The 2023 DGPT – Las Vegas Challenge continued Friday with both the MPO and FPO fields heading to the Innova course. While the temperature in Henderson, NV stayed cold, round 2 saw less intense wind and better scores across the board.
Catrina Allen Charges Ahead
Catrina Allen continued to dominate as she scored the hot round at 10-under par. The defending champ tore through the Innova course with eight birdies, two eagles, and only two bogeys, now leading the field by six strokes. According to StatMando, Allen has never lost an Elite or Major event when leading by 6+ strokes between rounds. Now with a comfortable lead two rounds in, this is Allen’s game to lose.
“I was nervous and there’s two things you can do with nerves, you can let them control you or you can kind of play with them and rise above,” Allen said of her confidence going into the first hole, “I wanted to conquer those today.”
Allen kept her putter hot, securing the birdie with a death putt on hole 6 while other players chose to lay up and take a par.
“I don’t feel like I can be as great as I want to if I lay those putts up and I know I can make them,” Allen said of her choice to run the putt when others laid up. Allen maintained 88% Circle 1X Putting for the day.
While Allen might seem unstoppable, plenty of other players are eager to prove themselves as they start the new season. Henna Blomroos and Missy Gannon both shot seven-under in round two to get themselves to second and third place, respectively. Ella Hansen shot up the leaderboard with a nine-under round, jumping up 21 places to start round three in fourth place.
With two rounds left to go, there’s still time to close the gap on Allen before returning to the Innova course for the final round on Sunday.
The FPO field is heading back to the Infinite course for round three.
Anthony Barela Seeking First Big Win
Anthony Barela stepped up to tee of hole 1 tied for the lead at eight under par. Ten birdies and one eagle later, he walked off hole 18 leading the field at 20 under par. According to StatMando, this pushed Barela into a 3-stroke lead, his first outright lead at an Elite or Major event after 2+ rounds. As a younger player with a big arm, players and fans alike have speculated when he might take down his first big win.
This would be no easy task with the field growing more competitive each year, but the Innova and Millennium courses are perfectly suited for Barela’s gameplay. Barela gave himself a look for birdie on nearly every hole and managed to stay bogey-free, even when throwing out of bounds.
“I dialed it in pretty well towards the end of the round and I had a birdie putt I think on 16 out of 18 holes besides the two I barely threw OB,” said Barela in a post-round interview. “So [I’m] throwing the disc really well.”
The MPO field fared better on the Innova course than on their windy Millennium round one debut with a significantly higher number of players completing bogey-free rounds and the entire field averaging 3.03 strokes under par. Both Eagle McMahon and Aaron Gossage were also able to match Barela’s 12-under hot round.
As the MPO field heads into the 3rd round, Barela’s lead is followed closely by Kevin Jones at 17 strokes under par. Jones shot 10 under in round two, matching Barela’s eagle on hole 7.
Despite the fierce competition, Barela remains confident in his abilities going into round three. When asked about his gameplan for the next round, he said, “Put myself in better position to birdie and make more putts. Those 25-footers, they gotta go in.”
The MPO field will return to the Millennium course for what will most likely be a very rainy round three.
Live coverage resumes at 12pm Eastern / 9am Pacific, only on the Disc Golf Network.
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