The first National Tour event of 2017 promised excitement as many players crawled out of hibernation to visit Las Vegas, Nevada. While several handfuls of pros headed down under for last month’s Aussie Open, the GCC drew exponentially more players as disc golf’s first event seeing a sponsorship by Adidas TERREX.
We could observe the thrill building across all aspects of social media, as some players arrived here up to a week early to practice all three courses at the Wildhorse Golf Club. Videos on Instagram and status updates on Facebook predicted the GCC would be full of good moods and hopeful performances.
The Tides Quickly Turned
Opening day brought plenty of sunshine, but high winds during each card seemed to blow in a different story from the positivity we had envisioned. Both FPO and MPO groups played the Discgolfvalues.com course, which sports a good amount of holes with treacherous OB. With an average hole length of 390,’ it seemed like a safe bet that top names and big arms would dominate today’s round.
Early in the morning, many of the ladies seemed to have a hard time converting their drives into any meaningful ground. Over half of the pro women played rounds unofficially rated below their current PDGA rating, and hole-by-hole scoring shows a shockingly minimal amount of birdies. Emerging from the pack was none other than Paige Pierce, with Dude’s own Melodie Bailey, Zoe Andyke, and Jessica Weese following closely behind.
Frustration For The Men’s Feature Card
With a tee time close to 2:00 pm, the men’s lead card was composed of a group of men that we can count on to put on a show. Dude had a great showing with two of our ambassadors on this card, but as each hole played out, we quickly saw disappointed faces.
Back from a lengthy hiatus, Simon Lizotte appeared to dial back his power a bit while sporting a knee brace. Although his drives were still jaw-droppingly long, he had a tough time getting his putting in sync. He cashed a large putt on hole 13 and was able to birdie a third of the course, yet it was obvious things just weren’t clicking to his liking.
Young gun Eagle McMahon went into the GCC feeling more confident in his play than he has in years past, yet described his round as “shabby.” Noting that he practiced this course least, he said today was “not a terrible start but not ideal.”
Perhaps most despondent was Philo Brathwaite, who used humor to try to push through his round. After seeing a birdie on hole 1, it took him 13 more holes before seeing another deuce. Upon sinking hole 14’s putt, he threw his arms up in the air and cheered, garnering a good laugh from the gallery.
Just about the only player on the lead card who wasn’t frustrated with his performance was Ricky Wysocki, who shot an unofficial 1064. With only one bogey the entire round, his focus, and drive served him well to pull into the lead after day one.
What Could Today Hold In Store?
With the winds looking a bit lighter, today’s rounds could see a little more smiles. Open players will be competing on the Innova course, where an intense about of OB will be awaiting them. Several holes top out at over 700 feet, allowing these players to air out their big guns. We look forward to watching the action and are cheering on our Dude ambassadors who are here this week!
Written: Courtney Elder