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A Familiar Position – 2023 PDGA Champions Cup Round 1 FPO Recap

By Nick Quargnenti
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2023 PDGA Champions Cup Round 1 FPO Recap

Friday, April 21, 2023 – 07:10

The 2023 PDGA Champions Cup presented by Bushnell got off to a hot start with the FPO field carving their way through the wooded fairways of the W.R. Jackson Memorial course.

Despite the difficulty of the course, the top ten players were able to finish their opening round under par. Always a familiar face at the top of the leaderboard, Kristin Tattar currently leads the first PDGA Pro Major of the season after her record-setting 9-under round.

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“I feel like I’ve been in this position already this season, so it feels good to do it here in the Major as well,” Tattar said after scoring the hot round. Tattar has won two Elite Series events and one Silver Series event so far in 2023, giving her plenty of momentum going into the springtime Major.

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Kristin Tattar’s tournament streak with at least one 1000-rated round dates back to April 2022. Photo: Justin Anderson / PDGA

Tattar showed nerves of steel on the putting green, finishing the day with 100% Circle 1X Putting as well as 40% from Circle 2, according to UDisc. With many baskets set up on hills or obstructed by trees, putting can be a daunting task at W.R. Jackson. Finding herself outside the circle after two shots on Hole 8, Tattar lined up her putt and dropped it in for an eagle, the only one on the day.

“I thought to myself, this might be the only chance for me to get an eagle so I have to run this,” Tattar said of her successful eagle bid, “As soon as it came out of my hand, I thought it was going to go in and it went in so that was really a happy moment for me.”

With her hot opening round, Tattar now has the longest streak of events on tour with at least one 1000-plus rated round. This active streak stretches all the way back to April of 2022.

Even with her record-setting round, Tattar leads by only a few strokes over her closest competitors.

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Kat Mertsch is two strokes back after the opening round. Photo: Justin Anderson / PDGA

Kat Mertsch finished right behind Tattar at 7 strokes under par, followed by Hailey King at 6-under and Catrina Allen at 5-under. While Mertsch is still seeking her first win at a Major, she will be joined on the Round 2 lead card by three players who have each won a Major in the last two years. Even with the pressure of a Major, Mertsch looked focused and confident in a post-round interview.

“There are some more strokes out there to find,” Mertsch said when asked if lower scores are possible, “I think double digits for sure.”

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Hailey King also fired off a 1000-rated round on Thursday at W.R. Jackson. Photo: Justin Anderson / PDGA

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Catrina Allen rounds out the lead card heading into Friday. Photo: Justin Anderson / PDGA

With three rounds left to go, there’s still plenty of time to see just how low the best FPO players can score at W.R. Jackson. If Tattar’s record is any indication, however, she could be hard to beat. According to StatMando, whenever Tattar has led by two or more strokes on tour after Round 1, she has gone on to win 100% of the time. This has happened seven times, including her last two events.

When asked about dealing with the pressure of the Major, Tattar said, “There’s no past and there’s no future, it’s only this moment here.”

The FPO field will return to the International Disc Golf Center in Appling, Georgia for Round 2 of the 2023 PDGA Champions Cup. Live coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. ET on the Disc Golf Network.

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