Large crowds normally seen during the final two rounds of the USDGC were on hand on Thursday during Round 2. You can tell that there’s an excitement in the air that disc golf fans are picking up, compelling them not to wait to catch disc golf’s finest show. It was a good choice to come out to Winthrop on Thursday because it was another picture perfect day with a high of 83 and mild winds.
One of the superstars the crowds came to see is the 2015 US Champ, Paul McBeth, who started the day on the 2nd card. Much to his fans' disappointment however, Paul ran into a wall at the beginning of his round. After making par on the first hole, he bogeyed the next two holes and made double bogey on Hole 4. He ended up shooting a 65 (-2) and now stands at (-8) for the event. He’ll have to unlock McBeast mode to get back in it, which everyone knows he’s capable of doing.
Another crowd favourite all across the disc golfing world, Nate Sexton, was a different story today. On the chase card, Sexton got off to a hot start with four birdies in a row. “The first four holes set up well for me. It’s a good way to start the round on the right foot,” said Sexton, whose wife and infant daughter were in attendance.
Sexton would keep his cool throughout the round, carding a total of 11 birdies and 2 bogies, resulting in an impressive -9 for the day, enough to take top spot on the leaderboard with his -15 total for the first half of the tournament. Sexton finds himself in a familiar position when he led the tournament in 2015.
The name of the day was very close to being Gregg Barsby, who's known for energizing the crowd. Gregg was playing really hot through mid-section, going back-to-back birdies on holes 5 through 11. He was devising solutions to every situation like on Hole 15 when he threw a sidearm roller to access the green and then hit a tough putt inside the wooded green.
However, he lost a lot of ground starting on Hole 17 when his seemingly good sidearm drive rolled OB, followed by a missed putt, leaving him with a double bogey. Barsby was still feeling the effects of Hole 17 on the next hole, with two OB throws leading to another double bogey. It was a bumpy landing for Barsby’s great round, but he’s still in contention tied for 3rd place at three strokes back.
Tied with Barsby is Devan Owens, who managed to quietly submit a strong round of his own while most of the attention was on Barsby. Owens's 10 birdies and only three bogeys put the top lefty in the tournament in great position for Round 3.
While a lot of the spectators were following the star-studded 2nd & 3rd cards, there was a healthy gallery roaming the grounds behind the lead group consisting the Charlotte local Jeremy Koling, Fort Mill resident Ricky Wysocki, California representative A.J. Risley and the hot up-and-comer from Arkansas, Kevin Jones.
Video: Kevin Jones on hole 6. Find more videos like this here!
By Hole 5, Kevin Jones had pulled ahead of the group, much thanks to his impressive backspin upshots that set him up for the birdie on the monstrous "lake hole", while Koling and Wysocki drifted their upshots too wide for a good look at a birdie putt.
By hole 8, Jones had extended his lead to 2 shots over Wysocki and Koling, but come hole 9, the situation was to be flipped over. Jones, who was trying to reach the green for the eagle opportunity, found OB of the tee and was forced to go to the dropzone. After reaching the green on his 3rd, he would get an unfortunate roll all the way to the OB with his putt. After re-throwing (with penalty), he'd still need a tap-in to finish the hole with the score of 7, against Koling & Wysocki's birdie 3's.
#PlayByPlay #JeremyKoling sticks to the playbook and scores another solid birdie on #hole8. Find the scoring at discgolfworldtour.com/live #DGWT #USDGC #USDGC2017 #discgolf #Round2 Henkilön Disc Golf World Tour (@dgworldtour) jakama julkaisu
Video: Koling was sticking to the playbook and executing his shots on point today. Find more videos like this here!
Koling and Wysocki, pretty seasoned USDGC veterans, knew it was best to keep their heads cool on the stretch of long par 4's in the mid section of the course. Koling was the one able to capitalize his playbook the best, scoring 4 consecutive birdies on holes 9 thru 12 and taking the lead to himself. Koling's only major hiccups would come in the form of bogies on holes 13 and 15, coincidentally the very same holes that were Devan Owens' only bogies on the back 9 today.
Video: Kevin Jones catches a sweet break on hole 15. Find more videos like this here!
Jones was able to score an impressive number of birdies on the course today, a total of 11, but his triple bogey on 9 and quadruple bogey on 17 made big enough dents to his scorecard to drop him from lead card to 3rd card for Friday. After the round Jones expressed that he was pretty satisfied with his 65 (-2), but he was especially pleased with how he handled the lead card’s spotlight during a Major, which was a new experience. “I’m very very happy with how I dealt with the pressure of being on the lead card. I tried to turn the pressure into excitement from the start,” said Jones, in 8th place, who recently returned from a trip to Nicaragua to teach English, while at the same time improving his Spanish for a future teaching job.
Koling would finish the round at -6, a score that will drop him off the lead, but only by one shot. A strong finish with a birdie on the 18th must have helped Koling's spirits, especially after missing high on 2 consecutive birdie putts from inside the circle on holes 15 and 16. Wysocki's -5 for the day was not the round he hoped for, but still keeps him well in striking distance on the tied 3rd place with Barsby and Owens. Wysocki will be looking to attack for the lead from the chase card tomorrow.
The hottest European player was Seppo Paju, who was also the only player to manage to score an Eagle today on hole 13. 3-ing the beastly "999" was most definitely not an easy feat, as the basket was situated on the long, far-left, location on today's round. Paju is currently on the tied 8th spot in the event and will be playing in the chase card tomorrow.
The chances of the two women competitors placing high enough to earn cash are dwindling. After shooting a 76 (+9), Paige Pierce is now in 93rd place while Catrina Allen, of Mesa, Ariz., is in a tie for 86th place after her round of 73 (+6). We're expecting to see some entertaining play from the ladies on Moving Day, as they'll be sure to try to make a charge up the leaderboard.
Video: Grady Shue with a cool flick putt for the birdie on hole 7. Find more videos like this here!
During the 2nd round, our social media team was following mostly the 3 top cards. 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 had the honour of witnessing a pretty unique ace on hole 7 today, As Austin Turner's drive changed direction from the right side edge of the triple mando and made it's way all the way to the basket. See the ace video below, courtesy of Gresh Fisher.
We also have The SpinTV production crew piecing together play-by-play tournament coverage videos from today's lead card's round, to be released sometime in the coming days. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out yesterday's feature card's Front 9 video by The Spin TV here and stay tuned for the Back 9 video to drop later tonight! You can always find all of our official videos here. Check out also our facebook live recap show from after round 1 below:
If the facebook video player doesn’t appear on your screen, click here to watch!
We also highly recommend checking out the leaderboard and Metrix and course stats from today's round. The new feature we added last year, player- and hole-specific instagram videos on the scoring interface, is in place here at the USDGC too, so make sure to check those out by clicking the tiny camera icons where available.
The USDGC continues on Thursday with Moving Day, so make sure to check back often! For ticket information visit usdgc.com