A crisp, cool breeze started to build above the dew as the sun rose this morning at Maple Hill, the site of the 2013 Vibram Open. Another gorgeous day awaited the players as they prepared for the test in front of them. Shoot well, and position yourself to “make the cut and get paid”, a mantra heard over and over here at one of the most demanding and laborious courses on the National Tour Elite Series presented by the host, Vibram. Typically, after two rounds of highly competitive disc golf on the tour, our leader would be sitting somewhere close to 20 under par, but not here. Shooting par at the Maple Hill course is no small feat, and our leaders are not nearly as low as they are used to. Some players successfully navigated their way through the wind and trees today, while others fell behind and are looking to fight towards the finish line.
The day began in the Open division with the unfamiliar (and heavily bearded) face of Devin Frederick atop the leaderboard after a blistering hot first round of 53. With two major champions in Paul McBeth and Will Schusterick nipping at his heels, he needed to continue his stellar play just to keep a spot on the lead card after round two had completed. Devin stepped up to the challenge and backed up his hot start with a round of 55, or four strokes under par, in round two. McBeth and Schusterick were pressing him the whole time, and continued to hit putts and bomb drives to apply the pressure. At the end of the day, they also found themselves with a total of 108, or -10. From the second card came a charging Cameron Colglazier. Cam actually had a few missed putts, but his game off the tee was solid and his approach shots to the difficult par 4’s were especially impressive. He finished the day with the hot round, matching Frederick’s round one total of 53, and ended tied with Devin, Paul and Will. Four players knotted above the rest at -10. Not too far behind them are five players at -7, including Nate Doss, Josh Childs and Paul Ulibarri. In fact, there are 13 players within six strokes of the lead. Niko Locastro played his way back into the hunt after a scorching 54, and Ricky Wysocki matched that total, putting him just 4 throws back of our leaders. This really couldn’t be scripted any better, especially considering we have a National Tour Point Series Championship at stake.
In the women’s division, the 2012 World Champion Sarah Hokom teed off with a two stroke lead, but quickly fell back after carding several early bogeys. About eight holes in, however, she seemed to find her groove and began to make some crucial shots in critical situations. From the second card came a vivacious Valarie Jenkins and a persistent Paige Pierce. They started the day several throws behind Hokom, but managed to fight their way into a tie for the lead. Three World Champions (either current or former) tied at the top of the pack. The Cinderella of the ball is Kelsey Wilmerding from Montana, who fills out the lead card just one throw behind the tenacious trio. Des Reading had all but clinched a spot on the lead card until she ran into the difficult final three holes of the course, where, while in the lead, she made two bogeys and a double, dropping her all the way down to a tie for sixth. Second in the NT points race is Catrina Allen, who struggled today, falling behind Paige by four strokes. Catrina needs to win to ensure her second straight National Tour Championship, so no doubt she will be putting it all on the line heading into the weekend. Another tight race means we will see another clash of champions, battling it out for a National Tour win and potentially an NT crown.
Live coverage began today as discgolfplanet.tv will be broadcasting live all weekend, bringing you interviews with the players, tournament staff and key contributors to this fantastic event, as well as shot by shot coverage of the entire tournament. Also, be sure to check out PDGA.com to see the latest highlights and live scores, and flickr.com to see photos of the competitors as they push to become the next champions of the Vibram Open and the National Tour Elite Series. See for yourself the beauty of the Maple Hill course and the best disc golf on the planet.