2023 PDGA EuroTour – DGPT Elite — PCS Open 2023
All the players, and ourselves, had in mind Paige Pierce, who slipped and suffered a fracture that takes her away from the biggest competitions of the season in the worst possible way.
The number of high-level players was on display from the start of the round, and in fact it was the third card that started to make very good scores: Sarah Hokom, with one under par, took advantage of her forehand flex lines with stable drives to navigate the demanding fairways of Øveras Disc Golf Park.
Her card partner, the Finnish Heidi Laine, who has been having a great season in the European Pro Tour, beating Silva Saarinen, Anneli Tõugjas-Männiste or Jenni Karpinen achieved the provisional second position with a very clean card of 3-under with only two bogeys.
The great favorite, World Champion Kristin Tattar, returned to Europe after a long season in the United States. However, her start was somewhat slow, with a plus-2 on hole 3. She didn’t quite get the putters right; she later stated that she had changed them just before, and something about the grip or stability didn’t feel the same. As the round progressed, she improved her performance to finish third with 2-under.
The one who was unbeatable from the beginning was Eveliina Salonen (Finland), who was accurate both from the tee and near the basket to achieve a 6-under that gives her a three-stroke lead over her immediate follower. She managed a spectacular eagle on the 12th, which she could even duplicate on the 13th, and showed a calm, solid, and flawless game. Great emotions for Friday!
Do you remember the incredible 11-under achieved by James Proctor in the last round of the PDGA Euro Tour Skellefteå Open that caught almost everyone off guarded to enter the final podium from the 5th card? Well, he has done it again, this time on the first day, to co-lead one of the most important tournaments of the European season, the PCS Open presented by Innova, which this year also debuts as a DGPT Elite event.
James Proctor During the first round at the PCS Open. Photo: Disc Golf Pro Tour
And who will join him on this coveted lead card? If we were to poll the whole world about the three best players today, we would probably get these three. Can you guess them? Calvin Heimburg, Eagle McMahon and Paul McBeth.
Eagle started strong, even too strong, flipping his driver on the forehand of hole one to go straight over the bleachers and score a plus-1 right off the bat. But it was just an accident — a bounce back on the 2nd to then string together 8 birdies in a row! Does that have a name?
Finishing the round a little more irregularly to end with 8-under, just one stroke off the lead tied with the only European who has been able to resist the onslaught of the American armada, and, in this case, it is not Niklas Anttila as many might assume but that 15-year-old Swedish kid who has no fear to rub shoulders with the international elite: those who are following the PDGA Euro Tour will already know that we are talking about Hjalmar Fredriksson, who is beginning to represent not only the future of continental disc golf but its present!
Calvin Heimburg During the first round at the PCS Open. Photo: Disc Golf Pro Tour
Another of the undisputed stars, Calvin Heimburg had a very solid round, especially with the putter, and showed how, in the long run, luck gives on one hand—with an early release on the 4th that miraculously crossed the entire forest to bounce off the last tree in the direction of the basket and go from a bogey to a birdie—and takes it away on the other, although perhaps it was more a miscalculation of the distance with a strange approach on the 18th that went out of bounds, preventing him from solo leading the tournament.
McBeth During the first round at the PCS Open. Photo: Disc Golf Pro Tour
And the third of the “big guns,” Paul McBeth, who has shown in the best possible way that his long stay competing in Europe had all the justification to continue refining his game in very high-level competitions, remember that he has won three of the six tournaments he has played, and that he arrives at the peak of the season in top form and with great ambition.
The anecdote of the day also has to do with the World Champion but, this time, with Joey Temali, his cameraman for a DGN series about him coming next off-season, who is also a high-level player and has managed to get into the chase card (in fact, there were times when he would have had to play with his “boss”), and who tomorrow will have to find another videographer to record the World Champion. In his own words:
“I didn’t come to Europe to play Disc Golf and nothing like this has ever happened to me in competition. Tomorrow I will not concentrate on the result, but on enjoying an experience that I am sure I will remember for the rest of my life…”