Brazos East has teeth, plain and simple. The front nine plays wide and open compared to the tight fairways of the back. Like any good championship level course, if the fairways are open the ropes are out and the OB is punishing. As if that wasn’t enough to give these top pros a real challenge, the average hole length is 420 feet. There are only eight par three holes on the course, nine par fours, and two par fives. To win the Waco Annual Charity Open presented by Dynamic Discs will require equal parts power and control.
In the FPO division the easy choice would be Paige Pierce who is undefeated in 2017. Not only is she clearly crushing the competition this year, she is doing so with an incredibly controlled and consistent game. On a course like Brazos East the ability to recover, or scramble, from the rough is going to be essential for a victory. On this, Pierce is clearly the best, leading the FPO in scramble percentage at an impressive 80% rate.
Picking Pierce would be the easy way out. Better to pick an upset, and for that I’m putting my money on last year’s FPO player to beat, Catrina Allen. Okay, I’ll admit, it wouldn’t quite be an upset, Allen is one of the best FPO players in history. Despite her record, Allen has been facing difficulties on the course this year, finishing a shocking 18 strokes behind Pierce at the Memorial Championship. Hidden in her stats is the makings of a WACO win though. This year, Allen is second in fairway hits to the one and only Paige Pierce. On the down side Allen’s scramble rating, at only 40%, may hold the clues to why she hasn’t pulled a win together yet. Especially when you notice that she led the FPO division for birdies at the Memorial. Allen has been playing fairly aggressive, looking for low scores but unable to recover from her mistakes off the fairway and on the green. If she can keep it in the fairway, improve her scramble, and card the most birdies again, she has a chance at taking down Pierce, and winning the Waco Annual Charity Open presented by Dynamic Discs.
Missing Paul McBeth from the MPO division mixes things up a little bit, but there are plenty of big names. Simon Lizotte, back from injury, is playing as powerful and smooth as ever, which is why he’s my pick for the Waco Annual Charity Open presented by Dynamic Discs. Read up on his game in our UDisc Stat of the Week article here. Of the top ten competitors at last week’s Memorial Championship, Lizotte threw out of bounds more often than the rest. An unfortunate facet to his game that he accounted for by throwing more birdies than any other player in the field. Lizotte is often pigeon-holed as a power player but there is more to his game than that. Simon plays positive, just watch him during any round. No matter how he’s playing his demeanor is the same and he recovers from mistakes with a smile. That will be essential at Brazos East where I am sure we are going to see more shots OB and in the rough than perhaps any other course on the tour. Lizotte is fired up after a second-place finish and clearly ready to be back in the game, expect his long drives and strong putting to play well on this course.
That wraps up my predictions for the Waco Annual Charity Open Presented by Dynamic Discs. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds and give you the day by day details here. Starting Thursday night, you can expect to see our coverage of the MPO and FPO letting you know where your favorite pros stand. Until then, make sure your fantasy picks are actually playing and go throw some plastic.