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Pierce, King on Pace for Fourth USWDGC Titles

Pierce lining up a forehand on hole one. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

The opening day of the single largest women’s event in PDGA history, the 2019 US Women’s Disc Golf Championship (USWDGC), went off on Friday without a hitch. 166 women took to the tees with 16 divisions of amateurs and pros spread out across four courses in the greater Fredericksburg, Virginia area.

The Open Women’s division took on the beautiful and deceivingly difficult track at Loriella Park. A mixture of long, open holes and unforgiving wooded holes made for some interesting scores on the par 63 layout. While several competitors started their rounds on pace for double-digit under par scores, the best score of the day ended up being a 5-under par 58, thrown by two different superstars of the sport, Paige Pierce and Elaine King.

Pierce and King have quite a bit in common, statistically. They both are three-time  USWDGC champions. They both are five-time Pro Worlds champions. Pierce has 13 PDGA Major wins and King just picked up her 14th two weeks ago at the 2019 Tim Selinske US Masters Championships. The biggest difference, King, playing the same layout at Loriella Park, matched Pierce’s 5-under par while competing in the Masters Women 40+ division.

Unlike King, Pierce doesn’t have a comfortable lead heading into round two on the private par 66 course of Hawk Hollow on the outskirts of town. Both Sarah Hokom and Kristin Tattar are right behind Pierce after turning in their 4-under par 59s, and a seven-way tie of women are right on their heels one stroke back. Of the seven locked up for fourth place, Michelle Frazer earned the bottom spot on the lead card for round two at Hawk Hollow.

Hawk Hollow might not look like a "birdie or die" type of course, but with such a prestigious title on the line, everything feels like "birdie or die" to the competitors. "There are a lot of long holes, a lot of par fours, but there's also some par threes in there that are technical," said Pierce. "It's a good variety and I think it's gonna showcase who is playing the best right now. I'm just excited for the opportunity to put down a number on that course." 

Tattar, who never even played in the United States until last year, has since become a dominant name in women's disc golf, including her run at the USWDGC title last year where she spent a majority of her time on the lead card and eventually finished in fourth. "I'm really excited," said Tattar,  "I'm looking forward to playing with Sarah [Hokom] again, she's so awesome. And I really like the other course as well so I'm really looking forward to the round."

The Open Women and Masters Women 40+ will return to Loriella Park for the final round on Sunday. Follow the scores and stats all weekend on (Open Women) and (all other divisions). 

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