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Round 1: The Opening Act – Music City Open Round 1 Recap

By Nick Quargnenti
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2023 DGPT – Music City Open Round 1 Recap

Saturday, April 8, 2023 – 08:22

Ezra Aderhold has a share of the lead after one in Nashville. Photo: DGPT

The 2023 DGPT – Music City Open kicked off with a cold, windy round at Mill Ridge Park, but that wasn’t enough to keep the top players in the FPO and MPO fields from drumming up some solid scores in the opening round.

This might sound like a broken record, but Kristin Tattar leads the FPO after one round and the MPO field found themselves in a logjam at the top of the leaderboard.

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Kristin Tattar finished strong and leads by two strokes. Photo: DGPT

Tattar Finds her Rhythm

The rain beat down as the feature card teed off for the opening round of the 2023 Music City Open. If the cold, wet conditions weren’t already enough for the FPO field, the wind had changed directions from their practice rounds earlier in the week, often forcing players to change their disc selection or shot shape in the moment. The whole field averaged 7.38 strokes over par, with every player taking at least one bogey.

Kristin Tattar found herself two strokes over par after some errant drives and OB strokes on the front 9.

“At first it felt like nothing was going my way,” Tattar said of her rough front 9, “But on the back 9 I apparently found something that clicked and went six under.”

Tattar turned her game around in the back 9, scoring six birdies to get herself into the lead at four strokes under par. Even when facing difficult conditions and a disappointing start, Tattar has consistently shown her ability to bounce back and stay positive.

After her round, Tattar said, “I kept telling myself to not give up and just to play my game, follow my gameplan, every hole is a new opportunity.”

At the end of Round 1, only two other players in the FPO field finished under par. Holyn Handley trails close behind at two strokes under par, and Tennessee native Macie Velediaz sits at one stroke under par.

Handley had a bit of a rollercoaster front 9, following up birdies with bogeys then bouncing back again. Despite getting in position with solid drives, her performance on the putting green held her back.

“I was really happy off the tee. Putting was not really what I was looking for but with it being so windy, I’m sure that’s going to be a common story out here,” said Handley after Round 1. If Handley can capitalize on her tee shots and execute on the putting green, then Tattar’s two stroke lead might not be safe on moving day.

With Tattar on lead card in Round 2, she has now made 38 of a possible 41 lead cards on tour since the start of 2022, according to StatMando. Having already won an Elite Series event in 2023 and once again finding herself in the lead, Tattar seemed calm heading into the second round.

“Bogeys happen, birdies happen, so I just try to accept whatever comes my way.”

With more gray skies and potential rain in the forecast, the FPO field will return to fight through Round 2 of the 2023 Music City Open.

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Luke Humphries lines up a shot at Mill Ridge Park at the MCO. Photo: DGPT

Humphries and Aderhold Set the Tempo

“To be honest I’m pretty shocked that I’m tied for 1st right now,” said Ezra Aderhold after Round 1 of the 2023 Music City Open.

Even with adverse conditions, many players in the MPO field might have expected hotter scores closer to the double-digit rounds seen in the 2022 MCO. Overall, the MPO field averaged 0.22 strokes over par and some players who felt they had a lackluster round were surprised to find themselves in a logjam at the top. The 2023 season has consistently seen tight groupings at the top of the leaderboard that have resulted in two wins from the chase card, so it’s no surprise to see so many players within just a couple strokes of the lead.

According to StatMando; There are 11 players within one stroke of the lead at the Music City Open, which ties the record for most players within one stroke of the lead at an Elite or Major event. Luke Humphries and Ezra Aderhold currently hold the lead at seven strokes under par with nine players right behind them at six strokes under par.

Humphries played a smooth round with only one bogey on hole 15 after birdieing holes 8-12.

“Everybody’s bound to have one or two bad throws today. It’s how you manage after that,” Humphries said after Round 1. He followed up his one bogey with two more birdies and maintained 100% C1X putting throughout the day.

Aderhold saw a couple more blemishes on his scorecard including a triple-putt on hole 15 that turned a birdie opportunity into a bogey. Despite momentary trouble on the putting green, Aderhold was able to regain his focus and finish strong.

“16’s kind of a hole you have to birdie no matter what,” Aderhold said when asked about his bounce-back. “Luckily I was able to push through that mentality and execute a good shot.” Both players are seeking their first win at an Elite Series event, with Aderhold having recently taken 2nd place at the 2023 Las Vegas Challenge.

According to StatMando, both Humphries and Aderhold have each led the field only once before on tour. Humphries was in 1st after Round 1 at the 2022 WACO and Aderhold was in 1st after Round 2 at the 2021 Las Vegas Challenge, both of them would go on to finish second in their respective events.

While players might have felt that they were struggling during the opening round of the 2023 MCO, it’s likely because the field has been so competitive this year that every stroke carries more weight than it did in previous seasons. With only three players in the field keeping a clean scorecard on day one, a few bogeys are understandable. However, a single bogey can drop a player down as far as nine spots.

“Sometimes it feels like it’s falling apart even when it’s just one bogey because it drops you so many places,” said Gannon Buhr, who is currently tied for 3rd place. “But if you can be in it, one or two strokes back with one round to play. If you can shoot one hot round, you can win the tournament.”

With so many players trailing by just one stroke, including the 2022 MCO champion Chris Dickerson, Aderhold and Humphries will have to fight to keep their lead in the second round of the 2023 Music City Open.