Paige Pierce made history Saturday, shooting the second-highest rated round of all time on a course with an SSA of 54.99-59 at the famed Vista del Camino XL layout. Pierce’s 12-under-par performance was unofficially rated a 1057, a mark bested in that range by her own 1058 in 2017 at the Texas State Championships. The Vista round was also the third-best of any women’s round across all SSAs; Pierce holds that record with a 1059 from the 2018 Jonesboro Open.
“I started thinking about it once I threw my approach on 18,” said Pierce immediately after the round. “That’s probably up in the 1040s, probably.” Pierce’s round was initially rated in the low 1060s, before more scores were added and bumped it down to a 1057.
“These courses are really simple. They’re really easy, if you’re letting the disc go when you want it. But that’s the hardest part in disc golf, not early releasing, not late releasing, no grip locks, no shanks. So when the disc is coming out clean on these courses it’s easy to score.”
“Today they were coming out exactly where I wanted them. I could see the lines painted on the fairway, I knew exactly what kind of skips I was going to get and everything.”
Pierce’s round got off to an inauspicious start, with an errant drive on hole 1, one of the easiest birdie opportunities at Vista del Camino. She was able to make up for it with an 38-foot dagger for her first birdie of the afternoon. On hole 2 she hit another big Circle 2 putt, and at that point, it was off to races.
“All of my practice putts were going in. From short, from long, anhyzers, jump putts. You know, some days you just feel like, alright, I’m ready to putt today,” said Pierce.
“It was nice to know, and have that confidence and know, even if you mess up, your putt is great.”
Pierce’s driving wasn’t too bad either – she’s hit 94% of fairways, her only miss being a layup before the triple mandatory on 18. She also managed to card the only 2 of the day in the entire field on hole 13, a hole that played nearly a half stroke over par. According to Pierce, that’s when she knew she was on to something special:
“I knew I was bogey-free, I knew I was well under par. But then I got hole 13 for the first time ever. I’d never even been inside Circle 2 before. I was like, ‘Wow!’ and I started thinking back, how many birdies have I had?”
Pierce went on to birdie the next 4 holes, including a drop-in birdie on the challenging par 3 16th, another hole on which the rest of the field took par or worse.
Pierce heads into Sunday with an eight-shot lead over her nearest competitor in Jennifer Allen. “I think just keep it clean. There’s going to be a lot of external pressure, and try not to let that seep in. People who didn’t come and watch today are going to come and watch tomorrow, and they’re going to have these expectations, and I just can’t let the outside expectations affect my game plan or my shots or anything.”
“I think I have a good game plan. I just need to execute the shots.”
Pierce and the lead card tee off at 2:45 p.m. MST.