Hokom’s ‘Rollercoaster’ Round Keeps It Close At WACO

Hokom drew level with Pierce but lost a share of the lead on the final hole.

Sarah Hokom lines it up at the Waco Annual Charity Open. Photo: Rebecca Heiam.

The second round of the Waco Annual Charity Open was windier than the first, and, between the two leaders, only one was able to replicate her score in their second go-round. Despite the up-and-down nature of Sarah Hokom’s second round, it was both good enough to match her score from round one and make gains on Paige Pierce’s lead.

Hokom brought home the hot round carding a 2-under 65 that took her to 4-under 130 through two rounds. That score moves her just three strokes behind leader Pierce, who threw an even-par 67 and remains at 7-under 127 total. Pierce struggled at times to make the green in regulation, doing so on just 44% of the holes, while Hokom did so on 72% of the holes.

Tied for third are Stephanie Vincent, Lisa Fajkus and Melody Waibel, all at 8-over 142. Waibel made one of the biggest jumps of the day, carding a 3-over 70—two strokes better than her first round score—to move up from sixth place. She will be joining Pierce and Hokom on the final round lead card today.

Despite maintaining their hold atop the leaderboard, things could have looked a lot different at the top for Pierce and Hokom heading into the final round. “It was another rollercoaster round, I feel like,” Hokom said. “The first round was kind of the same way. It was my putting that was probably the sporadic part, and that’s what makes it feel like a rollercoaster.”

Hokom acknowledged that the stronger winds during the second round definitely had an effect, even inside the circle. “The precision is magnified when the wind is in play,” Hokom said. “And as a push putter just trying to adjust to it—[from outside 20 feet] the wind was just lifting my putts too much.”

While her putting early on in the round did not help her, after 16 holes of play, Hokom trailed by just two strokes. Pierce took a double bogey seven on the long and tight par 5, hole 15, while Hokom carded a birdie 4 after landing her approach shot inside three feet.

The two would match birdies the rest of the way until the penultimate hole 5. Here, Pierce carded yet another double bogey, while Hokom came away with a par on the toughest hole on the course. This brought the two level for the first time in the prior 30 holes of play.

But the stalemate was short lived. Hokom misjudged the headwind laying up with her go-to forehand off the tee on the final hole, going out of bounds and only advancing some 80 feet down the fairway. The headwind again caused trouble as she tried to approach the green.

Despite stabling up, her forehand approach flipped over and into the out of bounds water. She would go on to make the green and putt out, but the damage had been done. She would lose three strokes after Pierce carded a birdie three. “On our final hole I totally missed my tee shot,” Hokom said. “And then I threw a risky second shot and that’s frustrating. I have a different play tomorrow.”

Resolute to take the backhand layup off the tee, rather than her usual forehand shot on the final hole of the tournament, Hokom knows she can do more than just hang with Pierce on this course, and won’t let the specter of the final hole affect her play until it’s time to tee off there. With the course ending on the two most difficult holes on the course, as long as the scores are close down the stretch, this is anyone’s game.

The lead card — Paige Pierce (-7), Sarah Hokom (-4), and Melody Waibel (+8) — tees off at 9:40 AM Central.

  1. Alex Colucci
    Alex Colucci

    Alex Colucci is a writer for Ultiworld Disc Golf. He is a disc golfer currently living in Northeast Ohio who teaches geography sometimes. Contact him at colucc43@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter.

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