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Back in the Winner’s Circle – Open at Austin Final Round Recap

By Nick Quargnenti
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Paige Pierce and Gannon Buhr returned to the winner’s circle at the 2023 Open at Austin. Photos: DGPT

Paige Pierce and Gannon Buhr returned to the winner’s circle on Sunday in Austin, Texas — ending a long drought and checking off another accomplishment, respectively, while doing so at the Disc Golf Pro Tour — Open at Austin.

For the second-straight week in the Lone Star State, the PDGA Elite Series was full of action and yet again came down to the wire.

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Paige Pierce drives on Sunday in Austin, Texas. Photo: DGPT

Pierce Returns to Form

It started as a one-stroke battle between Pierce, whose last win came at the 2022 European Open eight months ago, and Kristin Tattar, but ended with a host of other players making a charge up the leaderboard.

But Pierce returned to form, stringing together a clean stretch through the middle of the round at Harvey Penick Golf Campus, to hang on for a two-stroke win.

However, it wasn’t Tattar in second place, or even the podium, a rare occurrence over the past two seasons.

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Catrina Allen surged to a second-place finish. Photo: DGPT

Catrina Allen rallied big from a rough start in dismal conditions on Friday to a course-record 6-under round on Saturday before finishing strong on Sunday for a second-place finish.

Jessica Weese had the hot round on Sunday (5-under) and to tie Missy Gannon in third.

Tattar couldn’t get anything going on Sunday and dropped into a tie for fifth place, the first time she’s missed the podium at an Elite Series event, snapping an 18-event streak, according to StatMando.

Pierce was solid across the board, finishing second in birdie percentage, first in strokes gained in C1X putting and third in OB rate, according to UDisc.

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Gannon Buhr picked up his first Elite Series win. Photo: DGPT

Buhr Adds Another Accomplishment

For the second-straight week, Championship Sunday on the Elite Series was set up to be a battle until the finish with more than 10 players in contention for the win.

And, again, the winner came from the chase card.

Gannon Buhr added an DGPT Elite Series title to his impressive resume, surging from the second card for a two-stroke win, his first on the Elite Series to go along with his PDGA Major title and two PDGA Junior World Championships.

A reminder: He’s 17 years old.

Buhr slammed the door on his latest victory with birdies on the daunting 17th hole and following that up with a stellar upshot into the postage-stamp green on 18.

He becomes the youngest player to win on the Elite Series.

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Simon Lizotte finished second at the Open at Austin. Photo: DGPT

Simon Lizotte made things interesting coming down the stretch with a 60-foot connection for eagle on 18 and a birdie on 18 to jump five spots into solo second. James Proctor matched the hot round of 10-under (Buhr, Austin Turner, Mason Ford) to pull to a tie for third with Calvin Heimburg, three strokes back of Buhr.

The Elite Series resumes on April 7-9 at the Music City Open in Nashville, Tennessee.

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