year award — all while never missing a podium. The big storyline is clear: will she be able to maintain a similar level of play for another season? The more immediate talking point, however, will be her elbow, which was surgically repaired back in mid-November. Tattar could very well be the same player we saw last season, or she might need to shake off a little rust after a lengthy recovery. The scariest possibility for the rest of the FPO field would be even more dominant play from the Estonian, if the surgery worked as intended and she is now playing pain-free.
- 2022 WACO champion Valerie Mandujano has been sidelined since mid January when she suffered a grade 3 ankle sprain while training for the 2023 season. Mandujano hoped to be ready to defend her title in Waco, but she un-registered today and said on Instagram, “As much as this tournament means to me and as badly as I want to play, unfortunately I am not able to. Mentally I am ready to get back on the course but physically my ankle still needs time to heal.” Simon Lizotte is also out this weekend after dealing with some arm pain during LVC. Ricky Wysocki had to pull out of the DGPT All-Star event and Las Vegas Challenge when his wrist flared up suddenly. Ricky posted on Instagram earlier this week that he’s just starting to see some improvement and hopes he can make his debut in WACO — currently, he’s still registered. Meanwhile, Paige Pierce is set to make her season debut and try to get back to her winning ways at Waco.
- Fresh off a big win at the Memorial Championship, Gannon Buhr made his first Elite Series lead card appearance at the 2021 WACO as a 15-year-old. Last year, he finished 25th at this event, his worst finish of the entire season. With a lawsuit from his disc sponsor Prodigy still looming, we’ll see if Gannon can continue to keep his focus on the course and bring home his first career Elite Series win.
- If it’s possible to have a Rookie of the Year favorite after just one event, it’s 902-rated Caroline Henderson, who finished 9th at the Las Vegas Challenge. Caroline finished 4th in strokes gained tee to green and averaged a 959 event rating in Vegas. Her putting, however, was a bit of a hindrance, coming in 9th worst in strokes gained on the greens. Henderson displayed excellent distance and accuracy with her sidearm, which could be very valuable in Waco. We’ll be curious to see if her putting can improve during the Texas swing, and how her forehand flies through the woods of the bEast. You can watch for yourself, as she is on the feature card in round 1 alongside Paige Pierce, Tattar, and Lykke Lorentzen.
Located on the banks of the Brazos River, Brazos East — or the bEast as it’s better known — offers a challenging mix of open and wooded holes. While the bEast is one of the shortest courses on the Disc Golf Pro Tour, it does not lack for difficulty. Scrambling through the woods and controlling the disc on the more open and often windy holes are essential to scoring low.
For a second consecutive year, there have been no major changes to the course; all distances and pars remain the same as the 2021 and 2022 events.
MPO: 7,957 foot Par 63
FPO: 7,677 foot Par 67
With the exception of some early rain on Friday, Waco is looking to be unseasonably warm this weekend. High winds are very common on the bEast, so watch for those to potentially pick up later in the rounds.
Friday: Cloudy skies early with highs in the upper 60s. Winds 10-15mph.
Saturday: Partly Cloudy with highs near 80. Winds 15-25mph.
Sunday: Partly cloudy with highs in the lower 70s. Winds 10-20mph.
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