The 2017 Disc Golf Pro Tour season has already provided us with countless highlights and noteworthy performances. With eight events in the books, it is time for
the ninth and final event of the Disc Golf Pro Tour season, the Green Mountain Championship presented by Discraft. With only one more week to fight for seeding for the Tour Championship, the women of disc golf will be giving it everything they have as they tackle the courses at Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Vermont. After a dominating performance for her second straight GMC victory last year, Catrina Allen will look to make it three straight in 2017. But, will her struggles of 2017 continue to haunt her and lend way for a dominating Pierce or another member of the field to dethrone Allen as GMC champion? We will soon find out.
Catrina Allen’s performance at last year’s Green Mountain Championship was extraordinary, winning by an astounding 16 strokes. Allen then proceeded to win the Tour Championship, also held at Smuggler’s Notch Resort, to top off an incredible 2016 season. Catrina’s dominance of the 2016 Pro Tour season seems to be a distant memory with her struggles of 2017. What has been the cause of Allen’s fall off and what does she need to improve? A look deeper into the statistics of the two seasons gives us an insight into Catrina’s struggles.
Two notable stats pop off the page when comparing the two seasons, fairway hits and OB rate. Last year, Allen was ranked first in fairway hits and this year? Tenth. To make matters worse, often times when she finds herself off the fairway, it is also out-of-bounds. Last season, Allen had an OB rate of just .060 that ranked fourth in the division. The Allen of 2017? Double that, an OB rate of .120 and 19th in that statistical category. This high OB rate is also the likely cause of Allen’s lower scramble rate as she has dropped from first to tenth in that category. So what does Allen’s OB rate have to do with this year’s version of the Green Mountain Championship? Two words: Fox Run.
The Fox Run course wrecked havoc on the FPO field in the only round that was played there in 2016. With an additional round being played at Fox Run this year, it looks to play an even bigger role in the outcome of the event. While most of the field was constantly taking OB strokes at Fox Run, Allen had the least penalty strokes of the field, going out of bounds only twice. Allen cruised right through the course, having the least amount of OB strokes in the three rounds played there between the Green Mountain Championship and Tour Championship. That, however, was the Allen of 2016, can the Allen of 2017 provide the same consistency?
If not, there are plenty of competitors who have the ability to step up and prevent Allen from winning a third consecutive GMC. One person that we expect to be at the top of the leaderboard in any event this year, is Paige Pierce. Pierce arguably struggled the most of anyone at the Fox Run course at the 2016 GMC, going OB nine times, but Paige Pierce of 2017 is a different animal. Paige is number one in the Disc Golf Pro Tour power rankings and has a hefty lead in the standings and even though Pierce still ranks in the lower half of the field when it comes to keeping the disc in bounds, she often times makes up for it with her superb skill set. If she can keep it out of the pond at Fox Run, there is no reason that she shouldn’t win this event.
With OB being such a large factor in two of this year’s rounds, a look at who has been keeping the disc in between the lines the most could be helpful in predicting success for the weekend. Valarie Jenkins sits number two in our power rankings and anyone who has seen her play knows that she is known for her solid, consistent play. This has led to Jenkins having the third best OB rate in 2017 at .055. Valarie has had success at GMC in the past, finishing second in 2015 and fourth in 2016. If Jenkins can do what she’s been doing all of her career, solid and consistent golf, she too could look to dethrone Allen as the GMC champion.
There is plenty of intrigue to go around in this year’s iteration of the Green Mountain Championship presented by Discraft. With story-lines at every corner, it will be an event well worth watching. The Disc Golf Pro Tour and UDisc Live will provide wall-to-wall coverage with live scores, video, and recaps throughout the weekend. Be sure to tune in to not miss any of the exciting action.
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