Final Round Recap
May 24, 2021 by Bennett Wineka in Recap with comments
Paige Pierce made waves at the beginning of United States Women’s Disc Golf Championship week with a criticism of the PDGA, but made the most noise with her dominance on the courses in Northern California.
Averaging 1020-rated golf over three rounds, and getting better each day, Pierce finished out the tournament with an 8-under par final round at Rocklin to win the 2021 USWDGC by 13 strokes at 22-under par total.
“I couldn’t feel better,” said Pierce after tapping out on hole 18. “The putt and the mental game that has been holding me back for a few tournaments now. This really [proved] I am capable of anything. 100% inside the circle, no doubts in my mind, basket looked huge all weekend. I got to keep that going.”
Pierce kept her putting streak alive on Sunday, never letting the putter hit the ground from inside 10 meters. She was 26-for-26 over 54 holes and led the field in strokes gained putting at 10.58, more than three strokes better than second place. Pierce’s Fierce had her ready for a showdown with Hailey King, who came into the round trailing Pierce by two. It didn’t become the back-and-forth battle like we thought it might though.
“It wasn’t anything that I did. It was kind of mistakes that she made early. It took a lot of the weight off my shoulders,” said Pierce. “Maybe you couldn’t tell, but I was panicking. I was super nervous, my heart rate was at all time high. I went birdie, birdie, really separated. It was kind of going to be hard for her to catch me after that.”
King started her round with a two-stroke swing against her as she two-putted for bogey on hole 1 to Pierce’s birdie. Pierce rattled off three more birdies in a row and from there it wasn’t much of a contest.
“After I made the separation early in the round, it totally did feel like cruise control,” said Pierce. “This is a relatively simple track so it was just kind of get close and keep making your putts like you have been.”
Pierce led Open Women in strokes gained from tee-to-green and putting, fairway hits, finding both circles in regulation, parked percentage, and C1X putting.
King held onto her second place position despite a 3-over par final round. She edged third place Ella Hansen by one stroke, which she gained back with a birdie on the final hole as Hansen struggled to finish around the basket. Putting was Hansen’s only issue on Sunday, which otherwise saw her go 5-under par and earn her first career Elite Series podium. Hansen was bogey-free until hole 18. Missy Gannon finished fourth, and Holly Finley and Catrina Allen tied for fifth.