Salonen has a four stroke lead despite going 0/9 from outside 10 feet.
March 12, 2022 by Anthony Mikos in News, Recap with 0 comments
After a weekend in sunny Las Vegas, the FPO field was thrown into the tundra. Opening day at the 2022 Waco Annual Charity Open featured some unpleasant conditions with temperatures in the 30s and winds howling all morning. Only one player amongst the field was able to separate themselves from the pack: 2020 WACO champion Eveliina Salonen.
Salonen, playing in her second US tournament since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US that canceled the final round of her win in 2020, put together a 4-under par round that clocked in at a rating of 1014 and ties the 4th highest rated round of her career. Incredibly, she was able to do it without making a single C1X or C2 putt, thanks to a sterling tee-to-green performance in which she parked six holes for her six tap-in birdies. In her previous three highest rated rounds, she made 90% of her C1X putts. She could not find chains, and even laid up from inside the circle at times, in windy Waco. Her strokes gained from tee-to-green clocked in at 12.63, nearly six strokes higher than Paige Pierce in second place.
With a solid four stroke lead on Paige Pierce, Salonen got clear of the rest of the pack, which is clumped just behind Pierce. Second through twelfth place is only separated by three strokes. The winds seemed to have played a factor for Pierce’s round as well. Making only 43% of C1X putts does not speak to the usual brand of disc golf that we see out of the five-time world champion. There were flashes of brilliance, however, in the middle of her round, where she birdied three in a row. Her roller coaster round finds her at even par with a seat on the lead card for moving day.
The Europeans Came to Play
Not only did Salonen have success tackling the bEast, fellow European Kristin Tattar also played excellent golf for most of her round. While the the score card might not capture the whole picture at 2-over par, Tattar was red hot and sitting at the top of the pack throughout her front nine. Her round seemed to be summarized by two letters that no disc golfer wants to hear: OB. After a sharp 3-under front nine, her back nine was a mess: she took two bogeys, two double bogeys, and managed just one birdie. Tattar could quickly bounce back as conditions improve over the weekend.
Holyn Handley is Back
After a great performance in Las Vegas, tour newcomer Holyn Handley continued to impress in the FPO division. With the second best C1X putting performance of the day, Handley finds herself tied for fifth at 2-over par. Like many players, she played great in the front nine but struggled with OB and bogeys on the back. With water and trees seemingly everywhere you look, driving in the winds can have your disc swimming. She was clinical off the tees, reaching the green in regulation 50% of the time, but she needs to stay consistent to capture that hot round.
Shot of the Day
The shot of the day is going to come from round one leader Eveliina Salonen. Her drive on hole 3 was so parked that it nearly hit the pin. She has been so technical with her drivers that an ice-cold putter hasn’t punished her. This open par three plays a bit shorter at 320′ and is a hole that most people are eyeing to birdie if they have that laser drive:
Eveliina Salonen Drive on Hole 3 WACO
Round One Highlights
Eveliina Salonen on her round one performance:
- “I’m really happy about that golf, because it was really cold and windy there.”
- “Wind and cold. All of our practice rounds the weather was perfect and now it’s opposite with winds.”
- “I don’t know what the weather is going to be tomorrow, but just stay in bounds and make those putts…I am still so nervous about those shorter putts, but I’m happy that I only missed a couple of shorter ones.”