Allen Matches Pierce To Stay Within Two Of GCC Lead

King plans smart play to keep pace heading into third round

Jennifer Allen powered through some early-round adversity to stay in second place at the Gentlemen’s Club Challenge. Photo: Innova Disc Golf

While Paige Pierce maintained her lead through the second round of the Gentlemen’s Club Challenge at the Wildhorse Golf Club’s Innova Course yesterday, the margin stayed the same. Both Pierce and Jennifer Allen carded even-par 60s to stay two strokes apart at the top of the women’s division, with Pierce sitting at a total score of 1-over par 117 after two rounds and Allen at a 3-over par 119.

Five-Time PDGA World Champion Elaine King remains on the lead card for the second straight round today after a 3-over par 63 second round. Sarah Hokom, the 2016 United States Women’s Disc Golf Champion, made the jump up to the final spot in the top group with a 4-over par 64 on the day. King and Hokom are two strokes apart at 8-over par 124 and 10-over par 126, respectively.

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The even-par rounds from Pierce and Allen are preliminarily rated at 987 and moved the pair seven and five strokes ahead King. Both Pierce and Allen came into the clubhouse strong, each carding four birdies to one bogey through the back nine.

Both competitors found trouble on the front nine, though, with Pierce taking a double bogey six on the tight, 560-foot, par 4 hole 7, and Allen taking a triple bogey six on the 549-foot, par 3 hole 5.

The spot of adversity proved to be pivotal in Allen’s round.

“I had just come off a great birdie on hole 4 — I had a drop in two,” Allen said. “I went and I threw a great drive on hole 5 and I felt like I threw a great upshot with my putter. I was just trying to lay up, and it just glided all the way out of bounds [past the basket].”

Allen’s subsequent putt was pushed down by the wind, hitting off the front of the basket and rolling back out of bounds. She would go on to make the next putt, and not let the sting of two penalty strokes linger.

“That hurt me,” Allen said of hole 5’s outcome. “But I stayed really positive, and that’s been one of my goals, is not getting upset when something like that happens and just staying positive. So I really did handle that well today. I went to the next hole and got a birdie on the island hole and threw a great drive on the next long hole, too.”

Much like Allen, King’s most memorable moment of the second round came early while taking a birdie on the challenging island hole 6 with a daunting shot to the green.

“I got a couple of birdies early on in the round from playing fairly aggressively and only had one out of bounds stroke on hole 7,” King said.

She would go on to complete a solid back nine, where she surrendered only two strokes to par.

“I tried to just keep it in the fairway and really tried to get my approach shots close without going out of bounds,” King said. “And really, that was the key on this course, because around the pins there was often quite a lot of out of bounds. So I was really pleased with how I was able to control my upshots.”

Allen also highlighted the importance of approaching the green on the Innova Course.

“I had good upshots today, which is what I struggled with yesterday — that’s what cost me,” Allen said. “And, if you have a good upshot out here you don’t have to putt. So all my putts were 15 or 20-foot putts, so I didn’t really have to make any hard putts.”

Allen is looking forward to more of the same today when the field takes on the Adidas Terrex Course during the third round.

“I feel like it’ll play about the same [as the Innova Course],” Allen said. “A lot of long holes. Just being consistent, throwing good drives, and really throwing good upshots because everyone will have to throw upshots there. The holes are long.”

The distance at the Adidas Terrex course has King focused on thoughtful play in preparation for the final two rounds.

“I think it’s going to be kind of tough for me to gain ground on Jen and Paige tomorrow because they both throw literally one hundred feet further than I do,” King said. “So my game plan is to just essentially keep doing what I’m doing, keep playing within myself — not trying to go for shots I cannot make. Keep it in bounds, really get accurate approach shots — that’s just so important — and I’ll see what I can do.”

Some added length in round three should not phase the chase card, comprised of Eveliina Salonen and Catrina Allen, who are both tied for fifth with 11-over par 127s. Jessica Weese and Ellen Widboom round out the group, with Weese at a 12-over par 128 and Widboom tied with Melodie Bailey and Karina Nowels at 13-over par 129.

The lead card tees off at 8:22 a.m. local time today.

  1. Alex Colucci
    Alex Colucci

    Alex Colucci is the managing editor at Ultiworld Disc Golf. He is a disc golfer currently living in Northeast Ohio who teaches geography sometimes. Contact him at colucc43@gmail.com with tips, news and questions, and follow him on Twitter.

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