The tournament we've all been waiting for is finally here! The United States Disc Golf Championship, which also doubles as the Disc Golf World Tour Championship, kicked off today in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The legendary Winthrop Gold course, located at the Sports Complex of Winthrop University, provides an iconic setting for settling the top spots on the World Tour this year.
Unlike what's typical for October in the Carolinas, the day started with a slight overcast that would condense throughout the day. Not a drop of water was shed on our athletes during the first round, but over the course of the day we witnessed fairly high winds that made the players' task of staying inside the ropes even more difficult than usual. Despite the wind, today's weather was great compared to what still might be in store for the rest of the week, as Hurricane Matthew's movement up the coast is being monitored closely by the tournament staff.
With breeze in the air, the overall scores level was a maybe a bit lower than what we've grown to expect from the first day of USDGC. Only a total 19 athletes were able to return a scorecard with under the par 65 score, while the majority of the 91-player-strong field shot over the course par today.
Video: Eagle McMahon picks up a birdie on hole 14. Find more videos like this here. Out the those 91 contenders, there were two players who shared the hottest score of the day - the 18-year-old Coloradoan sensation Eagle McMahon and Masters-aged USDGC veteran Patrick Brown. Both of these gentlemen returned a score of 8 under par (57).
The fact that there was no bogey-free rounds recorded today, speaks volumes about the difficulty of the Winthrop Gold course. As for McMahon and Brown, they both had a single bogey - on holes 15 and 10 respectively - to accompany a total of 9 birdies on the 18-hole course.
Video: Ricky Wysocki was hot with the putter today. Find more videos like this here.
The shared -8 score puts both of our co-leaders in a fairly comfortable situation atop the scoreboard, as they have a 3-stroke lead over Ricky Wysocki, who's in the third place going into round 2. Wysocki struggled off the tee uncharacteristically on a number of holes, carding a total of 5 penalties. The putter was really hot for Wysocki today however, as he managed to hit outside the circle (OCP) putts on 6 holes on the course today. This number is also a new record for the number of OCP's during a single round on the Disc Golf World Tour.
Behind the top 3, North Carolina native Jeremy "Big Jerm" Koling will be rounding out the lead card for round 2, much thanks to his great finish on the course today. Koling was able to snag a birdie on 4 of the last 5 fives on Winthrop Gold. Koling's -4 for today gives him the sole 4th place in the competition with 54 holes to go in the Championship.
Video: 2013 USDGC Champ Steve Brinster hits the bullseye on hole 6. Find more videos like this here. While there's some gaps between the scores on the members of the lead card, the next few cards feature players very close to each other scores-wise. Leading the chase card will be Nikko Locastro, who is currently standing at -3, while there's a total of 6 players that share the -2 score: Steve Brinster, Nathan Sexton, Barry Schultz, Teemu Nissinen (FIN), Ilari Tuoma (FIN) and Jake Lauer. Rounding out the top 19, there's a total of 8 players with the score -1: Drew Gibson, Philo Brathwaite, Michael Johansen, Jalle Stoor (FIN), Pasi Koivu (FIN), KJ Nybo (DEN), Paul Ulibarri and Ville Ahokas (FIN).
With a lot of the competition packed in close proximity on the scoreboard, we expect an exciting rest of the week to come!
The distance showcase is in session! Here's @bigjermdg with a great bid across the lake towards the arrangement of #throwpink baskets. Find the round1 scores at discgolfworldtour.com/live #DGWT #USDGC2016 #USDGC #discgolf Video, jonka Disc Golf World Tour (@dgworldtour) julkaisi
Video: Jeremy Koling at Wednesday's Throw Pink distance event. Find more videos like this here.
During the first round, our social media team was following multiple cards on the course. As a result, you can find a lot of photo updates, as well as hole-specific play-by-play videos on our instagram account. Make sure to check them out here!
We also have The SpinTV production crew piecing together a wrap up show to be released later tonight. The show will feature select plays from the moving day round, as well as player interviews and Disc Golf Metrix analysis. Stay tuned for the show later this evening!
We also highly recommend checking out the leaderboard and Metrix and course stats from round 1. The new feature we added at the European Masters, player- and hole-specific instagram videos on the scoring interface, is in place here at Winthrop too, so make sure to check those out by clicking the tiny red arrows where available.
The majority of the Metrix stats are available for registered users only, so make sure to register here if you haven’t already! And if you’re in luck, registering may pay off in a big way, as we’re raffling a limited edition DGWT Grip Equipment bag among our followers after the event.
There's still plenty of action to come, so make sure to check back tomorrow for Round 2 from the 2016 United States Disc Golf Championship!