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Pierce, McBeth Sizzle on The Thorn

By Baker Helton
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Paige Pierce impressed herself a few times. Paul McBeth wasn’t really satisfied.

Both are on top of the Disc Golf Pro Tour – 27th Annual Texas State Disc Golf Championship presented by Latitude 64 after round one, and both want more.

“My drive on the first par five – I made myself go ‘woo,’ same with my upshot on hole 2,” Pierce said. “I had some good shots today that impressed myself and that’s what I’m looking for as a competitor.

“I don’t want to be content. I want to throw shots that impress myself and make me want to strive to hit it again.”

Pierce opened with a smooth turnover into the green on the second to grab the only birdie of the day in the field and collected her first of two eagles on the eighth to roll to a 9-under 58 and a four-stroke lead over Catrina Allen.

With a double-digit round on The Thorn at Lindsey Park in the clubhouse from Calvin Heimburg, McBeth was sizzling in an unconscious start: 9-under through 10 holes. A few back-ups and a slow finish left him a 12-under 51 and a two-stroke lead over James Conrad and Heimburg.

“It sounds better than it feels,” McBeth told Terry Miller of the Disc Golf Network. “It just felt like I fell asleep out there on the back nine, so it wasn’t fun. I felt like I had a lot of opportunities out there and I just left them out there.”

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Paul McBeth torched The Thorn with 12-under opening round. Photo: Kevin Huver / DGPT

For the first time on the Texas swing, the winds were calm and the temperatures climbed on Friday, leading to a smattering of strong rounds in both fields on the debut of The Thorn.

“It’s calm out here,” McBeth said. “This course is a complete 180 when the wind is up. I love it when it’s calm and hate it when it’s windy.”

With ideal conditions in the forecast for the rest of the weekend, it looks to be a race to the finish.

Pierce carded a double-bogey on hole 15, a tight, 561-foot par 4 after four-straight birdies. After her lone blemish, Pierce finished four-under over the final three holes, including one of two eagles on the 17th. Maria Oliva (T6, 2-under) carded the other three.

Allen opened with four-straight pars, bogeyed the fifth and then finished 5-under from there as she continued her strong start to the season on the green.

Kristin Tattar and Missy Gannon round out the lead card at 4-under.

In MPO, Gregg Barsby, an East Texas transplant who had a hand in designing the new course, rounds out the lead card at 9-under. A vintage Barsby putt from circle 2 on 14 sparked four-straight birdies down the stretch.

Emerson Keith is tied for fourth also at 9-under. Ricky Wysocki and Joel Freeman sit at 8-under and seven players are one-shot back at 7-under.

Live coverage of Texas States kicks off at 9:30 a.m. CT for FPO on the Disc Golf Network. MPO coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. CT.