MVP Open Notebook: Ladies Can Crush Too

Go on, brush your shoulders off

maple hill pond disc pile
A pile of discs pulled from the ponds at Maple Hill. Photo: Chris Wiklund

I believe in honesty and transparency. I needed to sleep and get breakfast at The Pickle Barrel and so I missed the first two holes of the Open Women’s lead card second round. I catch up with Paige Pierce, Paige Bjerkaas, Rebecca Cox, and Sarah Hokom on hole 3 and boy, let me tell you, these women can flat out throw.

Off the tee on hole 11, a 670-foot downhill hole which asks players to clear the Christmas trees and find a clear landing zone before pitching up to a well-guarded green, I watch Pierce land inside Circle 2. She is maybe five feet behind a standalone tree and is forced to flex a forehand out and around to the pin. She and the rest of the card take birdies.

Later I watch Bjerkaas pipe a drive through the woods on the back 9. I forget which hole, as I was too busy being shocked to note it.

On the tee for 18, Hokom turns to the gallery and thanks us for watching. We thank them for putting on such an incredible show. Bjerkaas has a solid 200 feet left for her upshot and runs the green. We hear chains and the crowd goes ape, everyone is jumping, cheering, shouting, generally pumped. The throw-in means Bjerkaas has tied Hokom’s score for the round.

Alas, we get to the green and see that her disc is resting on the ground; her shot hit solid but didn’t land in the basket.

Having watched the women perform at such a high level all morning, we just assumed that disc would have stuck.

Downtime

Because all of you nice people told me to follow the Open lead card, I had some downtime. I spent plenty of that charging my phone, eating and introducing myself around to players I’ve interviewed over the phone or email, and those I have yet to interview.

I also buy a couple new discs because I have limited self-control. And a hole in my bag. And I just know that at least one of the two drivers I buy will be the one. I’m sure I got it right this time. With this disc, I am prepared to walk onto the course and show these so-called “pros” what’s what.

I do witness a close call involving an errant practice drive, a pair of sunglasses, and a certain charismatic member of the Dynamic Discs team reassuring a younger Discmania pro that all was well, and no harm no foul.

Lead Card and After

Was it just me, or was Nate Sexton playing much more aggressively than normal? I personally did not expect to see him go for it on his upshot on hole 18, but here we are. I can say confidently that Nikko Locastro was not pumped about how his round went.

After the lead card finishes up, I hang around for the distance competition and accuracy contest. I watch Anthony Barela and Jeremy Koling throw stones into the pond from the tee pad of hole 1. They throw discs and rocks really far. I’d like to see how far they can throw other types of things.

Drew Gibson, Kevin Jones, Evan Gurthie, Barela, and others launch some devastatingly far and accurate shots into the twilight. There is a general vibe of “holy !@#&” while these guys lay into a drive. After a tense first day, it is refreshing to see people relaxing, having fun, and enjoying themselves.

All around me people are talking about how they found out about the tournament and decided to check it out, or talking with their friends about the shots they saw today, or about who they were rooting for. It was a day with lots of smiles, laughs, and appreciation for what and who was around us all.

  1. Christopher Wiklund
    Christopher Wiklund

    Chris is a contributor at Ultiworld Disc Golf. He lives and works on Cape Cod in Massachusetts where he plays as much disc golf as he can, and reminds people he lives on Cape Cod. He likes spending time outside when he isn't playing video games and watching TV.

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