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New Discs, No Problems DGPT – Las Vegas Challenge – Round 1 Recap

By Baker Helton
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Courtesy of PDGA  

Catrina Allen threw DGA discs as a sponsored amateur player. Chris Dickerson nabbed his first ace with a Discraft disc. Ricky Wysocki won two PDGA World Championships with Trilogy plastic.

So, after all three made big moves sponsorship-wise this off season, it comes down to the question: Is it the archer or the arrow?

If Thursday’s opening round at the Disc Golf Pro Tour – Las Vegas Challenge presented by Innova, the first PDGA Elite Series stop of 2022, was any indication, the answer leans towards the archer.

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Catrina Allen credits her offseason field work for her early success with a new sponsor. Photo: DGPT

“For me, I remember the first field work session that I had with my discs and just enjoying the process,” said Allen, who is tied for first with Paige Pierce after the first of four rounds in Vegas. “I just loved learning the new discs and realized that DGA has a lot more molds than I realized 12 years ago.

“Since the beginning of January, I’ve been in the fields practicing my discs. You guys know me in the off season, I’m preparing. It just came down to hours and hours of field work. I couldn’t even tell you how many hours. It really showed today that I knew my discs and trusted them.”

For Dickerson, it was more excitement than anything when he hit the course on Thursday, and it worked out well. He leads the tournament by one stroke after a bogey-free 11-under opening round with his Discraft bag.

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Dickerson’s first ace was with a Discraft Avenger. He signed with Discraft this offseason. Photo: DGPT

“I thought about it just a little bit,” he said when asked if the new discs were on his mind during his first Elite Series competition with the new bag. “It wasn’t really like a nervous thing, or I need to perform well, it was more of an excitement thing. I was excited to get out there and throw these new discs.”

The Tennessee native, playing in the Las Vegas Challenge for the first time in his career, has a little bit of history with Discraft. Dickerson, who keeps a list of every ace he’s had, got his first hole-in-one with a Discraft Avenger.

Wysocki, whose two PDGA World Championships in 2016 and 2017 came as a Latitude 64 player, has enjoyed the challenge, and added pressure that comes with a new contract.

“There is a little bit of pressure but I’m still the same person – different contract, same person,” Wysocki, who is two strokes back of the lead, said. “There is that little added pressure, but I like that. I think I play better in adverse conditions, and I think this is another situation where I can thrive and have a little fun challenge with the new contract and new discs.”

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Ricky Wysocki is no stranger to Dynamic Discs and the Trilogy lineup. Photo: DGPT

Building a new bag and then competing with it at the highest level does come with a little bit of a learning curve. Wysocki noted that Trilogy plastic tends to have a little more glide, something that he says has added distance to his drives.

“I don’t think I showcased that today on the shorter course, but I think we’ll see that throughout the weekend,” Wysocki said. “The Daggers, once I get my putt dialed in, I’m going to be super pumped. I’m excited to have the Dagger back in my hand.”

Fans probably had a few flashbacks when hearing ‘Here’s Wysocki with his Harp’ on the Disc Golf Network broadcast. He said his process this offseason had him focusing on each mold – distance drivers, fairway drivers and midranges, and, of course, putters, during his practice sessions.

When asked, Dickerson said that elite players should be able to take any disc and compete, but implementing new discs does make a difference, particularly with different styles of play.

“I think certain discs fit certain player’s style better than others,” he said. “For example, I am a player that tends to be more an of anhyzer release, where some players are more of a hyzer release to that can affect the type of discs that I tend to throw.”

It appears as if he’s well on his way to dialing in the new lineup.

“That would be great to have a strong start with the new bag,” Dickerson said. “I would really love for that to happen because of the switch and how I played last year. It was below my standards. I had a win, that’s great, but I felt like consistently throughout the year, it wasn’t the golf that I wanted to play.

“It feels good for my first round to be as good as it was today.”

It’s definitely more of the archer and maybe a little bit of the arrow.

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Paige Pierce runs a putt during the first round of the Las Vegas Challenge on Thursday. Photo: DGPT

Round Two

Pierce and Allen lead the 60-player FPO field by two strokes after 8-under opening rounds at Wildhorse. Pierce finished bogey-free with an eagle on the third hole. Allen was one of three players in the field to finish without an out-of-bounds penalty and led with a 56% birdie rate, according to UDisc.

Kristin Tattar and Natalie Ryan round out the lead card at 6-under with Eveliina Salonen and Emily Beach leading the chase card at 5-under and 4-under, respectively.

Dickerson takes a one-stroke lead over Eagle McMahon and Gannon Buhr as action shifts to the Innova course, which should add a little more scoring separation. Seppo Paju rounds out the lead card at 9-under, a mark that has 11 players tied for fourth.

Live coverage of the Las Vegas Challenge begins at 8:40 a.m. PT / 11:40 a.m. ET for FPO. Coverage of the MPO begins at 1:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. ET on the Disc Golf Network.