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Recovering McCray Shoots Hot Round to Move Into Masters Worlds Lead

JohnE McCray doing what he does best: nailing putts. Photo: Mike Downes, PDGA

“I haven’t thrown up today, so that’s good," JohnE McCray said while turning in his scorecard after playing on the Pro Masters 40+ chase card at the 2019 PDGA Pro Masters Disc Golf World Championships. "I still don’t feel great."

After nearly dropping out before the opening round, McCray battled a stomach bug on day one to shoot his way into a four-way tie for sixth place in extreme weather conditions on Smugglers' Notch's Brewster Ridge course. Despite not feeling 100% on day two, his bogey-free 7-under par 56 on Fox Run Meadows was not only the hot round, but it was also enough to move him up to the top of the leaderboard.

Wednesday’s round two saw nearly perfect conditions for all 11 of the divisions competing here in Vermont, a welcome change to the madness of the opening day, and the Pro Masters 40+ division wasn’t the only one that saw new names jump into the lead position. After starting the round tied with 2018’s runner-up Courtney McCoy, Switzerland's Natalie Holloköi is now tied for the FPO40 lead with a new competitor: seven-time world champion Elaine King.

Holloköi quickly added to her lead at the start of the round, carding back-to-back birdies on holes 4 and 5 of Brewster Ridge, putting her three or more ahead of the rest of the field. However, the back nine slowly chipped away at her advantage. By the time they reached the tee of hole 14, King was leading by two. It remained that way until the last hole of the round, where Holloköi parked the 280-foot par 3 for birdie after King’s drive left her little choice but to work her way up to the green to tap in for bogey.

The Pro Masters 50+ division saw some movement as well, as 2018 runner-up Ron Convers now leads the field after shooting the hot round of 6-under par 57 from the blue tees on Fox Run Meadows. Round one’s leader, Kevin Babbit, dropped down a slot and is now tied with defending champion Patrick Brown, whose 4-under par 59 was good enough to move him from the chase card up to second place.

“Let’s go! I’m still in this,” Brown said when he saw the results from the round. “Back on the lead card!” As the highest-rated player in the division at 1009 and with so much golf to go, Brown’s comment seems a bit comical, but that’s the mentality at the world championships: If you’re not on the lead card, you feel like the world title is out of reach.

The players will switch courses once again for their third round on Thursday, with the A-Pool (MP40, MP50) back on Brewster Ridge and the rest of the divisions back on Fox Meadows. It will be interesting to see how the scores compare from day one, as the weather conditions are going to be absurdly different.

Follow the scores on and stay tuned for video coverage from Central Coast Disc Golf and Smugglers’ Notch on YouTube.  

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