Pierce again struggles late to fall two shots behind
April 16, 2017 by Alex Colucci in Recap with 0 comments
The winds picked up and the scores inflated during the third round of the Spartan Mowers Jonesboro Open, and for the second round in a row Sarah Hokom retained the lead ahead of Paige Pierce, who — just like in round two — lost the lead on the 16th hole.
Hokom’s 1-over par 65 moved her to a 4-under par 188 after three rounds, two strokes ahead of Pierce, who brought home the hot round with an even-par 64. After starting the day in second place, Jessica Weese’s 4-over par 68 moved her total to a 1-over par 193 and back to third place, four strokes ahead of Jennifer Allen, who is in fourth place with a 5-over par 197.
Hokom had maintained her lead through the front nine, though after a bogey on hole 11 and a birdie by Pierce, they were tied again. Over the next four holes Hokom would drop three strokes to Pierce, and going into the challenging hole 16 Pierce had the momentum — and the lead — sitting at 5-under par.
The 520-foot par 4, which features a water carry on the approach to the green, was again her undoing for the second day in a row. After missing the fairway off the tee, Pierce’s approach to the green stayed right out of her hand and couldn’t fight through the tree to the right of the pin, dropping into the water. Once she made the green, her 20-footer from a knee hit the top band and she settled for the triple bogey 7.
Hole 16 played as the second hardest hole to par on the round, with competitors averaging 1.11 strokes over par. Making matters worse for Pierce, Hokom was the only player in the field to birdie 16, and that result was enough for a four stroke swing that gave Hokom the lead at 3-under par overall. Hokom went on to get one more birdie on 17, while Pierce settled for pars to finish out the round.
Hokom’s three rounds have been remarkably consistent in a number of respects. Each of her round’s have been rated in the 960s, and she reached the green in regulation seven out of 18 holes in rounds one and two and six of 18 holes in round three. While her fairway hit percentage decreased somewhat during the third round — likely due to increased wind speeds — she made up for it with an 86 percent scramble rate for the second round in a row.
While Hokom and Pierce are virtually tied in almost every statistic tracked to this point, the difference appears to be in three key areas. Hokom is getting to circle one in regulation on 37 percent of the holes to Pierce’s 33. She is also leading the field in scramble percentage at 76, while Pierce is scrambling successfully just 57 percent of the time. And, finally, Pierce’s OB rate is the second worst in the field at .093, while Hokom is toward the top at .056.
What’s more is just how close Pierce was to throwing a truly excellent third round. Her score netted her a 973 rating, and had she finished out with three pars after hole 15 it likely would have been rated near 1000. To overcome Hokom’s consistency, Pierce will have to regain the confidence she had from the tee and fairway in round one, where her fairway hit percentage and scramble rates were more in line with her Disc Golf Pro Tour season averages in those areas.
With the winds up again and a small chance of precipitation affecting the final round, the lead card of Hokom, Pierce, and Weese tees off at 9:00 a.m. EDT. As always, follow along with the live scoring at UDisc Live and watch footage of the lead card mixed in to the Men’s Open lead card live at 1:30 p.m. on the Disc Golf Pro Tour YouTube channel.