Fall is right around the corner and the tour is swinging to the Northeast, that means it’s about time for a Pro Tour stop at the legendary Maple Hill for the Inaugural MVP Open. Don’t get confused though, this is the first year under that name, but some iteration of the historic event has been held in Leicester, MA for 14 years running. This year there are 30 registered players in the FPO and 15 of them are rated 900 or above. As we count down the hours to the 15th Open at Maple Hill, let’s take a look back to get a good sense of who to watch because 2018 has all the promise of a year to remember.
It’s hard to talk about an Open at Maple Hill and not start on Paige Pierce. She has been playing this event since before she was 21. In her first three performances, she clenched three top 10 finishes before going starting a win-streak that has yet to end with four total victories. It’s hard to pick a better favorite than Pierce when she’s returning to a track she’s won on before, but Paige has stumbled lately. She won the first nine events of her year, but in the last seven events, she has only won twice, even falling below the top three at Ledgestone. Comparing her performance at Ledgestone, a pair of courses that offers a bit more scoring opportunities than Maple Hill, to her performance at the 2017 Vibram Open.
Paige will certainly have to improve on her Ledgestone performance if she wants to win in Leicester again this year. Her low fairway hits alone will keep her from the vital scoring opportunities that Maple Hill offers from time to time. That coupled with the rapidly increasing field of capable players chomping at the heels of today’s contemporary legends means this year’s winner will likely have to play better than averaging par all weekend to take home the win. It is her favorite course, so this would be the spot for Paige to get it all back together to ride the momentum of a win into the finals.
Speaking of contemporary legends, sort the registration list by rating and right behind Pierce is a litany of household names at this point. Sarah Hokom’s season continues to go well, as her rating climbed to 961 with the last update. Hokom is looking to pick up her second win at Maple Hill after 6 years since her last win in 2011. Catrina Allen also snuck in a victory at Maple Hill in 2012 before Pierce started her tour of domination in 2014. Jessica Weese made her mark at Ledgestone two weeks ago and will likely be in the hunt here. Lisa Fajkus, Madison Walker, are registered, the question remains, will they strike this year at the MVP Open?
Maple Hill is a truly incredible track to play disc golf on. If you’ve never been and you can make it this year, you won’t regret it. The weather is looking absolutely prime for the whole weekend. The Pros are all out practicing, visualizing their game plan to take down the 2018 MVP Open. If you can’t catch the action in-person making sure to follow our Watch page for information on how to see it all unfold digitally.
This article written by DGPT Editor & Writer Zach Podhorzer.
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