At the start of Round 2 at the 2023 Disc Golf Pro Tour – Waco Annual Charity Open, the top players in both the MPO and FPO leaderboards had incredibly close scores.
Adam Hammes and Kristin Tattar were in the lead after phenomenal rounds in calm conditions, but not by enough to feel comfortable.
The wind in Waco switched directions for moving day, making some of the open holes more difficult. Despite neither field replicating their respective hot rounds from Friday’s opening round, the race for the podium remained tight as many players adapted to the new conditions to stay in contention for the win.
Hansen Jumps Ahead
Ella Hansen and Kristin Tattar started out Saturday in a battle for the lead with Hansen trailing Tattar by two strokes. Both players would run into some trouble on the front nine as Hansen took three bogeys in the first five holes and Tattar took one bogey and one triple bogey before scoring her first birdie of the day on hole seven.
“It’s tough, I mean I was a little nervous,” said Hansen of adjusting to the change in weather conditions, “Just didn’t quite execute shots that I wanted to.”
Despite a rocky start, Hansen was able to regain her momentum on the back nine, often changing her gameplan to take advantage of a tailwind to score four birdies and no bogeys.
After a string of birdies following her triple bogey, Tattar took another triple bogey on hole 12 but was able to fight back to even par for the day.
According to StatMando, Tattar had only played two holes at a 3-plus or worse before this round.
“Both of the triple bogeys had a similar start to them. I was just early releasing my forehand,” said Tattar after her round, “It’s really hard to get up and down if you don’t hit the fairway, the rough is really rough here.”
Despite some difficulty off the tee, Tattar maintained 100% Circle 1X Putting. Tattar has already proved how dangerous she can be on this course when she combines her strong putting with accurate tee shots, and her record-setting first round kept her in solo second place going into championship Sunday.
Ohn Scoggins and Deann Carey both sit at eight strokes under par, just two strokes shy of Hansen. With no clear front runner, the battle for first place could come down to the wire in the final round of the 2023 WACO.
Live coverage begins at 10 a.m. CT on the Disc Golf Network.
Hammes Holds the Lead
“I’m only one phenomenal round away from winning,” said Nate Sexton, just one of five players in the MPO field tied for 4th place at 18 strokes under par.
The entire chase card on the final round of the 2023 WACO will be starting just two strokes back of Adam Hammes, who ended round 2 in 1st place at 20 strokes under par. In fact, the top 11 players on the leaderboard will start the final round within three strokes of each other.
Hammes remained calm and collected despite starting round 2 leading the field by only one stroke. The pressure to maintain the lead was compounded by windy conditions on the open holes at Brazos Park East.
“Yesterday was dead calm and today was significant wind, gusts up to 20, 25 miles an hour for sure. On these open holes out here, the wind is obviously exposed so it made them a lot more difficult,” Hammes said in a post-round interview.
Hammes was able to adjust, taking his only bogey of the event so far on the tightly wooded hole nine. With nine birdies on the day, Hammes maintained the lead by executing his gameplan and sticking to his strengths.
When asked about the confidence in his forehand, Hammes said, “I’m trying to throw as many sidearms as possible. Even when there’s a backhand shot, I might lean on the sidearm.”
Hammes once again leads the field by one stroke and if he can hold on to 1st place by the end of the final round, it would be his first Elite Series win since the 2021 MVP Open.
Both James Proctor and Calvin Heimburg will maintain their spots on the lead card at 19 strokes under par and will be joined by Matthew Orum, whose 10-under hot round bumped him up 16 places to 18 under par.
“[There are] tons of people in the hunt. It could be one of the closest tournaments we’ve ever seen I’d say, coming down the stretch,” said Sexton when asked about the final round.
The gridlock at the top of the leaderboard may have shrunk somewhat by the end of moving day, but the battle at the top still has an impressive number of players going into the final round of the 2023 Waco Annual Charity Open.
Live coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. CT on the Disc Golf Network.