In Dominant Form, Pierce Extends OTB Lead to Nine Strokes

Round 2 Recap

Paige Pierce. Photo: DGPT.

STOCKTON, Cal. — What a difference a day makes. When the lead card teed off at 9:50am on moving day at Swenson Park, the banner flags rippled gently in a light breeze and the treetops, wind-buffered and swaying on Friday, were still. Prime scoring conditions.

16 women finished even par or better for the day, 14 more than on Friday, but nobody could keep up with tournament leader Paige Pierce. The defending champion served notice early with a turkey on holes 3-5 and kept the pedal to the metal until the last putt dropped.

Speaking of putting, what do you do when you’ve staked a 7-stroke lead on the field through 15 holes? You run an ill-advised C2 putt on the same elevated basket you three-putted for bogey yesterday, that’s what you do! Only today you hit the comebacker because you can’t miss from C1. Literally.

Pierce went 15/15 inside the circle—knocking down a C2 putt on hole 13 for good measure—en route to a bogey-free, 10-under-par 58 (provisionally rated 1028). She beat cardmate Natalie Ryan, who remains in second place after another strong showing, by eight strokes. Next best on the day was Juliana Korver, who fired off a 5-under-par 63 to move up eight spots into solo sixth. All told, Pierce heads into the final round with a nine stroke advantage.

For the record: Pierce has never lost an Elite Series tournament when entering the final round with a lead of five or more strokes, courtesy of Statmando.

Ryan came out swinging and logged the lead card’s only birdie on hole 1 to briefly move into a tie for the lead until Pierce birdied hole 3. In a testament to Pierce’s dominance, though Ryan was 4-under-par through the first 11 holes, she still lost three strokes to Pierce in that span. Following a gutsy C2 par save on hole 11 running back toward the pond, Ryan carded lackluster bogeys on holes 12-13. Just like that, her three stroke deficit became seven. Despite those two bogeys and a double bogey on 18, Ryan still logged the sixth best score on the day.

2021 Tim Selinske U.S. Masters Champion Jen Allen moved up three spots to claim solo possession of third place with a 3-under-par 65. Last year, Allen struggled with the yips, but she looks better from short range so far this year. She went 4/5 from C1X on Saturday, including a walk-off turbo putt from 15 feet to save par on hole 18.

Missy Gannon will join Pierce, Ryan, and Allen on the lead card on Sunday courtesy of her 4-under-par 64. Gannon looked like a world-beater on the front nine, going five down through seven holes. For a while there, it seemed like every time DGN cut away from the lead card it was to show Gannon canning another bird. After the torrid start, she hopped on the par train for the remainder of the round. Save for a bogey on hole 15 she parred 10 of the final 11 holes.

Alexis Mandujano is tied with Gannon at even par for the tournament but misses out on the lead card because she finished three strokes behind Gannon on the day. On Friday, Manduano relied on her putter to keep her in the mix, but on Saturday, she hardly needed it. The even keeled Texan turned in the second most uneventful round in the top 10: carding 3 birdies against 2 bogeys.


On Saturday, Juliana Korver and Ella Hansen led the field in strokes gained tee to green, both clocking in one stroke better than Pierce, but Pierce was tops in strokes gained putting. In fact, she was the only woman to average greater than six strokes gained tee to green and also gain strokes putting.


“Every round is a new test. It doesn’t matter what my stroke lead is or deficit is, I’m trying to shoot the hot round and pretend it’s the final round of a major championship or the world championships. So my mindset is going to be to pretend I’m down and that I need to shoot the hot round. The win will come if I shoot the hot round.” ~Paige Pierce

“I didn’t go OB much. I stayed relatively clean off the tee. If I can keep doing that tomorrow, I should be able to push. I’m coming out aggressive [on Sunday]. That is 100-percent my game plan every time I come out to play. I’m going to do everything I can to try to catch [Pierce].” ~Natalie Ryan

Round Two Highlights

OTB Open Round Two FPO Highlights

  1. Patrick Aubyrn
    Patrick Aubyrn

    Patrick Aubyrn is a staff writer at Ultiworld Disc Golf and the editor of the UWDG Power Rankings. PDGA #27904. Follow him on Instagram (@patrick.aubyrn).

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