At the end of the 2017 season and even three events into the Pro Tour season if you were taking bets on who would finish at the top of the Disc Golf Pro Tour standings - everyone would be placing their money on Paige Pierce. However, by San Francisco Sarah Hokom's name had entered the conversation as someone who could challenge Peirce in the 2018 season.
The story of Sarah's season starts at WACO. While Sarah was competitive at Memorial, Pierce began the tournament with a lead that was practically uncatchable. WACO was another story. Sarah started the tournament with a three throw lead over Pierce and a one throw lead on the field. In the second round, Sarah gained another three throws on Peirce. Going into the final round, Sarah had a six throw lead on Paige Pierce who was in second. Pierce stormed back, and with five holes to go, Pierce had the advantage for the first time all tournament. With two holes left, Pierce opened the door for Sarah when she carded a quadruple-bogey eight and Sarah landed the par four. On hole 18 Sarah threw short, OB off the tee and Pierce parked the green to seal a win. While ultimately Sarah would not win this tournament, she showed that she had the prowess to compete against a Paige Pierce that had been dominant during the 2017 season.
After WACO, Sarah would struggle in the cold of Jonesboro before returning to the top of the leaderboard at San Francisco. Going into San Francisco, many thought it would be a two-player race between Sarah and Pierce and down the stretch, the competition never materialized. Just like WACO, Sarah had three throws on Paige after rounds one and two. Sarah had a particularly exciting round two when she landed an ace on hole three. The ace would go on to be on ESPN and Sarah would not look back.
Sarah won the San Francisco Open by nine throws over Jessica Weese who came in second and Paige Pierce who ultimately fell to third place. Sarah would take a break during the Utah Open weekend and then return to the Great Lakes Open rejuvenated and with a new secret weapon - a full time touring caddy.
At Discraft's Great Lakes Open, Sarah did not have to contend with Paige Pierce but did have summer tour phenom Paige Bjerkaas and tournament local Ragna Bygde to compete against (alongside a stacked FPO field). Sarah started the tournament two throws behind Jessica Weese and would work across the next two days to make up ground on the field. In round two Sarah made her move, carding an FPO course record-setting hot round of 55. The record-setting round gave Sarah the lead she needed to cruise to a second (in a row) Pro Tour victory.
After Sarah's victory at DGLO, she held the tour points lead. It was going to be a tight race down the stretch between Paige Pierce and Sarah on who would take the victory. At Idlewild, Pierce and Hokom would go one and two respectively. At Ledgestone, Hokom would maintain her second place streak while Pierce would take a sixth-place finish. Going into MVP, after the two lowest events dropped, Sarah would need twenty Tour Points to pass Pierce. Sarah and Pierce finished round one tied. Much like DGLO, Sarah applied the pressure in round two, where she was able to gain a three throw lead over the field. Ultimately, Sarah would finish in first, and Pierce would finish in 6th giving Sarah a 40 point lead over Pierce in Tour Points standings.
What to watch from Sarah during semifinals?
In all three of Sarah's victories this season she dominated the C1 and C2 in regulation stat. These two stats are the ones we continually return to as the stats that it takes to win on the Disc Golf Pro Tour. If Sarah can dial in her driving at the Pro Tour Championship, she will have an opportunity to pull off what Paige Pierce did in 2017 (winning both the Pro Tour Points and Tournament Championships).
Last season at the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship presented by Prodigy Sarah Hokom had her putting dialed in; however, she struggled to reach C1 and C2 in regulation. In last year's format, there were three semifinal cards. Sarah Hokom won card two beating out Rebecca Cox and Melody Waibel with a -2 opening round. In the finals round, Sarah would struggle down the stretch. After hole 14, Sarah would try to make moves to catch Paige Pierce and ultimately fall to the bottom of the card.
This year, Sarah will be entering the tournament with the tour points lead and a caddy who has been on her bag consistently since the beginning of July. If Sarah can continue the dominance she has displayed at Pro Tour events down the stretch this season, she has the potential to huck the disc straight into her first DGPT championship win.
Make sure you are ready to watch the entire Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship presented by Prodigy Disc October 18-21. The competition will begin at 9 AM ET October 18 & 19 and noon ET October 20 & 21 at the New World Sports Complex.
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