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Handley, Hammes, McBeth Out Front Early

Handley, Hammes, McBeth Out Front Early

2024 DGPT - OTB Open Round 1 Recap

Saturday, May 18, 2024 - 09:15

Major Preview

After a busy news week in the disc golf world including Kristin Tattar reaching the historic 1000-rated milestone, and the announcement that a 2025 Major – the PDGA Champions Cup -- would be held in place of the OTB Open at Swenson Park in Stockton, CA, the 2024 edition of the OTB Open kicked off on Friday, providing an unexpected preview of next year’s Major season.

The FPO division was missing the world no. 1, Tattar, who will rejoin the Tour at the Portland Open, but did feature a number of notable players like Missy Gannon, who is coming off a thrilling win at the Dynamic Discs Open, along with 3-time defending OTB champion Paige Pierce, who has been working her way back from injury and is pursuing her first Elite/Major win since last year’s OTB Open.

Handley Has It

Making the most of what was expected to be the best scoring conditions of the weekend, Holyn Handley shook off two bogeys to lead the field with a 1013-rated 9-under par, powered by a strong putting performance including 10-of-11 from C1X according to PDGA Live Stats, and capped off with a 44-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th.

“There is definitely a right and a wrong mistake to make out here,” Handley said in her post-round interview, speaking to some of the decision making demanded of the Leonard Muise-designed Swenson Park Course.

It’s a style of course that plays well for players with power games from both forehand and backhand wings like Handley, as well as Ella Hansen, who – like Handley – is chasing her first Elite Series win this week in Stockton.

Hansen nearly kept pace with Handley, finishing one-back at 8-under in a second place tie with Kat Mertsch, who stalled out a bit after a blazing start that saw her go 8-under through 12 holes.

Rounding out the lead card heading into round 2 will be Ohn Scoggins, who caught fire with the putter on the back 9, hitting back to back 50-foot putts including a death putt staring into the water on hole 10, and another gutsy birdie make from circle’s edge on hole 17.

Also throwing down notable performances were Missy Gannon, who birdied five of the final seven holes, as well as Paige Pierce, who showed signs of her continued progress coming back from injury as she notched her best round of the season with a 973-rated 4-under.

Gannon and Pierce will be joined on the round 2 chase card by Hanna Huynh and Sofia Donnecke, from Victoria, B.C., who is competing at her first Elite Series event.

Keith Returns to Scene of Triumph

On the MPO side, Emerson Keith returned to the sight of his breakthrough Elite Series win a year ago at this event, trying to turn around a tough start to the season which has seen him grab only one top-30 finish at a Major or Elite series, a 17th place finish at PDGA Champions Cup.

Playing on the day’s MPO feature card alongside Matt Orum, Eagle McMahon and Anthony Barela, Keith got off to a shaky start, three-putting for bogey on hole 1 after a fantastic drive that hit C1.

Bouncing back quickly, Keith knocked down a 60-footer on hole 2 to set off a run of six birdies in the next seven holes to climb the leaderboard. Unfortunately the back 9 spelled more trouble as OB strokes piled up and the defending champ fell back to a 1020-rated 3-under that left him in a tie for 42nd.

McBeast is McBack

For anyone concerned that Paul McBeth’s comeback was trending in the wrong direction after finishing outside the top-20 at the Dynamic Discs Open, rest easy: McBeast is definitely McBack.

The six-time PDGA world champion, who won this event back in 2018 when it was still held in San Francisco, blazed out of the gate on Friday, grabbing birdies on the first six holes and finishing with a 1066-rated (unofficial) 10-under par and a share of the lead alongside Adam Hammes.

It is McBeth’s first hot round at a Major/Elite event since July 2023 at the PCS Sula, according to Statmando.

Joining McBeth and Hammes on the lead card will be Gannon Buhr, who is currently 2nd on the DGPT season points standings, and Colten Montgomery, who, along with Cole Redalen, came in one back of the leaders at 9-under par.

Montgomery, who made history in 2020 as the second lowest-rated player to ever win a DGPT Elite series event at WACO, is looking for a return to form since last finishing in the top-20 at the 2022 Las Vegas Challenge.

Be sure to catch moving day action live on the Disc Golf Network! FPO Broadcast begins at 9am PT / MPO at 2:30pm PT.

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