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Finley, King Set Pace at W.R. Jackson

By Baker Helton
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Holly Finley was among the first players to start a new chapter of PDGA Majors when she teed off on Thursday during the inaugural PDGA Champions Cup presented by Bushnell.

She’ll be one of the last to tee off during round two.

Finley set the early pace at W.R. Jackson at the International Disc Golf Center with a 4-under to open the debut of the PDGA’s new Major, a score which held on the rest of the day on Thursday.

Full Coverage of the 2022 PDGA Champions Cup presented by Bushnell »

Her co-leader, Hailey King, meanwhile, made a big return to the 2022 season.

“I’ve been playing this course since I started playing at the Hall of Fame Classic,” Finley said. “I fell in love with it back then. We used to play a couple of the courses here, not just (W.R. Jackson). When I heard about the Champions Cup, I thought, ‘wow, a wooded course, it’s suitable for me and I’m not going to miss it for anything.”

Finley didn’t miss much of anything during the first of four rounds in Appling, Georgia. She finished with a 67% mark in fairway hits and complimented that with a 100% scramble rate, a crucial element for the heavily wooded, Par 68, 9,299-foot track. On the green, Finley went 100% from C1X and hit three putts from circle 2, including a 49-foot bogey save on hole 6, her lone blemish of the day. She led the field in strokes gained putting (3.88), according to UDisc.

Hours after the inaugural card of the event teed off, King made her return to the big stage, firing off a 4-under round in her first event since the DGPT-Las Vegas Challenge in February.

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Hailey King returned to action for the first time since the Las Vegas Challenge. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

“I’m happy to be here anytime that I’m here,” King said of returning to the IDGC. “It’s a dream come true. This place is amazing.

“It’s just disc golf and I’m playing with my friends. Playing with the top level of competition is always the best.”

King kept it clean with a steady round that included just one bogey. She hit the fairway 76% of the time and was perfect while scrambling.

But the race after the first of four rounds is just as tight as the fairways at Jackson.

Eveliina Salonen continued her strong play off the tee – leading in a number of driving categories – and cleaned things up on the green after some early-season struggles. She sits one stroke back after parking 22% of the holes and leading in circle 1 and circle 2 in regulation.

She’s joined at the 3-under mark by Kristin Tattar, who jumped to the lead card with a 60-foot throw-in for eagle on 18, one of three in the 40-play field on Thursday.

Sarah Hokom and Alexis Mandujano are 2-under. Maria Oliva and Chloe Alice round out the chase card at 1-under, joining Missy Gannon and Macie Velediaz.

In total, 14 players are within four strokes of the lead with 54 holes to go in the race for the first PDGA Major title of the year.

Live coverage of the PDGA Champions Cup presented by Bushnell begins at 9:30 a.m. ET live on the Disc Golf Network.