As the midday sun reaches its peak the FPO division has wrapped up its first round of the 2018 Discraft Ledgestone Insurance Open. For the women today, it was a roller coaster of scores above and below par throughout the round. Tied for first, shooting the hot rounds of the day at 2 under par is Jessica Weese and Paige Pierce.
Northwoods proved unable to create large separation in the field though. Catrina Allen and Paige Bjerkaas are tied for third at 1 under par, and Cynthia Ricciotti is in fifth at even. Missy Gannon, Sarah Hokom, and Hannah McBeth round out the top eight in a three-way tie for sixth place at 1 over par. If today’s competition is any indication of what this weekend will bring then hold on tight, because this is about to get good.
Before we jump into individual players round its worth taking a look at how the field scored against the Northwood Park layout. If you are looking at the live scores over at Udisclive.com then make sure you read the fine Print – FPO starts on hole 4. This was a decision made by the tournament staff, based on their knowledge of the course to smooth the flow of play for players and spectators. Holes 1-3 are some of the tightest wooded fairways on the course and have been the site of major back-ups this morning. For the sake of this discussion we'll talk about the holes as they are numbered instead of the order they were played. Besides those three holes, the front nine was where the field scored, while the back nine whittled away their hard-earned under par scores. A number of players experienced huge swings in scoring with some players making it to four down only to finish even or over par at the end. The course requires persistent attention, and the players brought relentless focus to keep the scoreboard this tight.
Perhaps the most notable play in the field is Cynthia Ricciotti, currently riding the momentum from her US Junior Girls 18 and under Championship. She is rated at 872 and is only two throws off Paige Pierce the highest rated FPO player of all time at a full 100 points higher - 972. Talk about playing above your rating, it’s not every day you test the rating system with a round 2.5 standard deviations above your rating. She’s ranked first in the field for Parked Drives and Upshots at 17%, and is ranked third for reaching Circle 1 In Regulation at 33%. She’s making good on her approach to the green by just barely missing the 9 club on Circle 1 Putting with an 89% make rate inside 10m. What were you doing before you turned 18? I doubt it was this.
Eternal favorite to win everything in 2018 Paige Pierce grabbed her share of the top spot from the tee and the fairway. Check out her Round 1 stats below:
It’s a winning combination of well-rounded stats. As is often the case, Paige’s Circle 1 putting is holding her back from trimming a few tallies on the round though. Missing three putts inside the circle is three throws she could have over Jessica Weese. It was on her final hole of the day, but Paige did land a highlight 49 footer on hole 18 for birdie. Clean up the putting and it appears no one will be able to catch her this weekend.
Jessica Weese played phenomenally in the 2017 Discraft Ledgestone Insurance Open, averaging golf well over her rating all four days. So it makes sense that returning to the same courses Weese would rise to the top. Let’s check her stats out now:
Paige Pierce may have tied Weese but Weese is leading the field in Birdies, it’s just a couple bogeys and a double bogey that tarnished her card. She is deadly accurate with the forehand and is the proud owner of a ripper of a backhand drive. A little better on the scramble rate and she'll take sole possession of the lead with shots like this one:
Just a bit further down the card are the names we expect to see towards the top Catrina Allen and Sarah Hokom. Allen’s round looked much like Pierces, she leads the pack in Fairway Hits, Circle 1 and Circle 2 In Regulation but is 16th in putting at a frustrating 82%. Hokom attacked the round a bit differently, playing well of the tee and from the fairway but posting a priceless 100% in Circle 1 Putting. Congrats to Sarah on that accomplishment.
Make sure to tune in this afternoon for recap footage at 3 PM EST and the MPO Feature card teeing off at 4 PM EST. Find our viewing schedule on our website here. Until then get out to that putting green and practice, practice, practice.
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