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Discraft’s GMC Open presented by Grip EQ – FPO R3 – Process. Relax. Hope.

By Baker Helton
GMC Open – FPO R3 – Process. Relax. Hope.

The round was cold, wet and windy. Kristin Tattar started the day five shots behind Sarah Hokom. After two holes, Kristin was one down (with a huge 50 footer), Sarah was one up (with a two-putt on hole 1). The lead was now down to a manageable three strokes. In the first two holes it appeared Sarah was set-up for a ride on the struggle bus. Two 30ft putts later on holes four and five and she had straightened things out, rebuilding her lead to five. Sarah would keep it on cruise control picking up two birdies the rest of the way out, finishing with the hot round, one-under-par and taking a six-stroke lead into the final nine.

Through nine, Hailey King and Rebecca Cox had fallen back and Paige Pierce had cooled down. Sarah showed resolve on day three as she continued to play solid, hitting 80% of her C1X putts and scrambling to card 3 of 4 par saves. Kristin’s putting was spot on with 100% C1X and adding in a C2 putt for good measure. This consistent play gave her a few strokes on third and started to separate her and Sarah from the field.

Over the course of the round, Sarah Hokom had fewer birdies than anyone else on the lead card. Only one person in the top ten had fewer birdies. In fact, Paige Pierce had more birdies on the final three holes of the round. But Sarah avoided bogeys, carding only one bogey on hole 2. On her hand, Sarah had written her round reminders. Process. Relax. Hope.

“It always feels good to be under par on this course. There are so many trees. Conditions were a lot tougher today as the wind gusted and stopped. I had an early bogey but I threw two bad shots and that’s what happens. It is a toss-up between my Relay and Crave between which one was my go to disc. They are so straight and easy to control. It was basically point and shoot.”

Sarah Hokom’s focus today was trusting in her routines. Saying to herself, “set-up for your shots correctly, let your body do its thing, you’ve practiced this thousands of times.” She successfully let her muscles work like she has trained them to work.

At times, lining up a thirty footer, you could see Sarah Hokom breathe out. Exhale. Relax the mind and the body. She left herself two C1 edge putts twice in a row on the front nine and drained them both. Nice and easy. Over 70% C1X putting each of the first two rounds, better than her average. You got this. Breathe.

After a tough drive on hole 6 left her about 300’ through tight woods without the benefit of a tee or fairway, Sarah put a pured an anhyzer flick. It gently banked right, right before smashing into a series of trees on the right side of her tight line. It then hyzered out and nestled about five feet from the pin. On hole 15, she contorted her body to have a look from off the fairway. She had a 140’ sharp left to right. 140’ later, her hyzer flick hit the elevated basket for a drop in par save. Trust your discs to do what they do and hope for the best.

Process. Relax. Hope. Sarah did these things and she goes into Round 4 up by six. When asked about the three words written on her hand, Sarah explained, “Relax part because I get uptight when I’m on live. Hope is especially useful in the woods. Keep a positive mind frame. Process reminds me to say my keywords in my head. I also have a smiley face because we are playing frisbee.”

Rounding out the lead card are Kristin Tattar, Rebecca Cox and Hailey King. Kristin has the best chance to catch Sarah, but will need a hot start to put pressure on Sarah early. She has been putting well and has the distance to make up ground on the longer Fox Run course. Krstin told Madison Walker after the round, “I love touring in the United States. There are so many different courses. Today, I did not feel confident about my forehands. I am hoping it will not be that windy again tomorrow. It was not windy in practice so I may go practice Fox Run in the wind this afternoon.” Hailey King and Rebecca Cox have been getting more consistent over the season and it will be fun to see these two battle for third and try to catch Kristin.

Paige Pierce finished one stroke off the lead card and had a very inconsistent round. After starting with six pars, she carded one par over the last 12 holes. The big issue for Paige was her inability to scramble (20%). Paige will look to improve on her current fifth-place position, but a miracle comeback, as she did here in 2017 from the chase card, is probably a bit too much to ask this year.

Holly FInley, who moved up five spots, said, “I had a lot of fun on Brewster Ridge today. I’m an official Wisconsinite. I absolutely love playing in the woods and I needed to pick up the slack today. It is really my strong suit. I put on my power lipstick for an extra confidence boost and it worked out. Tomorrow I am going to be more conservative and play it safe. I’m shooting for a par finish.”

Missy Gannon told AJ Risley after the round, “I started off really well and got a birdie on one of the big par 4s. Caught another birdie on hole 9 and faltered a little bit on the back nine. Tomorrow I need to throw every shot confidently and remember that I can do this.”

An interesting side note is the revised FPO Tour Championship schedule. The number of women qualifying has been increased to 16 and the number of women getting byes to the Semifinals was increased from three to four. Rebecca Cox is just two points behind Jessica Weese in Tour Standings for that fourth spot. If Rebecca can stay a couple of positions ahead of Jessica, she will jump into fourth place in Tour Points and get a bye into the Tour Championship Semifinals. There is an extra reason to watch the final round.

Round 4 of Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship presented by Grip EQ starts Sunday morning at 9:00 AM Eastern.