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Close Races in Every Division After Masters Worlds Opening Day

The opening day of the inaugural Pro Masters Disc Golf World Championships presented by Innova has officially come to an end. Every competitor here in Grand Rapids, regardless of division or rank, is part of a new chapter in the PDGA’s and disc golf’s history books. Thankfully, it’s a long chapter, and we still have four more days of World Championship competition to go.

177 men and women make up the seven divisions competing for world titles this week, which has thus far been blessed by weather that can only be described as sublime. The ideal conditions are certainly an added bonus, but sunshine is just a small piece of what is needed to create a truly great event. The competition itself is the biggest factor, and so far, the competition here at Masters Worlds has been fierce.

All seven of the divisions have close races as we head into Wednesday’s action. The leaders in both the Masters and Masters Women divisions are just two strokes away from being caught. To add to that, both have two players tied for 2nd place below them, meaning the targets on their backs have doubled in size.

Never before used for a PDGA event, Mark LaFleur has opened his private course, Black Falcon, to the players of this tournament and the Masters division took to the tees of the property for their opening round. The narrow fairways are complemented by rough that is extremely dense in any cases, limiting scrambling opportunities and forcing players into some very difficult risk/reward decisions.

When all the cards had finally come in, it was Robert Bainbridge's round of nine under par that puts him at the top of the leaderboard as the Masters prepare for two rounds on Wednesday at Fallasburg. 

While the Masters were doing their best to stay out of the woods at Black Falcon, the Masters Women took on morning and afternoon rounds at Grand Rapids Rotary. Lesli Todd came out ahead in the morning at four under par, with Des Reading and Elaine King chasing her in the afternoon. Both Elaine and Lesli struggled a bit through the middle of the course during Round 2, allowing Des to jump ahead of them by the day's end.  

Being tied for 2nd place seems to be a popular trend, as Kenny Lee faces the same situation in Senior Grandmasters. After shooting back-to-back hot rounds, he’s pulled ahead of the field by three but has Johnny Sias and Randy Beers on his heels on Wednesday morning at the infamous Blue Gill DGC, an immaculately manicured private course owned by fellow Senior Grandmasters competitor, Joe Gill.

Back-to-back hot rounds are so hot right now. Gregg Hosfeld got in on the trend and emerged as the leader in Grandmasters, the second biggest division of the event, just one ahead of Jim Oates after his impressive play at Riverside Park and the story applies to the leader of the Grandmasters Women, Susan Stephens, as she did the same at Rotary to pull ahead by four.

With five more rounds plus semifinals and finals remaining, it’s fair to say that at this point being in the lead matters about as much as being in the middle of the field. There’s just way too much golf left to make any predictions or assertions this early on.

Stay tuned for all the day 2 action tomorrow here in beautiful Grand Rapids at the 2017 PDGA Professional Masters Disc Golf World Championships. The links below will ensure that you’re constantly up to speed throughout the week.

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