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Pierce and Koling Win Second Straight Mixed Doubles Title on First Ever National Disc Golf Day


Photo of Paige Pierce and Jeremy Koling courtesy of Dynamic Discs.

It’s National Disc Golf Day! And what better way to celebrate than the opening day of the 2016 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships?! With the main event right around the corner, the first ever National Disc Golf Day kicked off with an amazing disc golf event happening simultaneously, the 2016 Pro Worlds Mixed Doubles competition at Jones Park (East) in Emporia, Kansas.

The 27 teams took to the tee this morning under far less than favorable conditions, bringing back painful memories for those that happened to be here in Emporia a few months back for the opening days of the 2016 Glass Blown Open. With overcast and eventually constant rainfall, the doubles teams took on the slippery tee pads, fairways, and greens at Jones East with the goal of becoming Pro Worlds Mixed Doubles Champions before the day’s end.

As the social media posts tagged with #NationalDiscGolfDay poured in, so did the birdies from the team consisting of Paige Pierce #29190 and Jeremy Koling #33705. The dynamic duo of Pierce and Koling managed to finish with 14 birdies and just one bogey while playing Modified Best Shot Doubles in the rain, finishing at least four strokes ahead of any other team in the field. Their astonishing score of 13 under par on the par 61 course gave them the cushion they needed heading into a much brighter and sunnier second (and final) round in the afternoon.

 

 

ESPN celebrated National Disc Golf Day by re-posting the video of Philo Brathwaite's albatross that went viral during the 2016 Beaver State Fling.

Not to be overlooked heading into the second round were the husband/wife combo of Nate Doss #11794 and Val Jenkins #17495 who finished Round 1 at nine under par with 10 birdies and one bogey to finish at nine under par for the round (52). The same can be said about teammates Sarah Hokom #34563 and JohnE McCray #9852, who also finished at nine under par but did so with two bogeys meaning they carded eleven birdies of their own.

Because of the way the cards stacked up, the best and most exciting option heading into Round 2 was to make the lead card into a threesome, or a sixsome depending on how you look at it. All three of the aforementioned teams were to be grouped together for the final battle, and what a battle it was.

The sun slowly but surely burned up the overcast as we headed into what would eventually become a beautiful second round. In a very non-Kansas fashion, the wind was calm as well and the conditions were as good as they could have been outside of slippery footing leftover from the morning’s precipitation.

The teams headed out to play a much more difficult format for Round 2; Modified Alternate Shot. In your typical Alternate Shot doubles round, the teammates alternate throws no matter who drives and who putts. If Player A tees off and parks it, Player B taps in for birdie, and Player A gets to tee off on the next hole again. In Modified Alternate Shot, the teammates have to alternate who tees off, which helps to reduce any advantage one team might have if the same person were to tee off on all or most of the holes in a row.

This didn’t seem to affect the three teams on the lead card, as they continuously fought back and forth during most of the round. When one team gained a stroke on the others, the other two would find a way to gain it back. And that pattern kept happening, over and over, meaning while Nate & Val were battling with JohnE & Sarah, neither of them were gaining much ground on the leaders Jeremy & Paige.

The biggest momentum swing came on Hole 10, a 390 foot downhill par 3 that plays to a basket with agreen protected by tall trees on all sides except the opening on the front. Paige Pierce was up, as she was designated as the player to tee off on all the even-numbered holes. She let go of a powerful anhyzer driver, and then…

Paige Pierce aces the 390' downhill Hole 10 at Jones East during the second (and final) round of the 2016 Pro Worlds Mixed Doubles competition.

The back-and-forth pattern between the three teams continued all the way down to the last hole, but by then it was too late. Paige Pierce and Jeremy Koling finished Hole 18 with Paige hitting a nice birdie putt for the win, taking home their second Pro Worlds Mixed Doubles title in a row, this time winning by three over second place finishers Nate & Val.

Tomorrow’s forecast isn’t looking ideal, but all we can do is cross our fingers and hope for the best as we bring you coverage of the 2016 Pro Worlds Field Events. Competitions include Long Drive, Putting, Skill Shot, and Mini Golf and it all takes place at the Emporia Middle School starting at 10am CDT.

Make sure you’ve downloaded the 2016 Pro Worlds app (Android, iOS) for up-to-the-minute information, and be sure to check the 2016 Pro Worlds Scores & Coverage page for links to everything else you’ll need throughout the week.

Thank you to everyone out there that participated in the first ever National Disc Golf Day and a special thank you to those of you that shared what you did on social media! National Disc Golf Day will repeat every year on the first Saturday in August, and we can’t wait to see what next year brings!

2016 Pro Worlds Mixed Doubles Champions finishing with an impressive birdie on the par 4 Hole 18 to end the day.

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