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Waco Annual Charity Open presented by Prodigy: Day One Recap

By Mahmoud Bahrani
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Brodie Smith Makes PDGA, DGPT Debut

The 2020 Waco Annual Charity Open has a star-studded field, but during Thursday’s round, all eyes were trained on a 923-rated local out of Dallas. Brodie Smith, the former Ultimate player, and internet superstar made his long-anticipated debut on the PDGA tournament scene with a 976-rated 66 on the challenging Brazos Park East course. Smith made some of the mistakes that all new players are intimately familiar with; errant drives and short-armed putts. But Smith also had some highlights, which, if nothing else, demonstrated that he might be in this sport for the long-haul.  

The biggest highlight of the round was on hole 16 when Smith rocketed a drive out past even Paul McBeth and Cale Leiviska’s drive. Smith cheered walking back to his bag and even pantomimed a bow-and-arrow shot at Drew Gibson.  

“It feels good now to be finished, for sure,” said Smith.  “Obviously I left a handful of shots out there that I’d love to have back.  It was all in all a great round.”  

Smith has been training with 5-time World Champion Paul McBeth, who shot the hot round in Waco with a 1070-rated 11-under performance. 

“It felt pretty good. I was actually surprised I was doing as well as I was,” said McBeth.  McBeth led the field with a 100% scramble rate, including an incredible turnover shot on hole 7 that, with the benefit of a friendly kick, put him underneath the basket from the rough, more than 300 feet away.  

McBeth will be joined on the lead card by 2019 Delaware Challenge Winner, Matt Bell, who was 12-under through 16 holes before double bogeying the very difficult 17th and bogeying 18.  

“Unfortunately that drive on 17 just held over the sidewalk and never came back in that right to left,” said Bell after the round.  

Also on the lead card will be Eric Oakley and Garrett Gurthie.  The card tees off at 2:10 CT and will be broadcast exclusively on the Disc Golf Network with Jomez Pro providing next-day post-produced coverage.

Next Generation of FPO Players at the front of the pack

For the first time in a while, a DGPT FPO lead card will tee off with no Paige Pierce, Catrina Allen, or Sarah Hokom.  Finnish superstar Eveliina Salonen leads the field in FPO after an impressive 1001-rated round in her first go challenging the Beast at Brazos. 

“It feels good [to have the lead] but my round was just okay.  I had so many bad holes, especially the last two holes,” said Salonen.  When asked about her game plan for Friday’s round, Salonen was succinct: “More birdies, and no double bogeys.”

Salonen will be joined by Heather Young, Rebecca Cox, and her Innova teammates and fellow Finn, Henna Blomroos.  All the players on the card have only begun touring in the past few years, and this is Heather Young’s first foray onto the tour. Young was impressive in just her 2nd DGPT event ever, leading the field both in scramble rate (75%) and C1x putting (86%).

“I’ve never played with Eveliina or Henna before, so I think it’ll be fun to meet them,” said Young.  

The FPO lead card tees off Friday at 3:30 and will be broadcast exclusively on the Disc Golf Network with GK Pro providing next-day post-produced coverage.