The Wind Cries...Birdie
Two words can sum up a majority of the rounds today at Fountain Hills Park; no mercy. As the first divisions took to the tee pads this morning at The Memorial Championship presented by Discraft the temperature was ideal, the wind was calm, and it seemed like just another perfect Arizona winter day. As the hours passed, the changes that were coming became visible from miles away. On the horizon, large clouds started to form over Four Peaks. Generally in this city, quickly forming clouds above the mountains usually means serious business.
The wind went from calm to breezy, and then from breezy to windy with occasional powerful gusts. If it ended there it might have been fine, but unfortunately it didn't. For at least two hours the wind simply never died down. It blasted the players and their discs at speeds of 25mph or more making anything outside of a 5 foot putt a serious challenge.
Nate Doss (#11794), Drew Gibson (#48346), Will Schusterick (#29064), and Ken Climo (#4297) all had the hot rounds today finishing with a 49, seven under par. Jared Roan (#49210) now sits on top of the MPO division after shooting a 50 in the wind, just a single stroke ahead of Doss and Gibson. Jared, Nate, and Drew will be joined by Cale Leiviska (#24341) tomorrow on the lead card back at Vista Del Camino on the XL layout. The Open field is extremely tight and the lead will likely change several times before the end of the round.
Paige Pierce (#29190) dominated the Women's Open division and is now sitting 8 throws ahead of Catrina Allen (#44184). Paige has always done well at Fountain Hills Park and despite the brutal winds she finished the round with a 51, unofficially rated at 1042. To put that in perspective, there were only 5 Open division competitors that shot a better round than she did today, on the same layout. Her ability and talent is beyond impressive and it's the second day in a row at this event where a female player has outplayed a huge majority of the Open division competitors. Catrina did her best to fight the wind but she was also recovering from food poisoning and simply couldn’t put a good round together. Paige and Catrina will be joined by Val Jenkins (#17495) and Liz Dorries (#31162) once again tomorrow for round 3.
The Men's Masters division is just as close of a battle as the Open division heading into Friday's round. Phil Arthur (#7289) took over the lead today after shooting a 50, just a single stroke better than 13x world champion Ken Climo. Phil and Ken will be joined by Patrick Brown (#25713) and Jason Tyra (#9010) tomorrow on the lead card, both of which are tied only 2 throws off the lead.
Meanwhile in the Advanced Men's division, 13 year old disc golf prodigy Anthony Barela (#44382) continues to lead the pack of 129 advanced players. He is now in the lead by three throws going into the final day for all amateur divisions at Fountain Hills Park. Barela and 5 others shot a 998 rated 58 at Vista del Camino today, but it was Mike Jewel (#53915) who had the hot round with a 5 under par 55 that was unofficially rated 1024.
Tomorrow is the last chance for players in the professional divisions to make the cut for the final round on Saturday. The bottom half of the competitors will be finished with the tournament after their rounds on the Vista XL layout tomorrow. You can expect to see more risks taken than usual as the players battle for a chance at not only the title, but the chance to simply take home some cash. Tune in to PDGAlive.com for live coverage and scoring of the Open Men and Women's lead cards as usual.
The Disc Golf Guy Memorial Rd 2 Open Lead Card Coverage: Holes 1-9
The Disc Golf Guy Memorial Rd 2 Open Lead Card Coverage: Holes 10-18
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