A storybook season could get a final bow on top.
September 21, 2023 by Justin Westfall in Preview with 0 comments
The United States Women’s Disc Golf Championship, the fourth and final FPO Major of the season, begins today at Cedarock Park in Burlington, North Carolina. In the past, this event has been played on multiple courses that tend to score much easier than those used for the Elite Series and other Major Championships. This year the FPO division will play just one course, a brand new championship layout at Cedarock called The Regulator. As a Pro-Am Major, every division from open to masters to juniors will compete in this event, but only the FPO division will play on The Regulator.
Last year, Hailey King took the lead late in round 3 with a beautiful 420 foot flexing drive that set up a 40 foot eagle putt, which she converted. Despite a strong performance from Valerie Mandujano off the chase card in the final round, King was able to hold on to win her first career Major championship by one stroke. Hailey was very close to home at last year’s USWDGC as a Wisconsin native. This year, the tournament will be held less than two hours from her new home in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Four Things We’ll Be Watching
1. Having already completed the career grand slam at the European Open, Kristin Tattar now has an opportunity to sweep the Major schedule and earn an in-season grand slam for the first time in FPO history1. Tattar has not played this event since her win back in 2019. It would also set an FPO record for most consecutive major wins (5), dating back to her 2022 World Championships victory. Kristin may come out a bit fiery after yet another disappointing 2nd place finish at last week’s MVP Open. Despite averaging a 1005 rating in the final round, Tattar lost her lead on the penultimate hole and fell to 2022 USWDGC champion Hailey King. While Maple Hill provided some solid woods prep, this week’s course is nearly 2,000 feet longer with even tighter gaps. Kristin will need to be at the top of her game in order to secure the grand slam.
2. Reigning champion Hailey King is coming off her second Elite Series win of the season at the MVP Open. King averaged the highest event rating of her career at 1002 and now comes to more familiar territory. Hailey relocated to Charlotte a couple of years ago and has plenty of practice playing in the woods of North Carolina. As one of the longest throwers on tour, the extra distance of the Regulator should give Hailey a slight advantage over the field. Scrambling effectively is paramount when playing woods golf: King led the field in that statistic at the MVP Open. She will likely need a similar effort this week in order to defend her title and become a two-time USWDGC champion.
3. After an unfortunate injury in round 1 of the Pro World championships, Ohn Scoggins was forced to drop from the event and end her quest to become both the FP40 and FPO World Champion. At last week’s MVP Open, Ohn was in great position to push for the win until she carded a triple-bogey on hole 11 and ultimately finished one stroke back of King.
Scoggins will get an opportunity at redemption this week. She is the current and 2-time Tim Selinske US Masters Champion in the FP40 division, winning the event by 11 strokes last year and 14 strokes this year. Ohn has an excellent opportunity once again to take down her first career FPO major title at 42 years old. Of course, in order to do that, she’ll need to defeat Kristin Tattar, who she has only finished ahead of one time in her career, by a single stroke.
4. Valerie Mandujano is a very proficient woods player, picking up a win at Idlewild earlier this season and at Waco last year. Mandujano fell just short of capturing this title last season, shooting a 1009-rated final round to nearly catch Hailey King. After a successful 2022 season in which she won two Elite Series and a Silver, Val was sidelined with an ankle injury for the first four months of the 2023 season. Coupled with Kristin Tattar’s dominance over the division, Mandujano’s hype would be all but gone had she not earned a win in Idlewild this year. Considering her setback at the beginning of the year, just getting the one win in Idlewild was a big accomplishment. Picking up her first career Major championship in Burlington would immediately push Val back into the conversation as one of the top FPO players on tour.
The Regulator was officially installed earlier this year after existing as a temp course for the past couple of years. Designed by Jacob Wade, Chuck Connelly, Lance Brown, and the Burlington Area Disc Golf Club, this track is very tightly wooded and features plenty of elevation changes throughout the course. There is also a pond and creek that come into play on more than half of the course, including an island green on hole 17. Between the elevation changes, inevitable tree kicks, and a back 9 that’s nearly 600 feet longer than the front, the Regulator will test a player’s stamina over the course of four rounds. With seven Par 4s and four Par 5s, scrambling from off the fairway and getting up and down for birdie looks will be the most crucial aspects needed to score well this week.
The Regulator: 8,750 Feet Par 69
Rain showers should persist throughout the weekend, with heavier winds coming into play during the middle rounds.
- Thursday: Partly cloudy with highs in the lower 80s. Winds 5 to 10 mph.
- Friday: Partly cloudy with a few showers late, highs in the upper 70s. Winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
- Saturday: Cloudy with occasional rain showers, highs in the upper 60s. Winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
- Sunday: Overcast with rain showers, highs in the mid 70s. Winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
in a year with 3+ majors ↩