TPWDGC: Pierce Storms Out To Five Stroke Lead

Round 1 Recap

Paige Pierce at the 2020 Women’s National Championship at Winthrop. Photo: PDGA

Ultiworld Disc Golf’s coverage of the 2021 United States Disc Golf Championship and Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship is presented by Skybreed Discs, a top online retailer and preferred vendor of the 2021 Ledgestone Insurance Open.

Winthrop Arena course in Rockhill, S.C. is home to some big-time tournaments over the weekend. While the MPO battle it out for the USDGC and PDGA Major, the FPO division partakes in the Throw Pink Women’s Championship. After one day the lead card is littered with superstars with a familiar face pulling away from the pack.

  • The out-front leader is none other than 5-time World Champion Paige Pierce. After bogeying hole 1 she carded eight birdies with five coming in the front nine. She buried the competition in fairway hits at 91% and made her money in strokes gained from C2 putting at 2.38, making two attempts during the round. All facets of her game were clicking, with 80% C1X putting on a blustery day, and division leading C1 and C2 in regulation rates. Her 7-under par round punches in at a rating of 1027 with a five-stroke lead from second place.
  • Valerie Mandujano sits tied for second place with Heather Young at a score of 2-under par. She also had a strong showing off the tee with 81% fairway hits. Mandujano led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green at 6.08.  A consistent round was accompanied by a brutal hole 17 where she triple-bogeyed due to two OB throws. Prior to hole 17, Mandujano had been within a stroke of Pierce.
  • Young’s position is due to another fantastic day on the putting greens. She led the field at 100% from C1X going 7-of-77. Her C2 putting was top three at a rate of 33% on two makes, including a clutch par save on hole 18 from 10 feet below the basket.
  • Rounding out the lead card is going to be Sarah Hokom. After opening with back-to-back birdies, she caught three bogeys through four holes during the middle portion of her round. Her even par round puts her in prime striking distance to make a push to the top.
  • Alex Benson is a player to keep an eye out for during the rest of the week. She leads the field in parked percentage at 17% while also leading the field in C2 in regulation at 50%. Her 1-over par round lands her in fifth place, tied with Missy Gannon and Macie Velediaz, bringing a new face to the familiar competition.
  • Two of the favorites for this weekend, Hailey King (T-8th) and Catrina Allen (T-15th), could never get it going on Wednesday and will have a bit of work to do with 54 holes left.


Winthrop plays as a monster of a course that is seeing challenges in more places than one. The 8,714-foot track averaged 7.46-over par for the field. Hole 17 played as the most punishing, averaging almost a stroke and a half over at +1.44, with 49% of the field shooting double-bogey or worse, and an .


“Honestly, to throw the Nova high and hoping that it got through, because in that wind I was very impressed if anything gets on the island right now. [Tomorrow], I probably go forehand Gator. I’ve been throwing a Firebird but I’ve been going deep so I’ll probably just go forehand Gator.” – Valerie Mandujano, on her plan for the difficult hole 17 on a windy day, and how she thinking she’ll attack the hole on Thursday.

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