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Scorcher at the Preserve

By Baker Helton
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It was a scorcher Friday at the Airborn Disc Golf Preserve.

On top of the high Minnesota temperatures, the field lit up the scoreboard to open the Disc Golf Pro Tour – Preserve Championship designed by Leiviska Disc Golf to already set up a sprint to the finish with two rounds to go.

In the morning, as the fans began to fill the beloved property of Minnesota’s own Cale Leiviska, Paige Pierce got off to a blistering start with birdies the first five holes and setting a pace that looked to be tough to match.

It was, for the most part.

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Paige Pierce shot a 1015-rated round on the Black Bear course. Photo: Hayden Henry / PDGA

Pierce was solid in all areas, aside from one blemish on the scorecard, and finished the first trip through the Black Bear track with a sizzling 10-under round, unofficially rated 1015, to build a three-stroke lead.

Off the tee, Pierce was untouchable, leading the field in strokes gained tee-to-green (8.77), circle 1 in regulation (67%) and parked percentage (28%), according to UDisc.

Her lone miscue came on the island hole 10th, a signature hole on the picturesque course, with an OB and two-putt for a double bogey. Pierce bounced back quickly and closed with four birdies down the stretch on a back nine that played much tougher than the front.

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Ella Hansen is tied for second, three strokes back of Pierce. Photo: Hayden Henry / PDGA

Catrina Allen and Ella Hansen sit in second place, three strokes back at 7-under. Allen had one of two bogey-free rounds on the day, along with Missy Gannon (T4), and Hansen put together a solid round altogether.

Jennifer Allen overcame an early bogey and rounds out the lead card at 6-under. Ohn Scoggins, Juliana Korver and Holly Finley will join Gannon on the chase card.

In MPO, Bradley Williams set a pace that looked to be untouchable with a clean 12-under round off an early card.

It stood, until the end of the day.

On the third card, Garrett Gurthie, Kyle Klein, Isaac Robinson and James Conrad combined for a 48-under score on the card, paced by the hot rounds of 13-under from Gurthie and Klein, and capped with an all-star eagle on hole 18, a par five that checked in as the easiest on the day.

Robinson matched Williams’ 12-under round to grab a spot on the lead card. Conrad (-10) is within striking distance on the chase card, just behind Paul Oman and Ezra Aderhold at 11-under. Casey White rounds out eight players in double digits at 10-under. Eight players sit at 9-under par.

Gurthie credited his focus throughout the round to continue a hot stretch for the veteran, after a second-place finish at the Portland Open and a DGPT Silver Series win at the Beaver State Fling. Gurthie led in circle 2 in regulation (89%) and connected on three circle 2 putts.

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A strong start is exactly what Kyle Klein was looking for on Friday in Minnesota. Photo: Hayden Henry / PDGA

For Klein, getting off to a hot start in a tournament was the highlight, something that he said has hindered him so far this season. Klein went 7-under over the final six holes, aided by a sterling 100% mark from circle 1x.

Williams parked 33% of the holes and Aderhold led in strokes gained tee-to-green (8.36), according to UDisc.

The temperatures have cooled in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for Saturday’s round, but the action is only heating up.