Paige Vs. Catrina - The Never-Ending Battle
When we arrived at Old Settlers' Park this morning for the second round of the 2014 Texas State Championships, we knew we'd be in for an interesting morning to say the least. Typically when we get to the park in the morning to set up the tents, PA system, and feather banners, the only people around are the tournament staff and the grandmasters warming up on the course. What we saw instead as we winded around the park heading towards tournament central was an absurd amount of pedestrians walking the paths that meander through the fairways of the course. Not to mention 200 hundred or so vehicles parked on and completely covering the fairways of holes 5 and 6.
The park was accidentally double booked which meant the cars in the "parking lot" that was actually holes 5 and 6 had every right to be there through 1:00PM as long as they were in some way involved in the charity walk-a-thon that was also taking place in the park that morning. The tournament staff quickly made the decision to move the starting hole from the standard hole 1 to hole 13a on the other side of the park. All we could do at that point was hope the cars would be gone by the time the first groups made it around to holes 5 and 6. Miraculously, when the time came, they were gone. Every single one of them. The tournament stayed on schedule and went on without any other issues.
The lack of wind today was a huge factor. Out of the 136 competitors that stepped foot on the course today, 111 of them finished with rounds that were at least 1 throw better than their round yesterday on the same course with the same layout. Of those 111, 65 of them improved by 5 or more, and 21 of them improved by double digits ranging from 10 to 26 throws! In a sport where flying discs are the primary pieces of equipment, your ability to play in the wind will make or break you.
Oddly enough, the leader to start the day in the Open division, Ricky Wysocki (#38008), was one of the 19 competitors out of 136 that had a worse round today in better conditions. That stat should be prefaced with the fact that it's hard to improve on a nearly perfect round. Ricky's 12 under par for round 1, in constant 30mph wind, was unofficially rated at 1107, and was so good that only one person shot a lower score today than he did yesterday, Simon Lizotte (#8332). Simon threw the hot round finishing at 14 under par, unofficially rated at 1098.
The action on the Open Women's lead card was full of surprises, starting with the quadruple bogey taken by 2012 PDGA World Champion Sarah Hokom (#34563) on hole 13a (the first hole of the round). That’s a pretty rough way to start a round, and unfortunately for her it didn’t get much better. Paige Pierce (#29190) and Catrina Allen (#44184) battled back and forth for the lead with Jennifer Allen (#15354) constantly in the mix as well, always within striking distance. Going in to the last few holes Paige had built up a significant lead over Catrina, but that would all change on the island hole 11. Paige finished the hole with a 9 after teeing off 3 times in a row giving Catrina the opportunity to tie it up by simply taking a par. They’ll be joined on the lead card tomorrow with Jennifer Allen, still only a few throws behind in third, and Jessica Weese (#50656), who’s sitting 5 throws behind Jennifer in fourth.
After his superb round yesterday, Ricky certainly had a target on his back. Paul McBeth (#27523), Paul Ulibarri (#27171), and Eric McCabe (#11674) all fought to gain strokes but Ricky didn’t give them many openings to do so. He finished the round with a 56 and will start the day tomorrow with 6 throws separating him from current second place contender Paul McBeth. McBeth birdied 17 of the 21 holes today but double bogeys on holes 6 and 16 kept him from catching up to the leader. They’ll be joined on the lead card once again by Paul Ulibarri who’s currently sitting in fourth place, and today’s hot round title holder, Simon Lizotte, who moved up from the chase card to the lead card with his hot round of 53.
With the weather tomorrow looking to be not so ideal, it’s really still anyone’s tournament to win. Tune in once again to PDGALive.com for throw-by-throw coverage and live scores for the Open Masters, Open Women, and Open divisions. More high-resolution pictures from the tournament are available on the PDGA Tour Flickr page. Stay tuned for what should be an exciting finish of the 2014 Texas State Championships!