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Hokom Leads Tight Race At The Top After Nick Hyde’s First Day

Story originally published by Ultiworld Disc Golf. Cover photo by Rebecca Heiam, Disc Golf Pro Tour.

For the first time in the 2017 Disc Golf Pro Tour season, a round has ended without Paige Pierce as the leader. Instead, it’s Sarah Hokom — who has been Pierce’s main competition on the tour so far — out in front after day one at the Nick Hyde Memorial.

Hokom’s 3-under par 61 round has her one stroke clear of Pierce’s 2-under par 62, while Jennifer Allen and Catrina Allen are tied for third after both carding 1-over par 65 rounds. Both Hokom and Pierce’s rounds were above their current ratings, with Hokom clocking in at 980 and Pierce at 972.

After starting out two over par through the first four holes, Hokom went five down through the next six before finishing out the round with one birdie and bogey through the final eight holes. The run of birdies through the middle of the course came on it’s more wooded section; on each of those five holes, she got inside the 10-meter circle in regulation and converted.

The close-range scoring made the difference for Hokom, as she missed just one putt inside 10 meters all round. She also ranked second in fairway hits, first in number of parked holes with two, and first in reaching circle 1 and circle 2 in regulation. Even though she was able to reach circle 2 with regularity, she was not able to stick any of her five putts from outside 10 meters.

Pierce had quite a different round, even as she carded just one less birdie than Hokom. Pierce led the field off the tee, hitting 80 percent of the fairways, but struggled to either make the green in regulation and scramble for par or better. While Hokom excelled on the shorter, more wooded holes (holes 5 through 8), Pierce struggled here, only landing her drive inside the circle on just one of the four. She made up for the 1-over par performance on the front nine by going 3-under par on the more open back nine, including a birdie on the 888-foot par 5 hole 17. She was the only player in the field to card a 4 on that hole.

Despite posting relatively solid rounds, each player of the third place Allen duo struggled with specific aspects of their game. Much like Pierce, Jennifer Allen had difficultly making the green in regulation, ranking seventh and 13th in reaching circle one and circle two. Catrina Allen, meanwhile, struggled with her putting early on in the round. She made only five of her first 11 putts, with five of those six misses coming from inside 10 meters. She got things back on track on the green after hole five, hitting 13 of her final 16 putts from inside the circle to end the round.

Unfortunately, those missed putts early on proved to be a potentially pivotal series of squandered opportunities. Catrina Allen was the only player in the field to reach the green in regulation on all five holes to open the round. Pierce was the only other competitor to reach the green in regulation three times through the first five holes, while the rest of top 10 only managed to do so two or fewer times.

Further down the leaderboard, Hannah Leatherman and Lisa Fajkus spent time in the lead during round one, with both throwing under par front nines before struggling on the back half. Leatherman sits tied for fifth at 2-over par 66, while Fajkus is in seventh at 3-over par 67. After an uncharacteristic 16-over par 80, Madison Walker withdrew from the event as she nurses a wrist injury she sustained last weekend in Florida.

The lead card of Hokom, Pierce, and Jennifer and Catrina Allen tees off at 11:40 a.m. EST. Watch the live broadcast of the Open Men’s lead card at 5:00 p.m. EDT to catch highlights of the women’s lead card interspersed throughout the broadcast.

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