Paige Pierce takes Catrina Allen by six throws on hole 11 alone. There were only two birdies on that basket all weekend, and both belong to Pierce. Pierce didn’t really have a single hole that proved her nemesis like 11 did for Catrina though. Both times she birdied it she did so from the back reaches of circle 2 after playing a high route over the trees on her approach. Perhaps her most triumphant moment though was when she slew a dragon that had rebuked her all weekend. After two pars on hole 13, she finished it off by throwing 16’ past the basket…that was 440’ from the tee. Eagle 2! There were a good number of birdies on 13, but on this eagle, Pierce was alone again.
If it hadn’t already become clear as she started the back nine. Paige was hitting the gas. Then, on her approach to 15’s basket, her hyzer was way too high and drifted out of bounds. I’m sure Catrina was licking her chops at the prospect of gaining a throw on Pierce with her par, but Paige had something to say. Stepping up quickly she let loose an arrow of 70’ putt right into the chains. Three holes left to play with a two throw lead over Catrina could be giving Paige a sniff of safety but a lot could go wrong in these last three holes. All of which are playing over par on average. 16 brought birdies for them both, but 17 brought drama. Pierce had to putt first, leaving her approach shorter than Catrina. Taking a circle 2 putt from the fringe of the rough an airball was exactly what she didn’t need, leaving her about 25 feet for par, while Catrina was still waiting to take her birdie putt.
On that 18th hole, Catrina had the box, but Paige had the lead. Catrina’s drive looked like t might leak left, but instead, it leaked back in bounds after tickling the left side rough. Paige would need to match it or better, she played it plenty wide and that kept it plenty safe. Catrina’s turn first at what would end up being the shot of the tournament. Her second shot was only a few inches too high and the leaves slowed her shot down just enough to leave her with a lengthy look from circle 2. Advantage Paige and Paige took advantage of the moment too. She went to the forehand for what felt like the first time in a while, scooting her approach just a bit closer than Catrina.
There were 60′ left in the event for Catrina Allen. If she wanted to tie, she would have to make it. Paige, only a bit closer claimed her well-earned lay-up for par and brought her to a third big victory in 2019. It started at Nick Hyde, she kept it going at Jonesboro, and after three second-place finishes in a row, Paige Pierce found her second DGPT win of the season. That should give a squeaker of a lead to Pierce for the season right now. They both have two wins and two second-place finishes, but Paige has a third-place finish while Catrina has a fourth. To anyone who thinks Paige is stumbling this year, the reality is Catrina is charging like she hasn’t in years and Paige is just barely fending her off. That’s exactly what we want to see!
Just a handful of throws behind them a handful of players were jostling for third. Lisa Fajkus, Madison Walker, and Rebecca Cox were all bouncing right around even, occasionally reaching below or stumbling behind. Rebecca Cox found glory in the front and trouble in the back. On a course like Blue Lake you have to keep things in bounds – that may have influenced Rebecca’s tendency to leave some shots a bit short. Like many players, she also struggled on hole 11, but still kept the bleeding to only three over on the weekend, a far better outcome than most were unlucky enough to take. Her bogey on 18 forced her into a tie with Fakjus.
Fajkus experience an opposite trend, taking the pain early with a bogey and a double bogey in the first five holes. But she fired right back with four birdies and not a single other bogey or worse in the final round. True to her reputation as a great putter, Lisa led the field for the weekend at 82%. It was her clean finish that would ultimately keep her tied with Rebecca Cox who had played on the lead card today.
Madison Walker even did a bit better on hole 11 than Catrina, Lisa or, Rebeca, but found some trouble today in the center cut of the course. From hole 5 through 10, she didn’t card a single par, finishing that run two over par. She definitely righted the ship on 11, carding that first par in some time. Early on her problem had been the putt but in the final stretch of the course, she fixed those problems. Hitting two Circle 2 Putts from almost 40′ for her par on 11 and then for birdie on hole 14 – 1 of only 5 birdies on that hole today. Her fifth-place fate was sealed on the drive of 18 when she started the hole 1 behind Fajkus who was already finished in the clubhouse at a total even to par.
For all the back and forth in the fight for third it was ultimately Fajkus and Cox who tied at even and Walker who drifted back to 3 over and solo fifth. Things start to spread out by 2 or 3 throws at a time from there but despite the great play at the top, the throw-in of the day came from Kira Alexander who finished the event in 22. She threw in a birdie from 150′ on hole 2 to get her round stated. Jessica Weese wins the title for biggest day three leap, jumping four spots from 10th to sixth with her 3 under round. The hot round honors though go to Paige and Catrina who tied at 5 under, which pushed the lead Paige took in day two right through to the end. Hole 12 proved to be the most difficult challenge, yielding exactly zero birdies all weekend.
Article written by Staff Editor & Writer Zach Podhorzer.