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Allen, Weese In Familiar Position After Utah Open's First Round


Catrina Allen is looking to add to her two-tournament winning streak this weekend in Utah. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen / DGPT

The Open Women’s division at the 2017 Utah Open required extra holes to be settled, as Jessica Weese outlasted Catrina Allen in a three-hole playoff. If Friday’s opener for the 2018 iteration of the event is any indication, it’s looking like we’re primed for a repeat.

Allen and Weese tossed matching 2-over par 60s at Mulligan’s Creekside Disc Golf Course to pace the field and take an early lead over Lisa Fajkus and Paige Bjerkaas, who are tied for third place with 5-over par 63s. Colleen Thompson and Karina Nowels are knotted up in fifth place after 7-over par performances in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains.

Allen came into the tournament after consecutive wins at the Battle of Seattle and the Beaver State Fling, but her climb to the top of the leaderboard in Utah was relatively deliberate. She started the round with three straight pars before heading OB on the 453-foot 4th, then missed from inside the 10-meter circle to take a double-bogey 5. She has admitted to having the yips from close range this season – her 80 percent clip for the year is down from her 2017 rate of 83 percent – but she shook off any ill effects of the early two-putt and was perfect for the rest of the round.

Where she couldn’t connect, though, was from beyond the arc. She led the division in hitting circle 2 in regulation on 39 percent of her attempts, but missed all six of her bids from that range.

Still, on a day when birdies were difficult to come by – there were only 14 carded by the entire 14-player field – Allen saved the best for last. Her park job on the 207-foot 18th, which features an island green, put her back on top.

Weese’s route to first, meanwhile, stood in stark contrast. Her three birdies led the pack, but she offset those with a double bogey and four penalty shots. Unlike Allen, Weese’s longer range putts were falling, as she canned three from circle’s edge on the front nine, but she was bogged down by a trio of two-putts that brought her overall circle 1 putting rate to 86 percent.

The tight confines and copious water hazards at Mulligan’s bit the rest of the field hard, too: The top 10 players averaged four out-of-bounds strokes, with Fajkus and Bjerkaas combining for seven. Fajkus only logged one bogey on the back nine to remain in contention, though, while Bjerkaas took advantage of the short closing hole to card her lone birdie.

The lead card tees off at 9:15 a.m. local time Saturday, with real-time scoring and statistics available at UDisc Live.

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