Tattar, Salonen one shot back.
April 15, 2022 by Anthony Mikos in News, Recap with comments
APPLING, Ga. — Just days after the conclusion of The Masters, disc golf takes center stage in the state of Georgia. The PDGA has carved a path for a new spring major in the Champions Cup, setting up a new four major calendar to match its sister sport. The professional field returns to WR Jackson course after taking a three year break. With the deepest FPO field ever assembled, perhaps it should be no surprise that some fresh faces are making their way to the tops of the leaderboards
The day started with a strong feature card consisting of Kona Panis, Paige Pierce, Kristin Tattar, and Catrina Allen. Pierce and Allen were the only two on the card with history of winning at WR Jackson, but Tattar has been their equal over the last few seasons.
Holly Finley and Hailey King, though, were the stars on day one, surging into the lead at 4-under par. King returned to the tour after nearly two months away since starting her season in Las Vegas. King hit more fairways than any player except Eveliina Salonen, a critical measure of success at WR Jackson. She also hit 90% of her Circle 1 putts, helping her to card birdies and, more than most players, avoid bogeys. She had just one bogey on the day on hole 17, finishing out a 985-rated round. Holly Finley, meanwhile, was sensational on the putting green. She missed just two total putts all round, both from Circle 2, and gained nearly an entire stroke on the second best putter of the day, Leah Tsinajinnie. She also led the field in scrambling at 100% (5/5). After a seemingly perfect day for Finley, she looks to carry the momentum into round two. She’s finished in the top five at three majors, with her best result a 2nd place showing at the 2018 US Women’s Championships.
The opening day of the tournament displayed a strong showing with the field averaging +1.67 over par. This tightly wooded course plays extraordinarily long at 9299 feet, making fairways a must get with scrambling proving a centerpoint of success.
The Europeans were a big question mark entering the tournament after not competing since 2019, but they delivered on the biggest stage so far this year. Eveliina Salonen and Kristin Tattar both enter day two on the lead card with scores of 3-under par, one shot back of the leaders. After an uneventful front nine, Salonen caught fire in the back nine with a score of 5-under par. Compared to previous tournaments, her putter was landing at a clip of 70%. If she can keep this same consistency on the greens, she will be a dangerous competitor in the closing days of the tournament. With a pretty even keel round, Tattar was able to create some separation at the very end of her round, going 2-under through the last three. She joins Valerie Mandujano as one of only two competitors eagling hole 18, a 590 foot par 5.
Can Paige Pierce Bounce Back?
As always, Paige Pierce will be one of the players to watch this weekend. Her competitiveness and skill shines bright during the majors; she has won four of the last six. Her ability to hit technical lines allows her to make up strokes quickly on difficult courses while also having the distance to catch birdies with the distance WR Jackson poses.
Pierce, however, did not have the hottest start. A triple bogey on hole one set her out on some rocky footing, though she was able to recover on the back nine with a solid 4-under par. Scrambling is going to be a must and Pierce delivered on 60% of her scramble opportunities. She ended her round at even par, four strokes back from the lead.
“To be honest, it felt a little boring. I wasn’t doing anything truly amazing on the course except the eagle putt on hole 18. On everything else I had good drives, but couldn’t capitalize and get a birdie. I sort of messed up and had to scramble but I think it was just first round nerves.” –Kristin Tattar on her opening round performance
Courtesy of Statmando, this is the first time ever at a Major that Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen have both been outside the top 10 at the end of a round.