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Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq FPO Preview: Can a rising European star unseat an American phenom?

By Baker Helton
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​With only a few days left until Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq we turn our attention to the FPO field. Coming onto the scene in 2013 the Green Mountain Championship has quickly built a name for itself as a must-play event on tour.

The event did not see its first round of touring FPO players until 2015 when Catrina Allen won the event by six throws over Valarie Jenkins in an eleven person field. Allen would defend her title in 2016, winning over Paige Pierce by sixteen throws. 2017 would see a new victor in Paige Pierce who won from the chase card, besting Sarah Hokom by one throw. In 2018 the event took a hiatus to host the World Championship. Paige Bjerkaas won the World Championship at the Smuggler’s Notch Resort last year as a relatively new player on the full-time tour grind.

Bjerkaas will not be returning to the event this year as she is preparing for her upcoming nuptials at the end of October. Both Catrina Allen and Paige Pierce will be in attendance this week as will rising European star Kristin Tattar.

Last year Kristin Tattar finished in eighth place at the World Championships at Smuggler’s Notch. This year Kristin has been playing golf at a higher level than last season and looks to be a strong contender going into this weekend. Two weeks ago Kristin finished in second place to Paige Pierce at her first Pro Tour event, the MVP Open. This past weekend Tattar traveled to Prince Edward Island to compete in the Canadian National Tournament. This time she would emerge victorious taking home a win against the aforementioned formidable Pierce. Should Kristin’s level of play continue, this weekend do not be surprised to see Tattar in contention alongside Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen.

Going into this event, many would consider Paige Pierce the hands-down favorite given her success this season. That being said, Catrina Allen is a player she has been tangling with all season, and it will be no different at this event. Catrina’s dominance in the early years of this tournament shows that she not only understands the course but that she has what it takes to ensure a victory. Recently Catrina has been struggling with her putts. Should Allen’s putts be able to find their mark this weekend, Catrina could be right back in contention with Pierce and Tattar for a title. While it has been a few years since Allen has dominated at these courses, a strong push by Catrina at the end of the season could put her in contention for the coveted PDGA Player of the Year title.

Also seeking the player of the Year title is Paige Pierce. In 2018 Pierce watched as a young, former fan and teammate brought home the World Championship win at Smuggler’s Notch. This year, little Paige will not be in attendance and Pierce will have a chance to defend her 2017 GMC title. Pierce has proven to be nearly unstoppable this season, and her recent second-place finish at Canadian Nationals could add fuel to her fire. In 2017 Pierce staged a come-back 1005 rated -5 final round to bring home the win over Sarah Hokom. As always, you will want to tune in this weekend to see Pierce put on a show for Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship presented by GripEq. Don’t be surprised if she can complete the event and take home back-to-back GMC titles.

Speaking of Sarah Hokom. Hokom has played this event every year since 2015 and has never finished below third place. In 2018 Hokom had the lead going into the final round. She could have ran a putt on 18 to potentially push a play-off with Paige Pierce, but she was not aware of the scores at the time of her round completion. When asked about the decision at the time, she indicated that she would not have played any differently. Hokom will be looking to improve upon her previous finishes at the GMC and could be in the mix come Championship Sunday.

Other players in the field who could bring home the victory include last year’s tied for third-place finisher Jessica Weese. Jessica is a consistent player on tour who can play well both in the woods and in the open. Last year Weese improved one position over her previous fourth-place finish to complete the World Championships in a tie for third. Weese will build off her knowledge and success gained over the past year to take on the challenging Fox Run and Brewster Ridge courses this weekend. Outside of the top five players in attendance for the event, other notables in the field include Rebecca Cox, Vanessa Van Dyken, and Hailey King. Each player has found their bit of success at different times either recently or on this course.  Hailey King will be on the feature card round one so make plans to tune in and watch when it is released on the GK Pro Channel.

Make plans to watch the round one feature card via next-week schedule on GK Pro and then catch the final three rounds live thanks to SmashboxxTV. You will not want to miss out on the action, so make plans to tune in and watch!