2019 WACO presented by Dynamic Discs Final Round FPO Recap: ... -3, -4, -5...Catrina Allen Helps Us All Remember How to CountRead Now
The battle at the top of the FPO field in the final round of the 2019 Waco Annual Charity Open (WACO) presented by Dynamic Discs maintained from the very first tee on Thursday to the final putt on Saturday. When it was all said and done though it was the experience of being a tour veteran that won out. Congratulations to Catrina Allen on bringing home her first big win of the year. Finishing at a total 5 under par, she was able to walk it in from halfway through the back nine as Paige Bjerkaas finished the weekend 7 under par after a disappointing final even round. In third is the champion of the last two years, Paige Pierce, and Sarah Hokom’s final round charge brought her back into fourth. Vanessa Van Dyken held on and will go home with fifth. Let’s break it all down.
Catrina started her year with a B-Tier win at the Maricopa Meadows Open. Then she took second place at Wintertime Open and the Las Vegas Challenge. Her fourth-place finish at the Memorial was the worst of her season yet, but from her lowest low, she has jumped to her highest high in 2019 yet. By the end of the tide-turning narrow hole 15, she was staying on her pace of shooting one better each day. -3 on Thursday, -4 on Friday at -5 today with three to go. The last two days Paige Bjerkaas had been right there with her and had even held the lead over Catrina a number of different times. For the final round though, Catrina started peeling away at the turn and by the time she putted her birdie on 15 she had 3 holes left to play and a 6 throw lead over Bjerkaas. That's when the value of her experience and wisdom came in handy. She knew she could play for par with a bunch of control shots instead of flexing out some risky birdie looks on the last four par fours that close the course out. She took safe layups when she could have run risky putts and took a loftier line on her putts to make sure she cleaned up a par at worse. Again, a huge congratulations to Catrina for picking up her first Pro Tour win of the year. Here’s to hoping there are many more.
For the first half of the round, Paige Bjerkaas was not willing to let Catrina make an easy win of the day. As the lead card stepped on to the tee of the first par 5, hole 9, the two were still tied. But Catrina had birdied this hole twice already this weekend and sure enough, played the hole perfect again. Bjerkaas sadly found the rough again, picking up a bogey and ceding two throws right as the lead card made the turn. From there forward, things only slid further and further away and by the final stretch of holes, the onus was on Paige to catch Catrina. While Catrina was hitting birdies and pars though, Paige was hitting pars and bogeys and just couldn’t catch a break. Both her putts and drives were coming up just a bit low and with Catrina not slowing down it just wasn’t going to cut it. Bjerkaas’s even round today secured her sole possession of second place, one spot ahead of the contemporary legend and Dynamic Discs teammate Paige Pierce.
Paige Pierce started to really put things together in the wooded center of the course. She might have started the day with 9 pars, but when she finally scored she scored big. It started with an eagle on hole 10 with a 60 ft putt, and she followed it up with two smooth and easy birdies on 12 and 13. After nine holes even to par, Paige was suddenly at -4, the hot score from yesterday, with six holes to play. But all of those holes have been averaging 0.5 over par or more for the field. On holes 13 and 14 she drew pars, but it was hole 15 that ended her charge with a double-OB bogey. She finished with a 3 under par round but by the tee of hole 16, she was 12 behind the lead with three to go. WACO does deliver quite a few big swings in the scores, but some gaps are impossible to close. After a rough go of things on the first day, Pierce had worked her way back to the lead card for the final round and did everything she could to chase down the leaders. She finished the event in third.
Just behind the podium finishers but on different cards there was a battle going on between Vanessa Van Dyken and Sarah Hokom for fourth. Hokom, who had started the weekend with a great first round, struggled to maintain on the lead card in round two. She knew she would need a hot round to chase down the lead card after how bad Friday had gone for her, but for a few bogeys in the back nine, Hokom made sure to finish her round on the chase card putting pressure on anyone at the tail end of the lead card. That person has been the same all weekend – Vanessa Van Dyken earned her spot on the lead card after day one and never let go of it till the very end. She just carded too many bogeys in the last handful of holes to hold on to fourth, with those honors going to the charging Hokom and her 2 under final round. Congrats to both of them are their great play this weekend.
Alright, that wraps up our coverage of this year’s 2019 Waco Annual Charity Open presented by Dynamic Discs on the women’s side. Congrats to Catrina Allen, I’m loving the start of this season and can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. We’ll be back in a few weeks for the Jonesboro Open!
This article written by Staff Editor and Writer Zach Podhorzer. All photography credit to Alyssa Van Lanen.
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