Kristin Tattar had a chance to win on the 72nd hole and came up short
April 18, 2022 by Anthony Mikos and Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 0 comments
APPLING, Ga. — Kristin Tattar was sitting on the green of the 72nd hole of the PDGA Champions Cup with a one stroke lead over Paige Pierce, who had just missed an eagle putt by inches. Tattar had a birdie look from a few feet outside the circle — a make and the tournament was hers. A par would send her into a playoff.
Tattar, straddling out from behind a tree, fired her birdie putt towards the chains. It sailed high past the basket, hit a tree root, and rolled out to the edge of the circle on the opposite side of the green. Now, Tattar was facing a must-make par putt. Her comebacker missed to the right, and a second major title slipped through her fingers.
Instead, Paige Pierce won her 16th major championship, tying her with Valarie Jenkins Doss for the most major wins in FPO history.
“Whichever way it went it was going to be a lifetime memory for me,” said Pierce in an emotional post-round interview. “I’m walking up the last few holes thinking that if I lose then I am still out here doing what I love. We’re living a crazy life and I’m out here doing what I love everyday.”
Up until hole 18, the round was a back-and-forth chess match that displayed tactical layups as well as big time Circle 2 putts. Tattar and Pierce — well out in front of the rest of the field — came into the final round tied up after Pierce erased a four-stroke deficit in round three. The lead seesawed back and forth throughout the final round before Tattar took a two stroke lead on hole 15 after Pierce carded a double bogey. Pierce bounced back with a birdie on 16 to cut the lead to one, setting up a dramatic stretch run.
Pierce has now won five of the last seven majors, adding another trophy to her illustrious collection. This final hole was, in some ways, a mirror image of her loss at the 2021 World Championships, when she was the one that made a mistake on the 18th.
“This is awesome to have another major in my career,” she said. “But even more so, just the last few events, just realizing I’m living the dream. I really am.”
Pierce has long personified what it means to love the game of disc golf. Whether through winning or losing, she is a mogul for the sport and plays the game for the love of the game.
Tattar continues her extremely strong play this season, but after shooting 7-under par during the first two rounds, she shot 1-over in the final two, opening the door for Pierce to make a comeback. Tattar hasn’t finished below third at a tournament this season, but her only win came at The Memorial, an A-Tier not on the tour.
Another Strong Finish for Sarah Hokom at WR Jackson
Sarah Hokom finished in third place, her 12th podium finish at a major and the first since the 2020 Women’s National Championship. She pieced together her best round of the tournament at 3-under par, playing very consistent golf throughout. Her ability to hit technical lines with her forehand flex shots was critical in the woods.
11 years ago, Hokom finished third at the PDGA Championship, which also had rounds at WR Jackson. She also won the 2019 Hall of Fame Classic, the National Tour finale, on the Jackson course.
She had the lowest bogey percentage in the field.
The big mover of the final day was Catrina Allen. Firing off the tournament’s best round on Sunday, Allen jumped 13 spots up the board into fifth place. The 7-under, bogey-free effort included a pair of putts from 40 feet and superb course management, extending her top 5 finishing streak this season.
Tattar’s Daughter Couldn’t Caddie
During the final round, Kristin Tattar had her nine-year-old daughter carrying a caddie badge and walking the course with her. According to a new rule in the PDGA Competition Manual, that is no longer allowed. Rule 3.05.B states:
A caddie is a person who carries a player’s equipment or provides other assistance during the round. Players may designate one caddie at a time during their round. A caddie must be at least 13 years of age and must comply with the same Official Rules of Disc Golf and Competition Manual their player must follow, including the dress code, although a caddie need not be a PDGA member nor Certified Official.
Early in the round, Tattar received word via a message to Paige Pierce’s caddie from Elaine King, the color commentator for the FPO round on the Disc Golf Network and the Vice President of the PDGA Board of Directors, who noted the rule and that Tattar’s daughter needed to be with the gallery and supervised by another adult or that Tattar could risk being disqualified.1
“Thankfully, Paige’s caddie was very kind and helpful and had a friend in the crowd who was able to watch over my daughter for the rest of the round,” said Tattar.
She also messaged her partner Silver Latt, who spoke with assistant TD Chuck Connelly, who relayed information about the situation to TD Robert Leonard. The PDGA staff got Kristin’s daughter a “QUIET” sign, so she was able to remain up at the front of the gallery, just 30-40 feet back from the players on the card. The idea of a disqualification was “never considered at all,” said Leonard, who, as the TD, was the only person empowered to disqualify players.
“It was more of, ‘let’s remedy this situation now,'” said PDGA Marketing Director Danny Voss. “But once we find out a rule is being broken like that, we also can’t just ignore it.”
Tattar said that she was not upset with the PDGA and that no players on her card ever even mentioned any problems with having her daughter there.
“I do realize that I’m responsible for this situation,” she said, acknowledging that she should have known the rule. “It was just a sad one. I think any parent would understand how difficult it was. But now I know better and will avoid this happening again.”
Final Round Highlights
The tour continues this weekend at the Jonesboro Open on April 22-24.
The rule book does not specify any particular punishment for breaking the rule about the age of a caddie. ↩