Allen built and lost leads, but never trailed at the end of a round this weekend.
February 28, 2022 by Anthony Mikos in News with comments
After four long days of disc golf at the Las Vegas Challenge, the debut tournament of the 2022 season, Catrina Allen delivered an emotional photo finish in the final round to take down the 11th Disc Golf Pro Tour win of her career.
Allen and Paige Pierce, the top two players in the US, were battling back and forth all weekend. After leading by six strokes after round two, Allen entered the fourth and final round tied with her biggest rival Pierce. She was able to jump out to an early four stroke lead after going 5-under in the front nine. The cushion wasn’t enough. Paige Pierce put together a textbook back nine performance, shooting 6-under to close the gap and tie up Allen on hole 15. The final three holes were going to determine the tournament with the intensity only rising.
Heading into hole 18, which plays as a 720 foot par five with OB nearly everywhere, the pair was still in lockstep. After two solid shots, Pierce’s upshot was under-thrown and skipped into the pond, costing her a penalty stroke. Allen, already safe on the other side of the water, was able to pitch up and tap in the birdie to secure her her first win of the season. Allen finished the round 9-under par, capping off a 30-under par weekend.
“I’m really nervous that it came down to the last hole,” Allen said. “I was just walking up to that last putt thinking of all the mornings in the gym, all the hours on the putting green, and just that I deserved it. I was really happy for myself.”
Catrina Allen was no stranger to the Innova Course. Her round two performance clocked in at 11-under par, one of the best rounds at the tournament in over 3 years. She knew, though, that this final round had to be played like any other day. “It’s hard coming back to a course that you played so well,” she said. “I was trying to just play the conditions today and play my game today instead of thinking ‘Oh I biridied this yesterday’ or ‘I eagled this the other day.’ Just play the course for what it was today, so that was really good.”
This marks Allen’s first win as a DGA-sponsored player. Archer, not arrows, as they say.
“I got some [DGA] discs on January 3rd or 4th and have just been in the field ever since,” said Allen. “I’ve enjoyed the process and the support from the DGA family and everyone at the warehouse.”
Allen won’t bask in this win, her 37th career Elite Series victory. She is already looking ahead to her tournament next week in Waco. Brazos East, a park-style course with technical lines, is nothing like the wide open desert of Las Vegas.
“I know that there are some things that I can improve on for the next week,” she said. “We’re going to get into the woods a little bit, so really make sure that the timing is good and just the same old grind. Wake up, gym, field work, and putting. Same old, same old.”
Behind Allen and Pierce, Kristin Tattar rounded out the podium, five strokes back from Pierce at 25-under on the weekend after posting her worst round of the weekend, a 957-rated 5-under par held back by five OB strokes. Despite the bumpy finish, the Estonian looks primed to have another highly successful season in the US. She was one of the best Circle 1 putters on the weekend (T-6th at 76%) and finished second at the tournament in both birdie percentage and parked percentage.
Hailey King came back from a poor opening round to finish in fourth place in her first event as an Innova-sponsored pro. She was on the green with a chance to birdie all weekend, but was plagued by out-of-bounds mistakes; she had 16 OB strokes, more than any other player in the top 10.
The final round on the Innova course at Las Vegas played as the easiest round on the weekend by miles. It was the only round of the weekend where the women averaged below par on the course at -3.63. Ella Hansen and Missy Gannon tied Catrina Allen’s hot round at 9-under, and they rode that to sixth and seventh place finishes, respectively.
Entering the final round, Eveliina Salonen was another top European name to watch, but her 3-under par performance was not enough to make the podium. After birdieing or better on four out of five holes mid round, she closed out the round shooting three bogeys in her final four holes. Putting was her kryptonite — she shot just 51% from Circle 1 on the weekend. She finished in 5th.