Story credit – Matt Gregoire PDGA
The opening round of the 2017 Aussie Open was many things, but if it had to be described in one word, it’d be a no-brainer; hot. Brutally, punishingly hot to be more specific. As temperatures soared passed 105°F (41°C), the players had a hard time keeping cool on the course. Despite the inferno, several men and women threw some incredible rounds to kick off the first PDGA Major and first Disc Golf World Tour event of the year.
In the preview article we posted yesterday we talked briefly with Eagle McMahon about how Mundaring DiscGolfPark could potentially favor big-arm the players, himself included, assuming the lines off the tee were on point and the inevitable skips on the super-fast fairways were appropriately accommodated for. Based on the results today, that concept held true.
Out-Driving the Rest of the Field Will Get You a Long Ways
Eagle’s distance off the tee is matched by no one at this event, and by very few in general, and he now leads the Open division by two after shooting a 12-under-par 53 during the hottest part of the day, unofficially rated at 1069. Eagle’s round really came together towards the end, as he managed to hit consecutive birdies on the last 5 holes on the course today.
Video: 3-time World Champ Paige Pierce nails a putt from a knee. Find more videos like this here!
Meanwhile, in the Open Women’s division, another well-known crusher off the tee is leading the field by six or more; 3X World Champion Paige Pierce.
Course Management Counts, too
That’s not to say that distance is the only thing that plays a role. Due to the absurdly dry and hot conditions, the fast fairways and thousands of meters of out-of-bounds lines, accuracy is just as, if not more important than, being able to throw far. On a course with nine par 4s and one par 5, where nearly all of the pin placements are surrounded by OB, navigating the dangerous terrain can quickly become more important than where you are throwing your second shot from.
Video: Eagle McMahon on hole 12. Find more videos like this here!
One great example of exactly that would be hole 12, where Eagle McMahon threw one of the most impressive and unorthodox lines off the tee these eyes have ever seen, bombing his beat in Discmania PD2 on anhyzer line that would only be considered, or even imagined, by someone like Simon Lizotte. His drive worked, mesmerizing everyone that was lucky enough to witness it, leaving him with an approach of 200 foot (61 meters) on a par 4 that measures in at 836 feet (255 meters).
Even with that incredibly mind-boggling drive, Eagle finished the hole with a bogey, as his second shot skipped off the dry grass to beyond the out of bounds line behind the green. With a much more conventional tee shot and approach, Paul McBeth gained a stroke on the entire card with his birdie.
Paul, who is the defending champion here at the Aussie Open, had somewhat of a sticky and end start for his round with bogeys on both hole 1 and 18th. A total of 3 bogeys and 11 birdies places Paul 3rd on the scoreboard, 4 strokes behind McMahon.
The Open division lead card tomorrow will be nearly identical to the feature card that we saw today, with the only change being that Japan’s Manabu Kajiyama has replaced Finland’s Pasi Koivu. Manabu finished the round with 11 birdies and one bogey, including seven birdies in a row on holes 4-10, matched by no one.
Eagle and Manabu will be joined by Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki, both of which are tied for 3rd place, four off the lead. It’s worth mentioning that while Ricky had his ups and downs on the course today, he managed to record a total of 5 bullseye hits during round 1. That’s tap-in birdies on 28% of the holes!
The women will once again be playing in threesomes tomorrow morning, with the lead card consisting of Paige Pierce, Madison Walker, and Jennifer Allen, teeing off at 10:20am AWST. Find out more about what happened during the women’s division’s first round at this UltiWorld article.
Recap on the Opening Day Action!
Video: Ricky Wysocki shows how to save a par on hole 17. Find more videos like this here.
During the opening round of the event round, our social media team was following mostly the feature card on the course. As a result, you can find a lot of photo updates, as well as hole-specific play-by-play videos on our instagram account. Make sure to check them out here!
We also have The SpinTV production crew piecing together play-by-play tournament coverage videos from the feature card’s first round. While you wait for that, check out our daily facebook live report from right after the round, with interviews of Paige Pierce, Eagle McMahon and Ricky Wysocki.
Scores and Stats
We also highly recommend checking out the leaderboard and Metrix and course stats from round 1. The new feature we added last year, player- and hole-specific instagram videos on the scoring interface, is in place here at the Aussie Open too, so make sure to check those out by clicking the tiny red arrows where available.
The majority of the Metrix stats are available for registered users only, so make sure to register here if you haven’t already! And if you’re in luck, registering may pay off in a big way, as we’re raffling a $100 Discmania prize package among our followers after the event.
The round scores of FPO, MPM and MA1 divisions can be found over at PDGA.com. Find the results page with preliminary round ratings here!
There’s still plenty of action to come, so make sure to check back tomorrow for Round 2 action from the 2017 Aussie Open!
Story: Marty Gregwah & DGWT Staff