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Perfect Conditions – Jonesboro Open Round 1 Recap

By Nick Quargnenti
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2023 DGPT – Jonesboro Open Round 1 Recap

Saturday, April 29, 2023 – 00:27

Hailey King tees off Friday at Disc Side of Heaven to open the 2023 Jonesboro Open. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

Eagle McMahon may have summed up the conditions at Disc Side of Heaven on Friday in the best way possible.

“So much of our game is dictated by wind and today was dead calm,” McMahon said. “Today you were the artist, and you could paint whatever you want.”

An extremely calm day welcomed the field to kick off the 2023 Disc Golf Pro Tour — Play It Again Jonesboro Open presented by Prodigy and the scores reflected that across the board.

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Eagle McMahon birdied six straight holes to jumpstart his 13-under round on Friday. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

McMahon joined Calvin Heimburg atop the leaderboard at 13-under par ahead of 16 more players in double digits. A 9-under opening round resulted in a five-way tie for 19th place.

“We had super calm conditions,” Heimburg said. “As a whole, I don’t think we’ve ever seen the field score this well here. I can’t remember a time when I played Jonesboro where the air was not moving.”

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Calvin Heimburg throws on Friday in Jonesboro. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

The only think moving was the birdie total.

Earlier in the day, Hailey King picked up 13 birdies and finished with an 11-under opening round for a one-stroke lead over Arkansas native Kat Mertsch.

King’s 13 birdies are the most in any Major, Elite or Silver event round in the last three years, according to StatMando.

Behind McMahon and Heimburg, James Proctor and Aaron Gossage followed with 12-under rounds. Six players had 11-under days and eight players sit at 10-under. A total of 15 players went bogey-free.

Gossage led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green (6.16) ahead of Heimburg at 5.43. Jake Monn, at 11-under, led with 4.87 strokes gained putting, highlighted by a 63% day from Circle 2, according to UDisc.

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Arkansas native Kat Mertsch lines up a shot on Friday. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

In FPO, King went 100% in fairway hits, translating to 7.05 strokes gained tee-to-green. Mertsch took off on the back nine, going 7-under through a seven-hole stretch, highlighted by a stellar eagle on the 520-foot 14th.

2022 PDGA Rookie of the Year Aria Castruita set the early pace with a 9-under round. She was 9-under before her lone blemish on 15, but finished strong with a birdie on 18, one of only six on the day. Missy Gannon rounds out the Saturday lead card at 7-under.

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Aria Castruita set the early pace and will be on the lead card on Saturday in Jonesboro. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

Friday’s conditions were pristine and led to, as McMahon put it, artistry on the course. But the forecast for the weekend takes a turn. Rain is expected Saturday morning and the winds return to Disc Side of Heaven on Sunday.

Live coverage of the FPO division begins at 9 a.m. CT with the MPO beginning at 3 p.m. CT on the Disc Golf Network. Active PDGA members receive a 50% discount on their DGN subscription.

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