Originally published at: https://discgolf.ultiworld.com/2021/09/04/mvp-open-under-par-panis-sets-pace/
Kona Panis at the 2021 Ledgestone Insurance Open. Photo: DGPT
The DGPT kicked off another weekend with the MVP Open at the illustrious Maple Hill in Leicester, MA. One of the world’s best courses continues to challenge the star-studded field year-in and year-out, and a tight race at the top sets the stage for an interesting moving day.
- Kona Star Panis sits alone at the top of the leaderboard being the only player in the field to shoot under par. Her 1-under par round clocks in at a rating of 995 and is one stroke ahead of the field. After three bogeys on the front nine, Panis was able to settle into a groove and offset the blemishes with three birdies during the back half of the course. Overall she led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green (8.1), and is second in both finding Circle 1 and Circle 2 in regulation. With one OB throw on the day, she was able to stay consistent on the fairways. She is the player to catch on day 2.
- A three-way tie for second is led by none other than Catrina Allen. Similar to Panis, Allen caught fire during the back 9 where she caught four birdies which canceled out a slower start. Allen shot even par on the round and uncharacteristically found great success on the greens shooting 80% from C1X with her only two two-putts coming back-to-back on holes 13 and 14.
- The new (tour) kid on the block, Maria Oliva, rode the roller coaster on her opening round. With four birdies and four bogeys she also sits at even par. Her bogeys were due to four OB throws across the round, but her elite 91% C1X putting kept her in the hunt. She didn’t knock down any C2 attempts (0-for-6) as she is wont to do, but with a lead card appearance in her first outing to Maple Hill we expect to see some fireworks on moving day.
- Missy Gannon rounds out the three-headed tie for second place. Bookend bogeys and a double-bogey accompanied by four birdies place her at even par on the round. Gannon led the field in strokes gained putting at 4.30 despite a C1X putting percentage of 78%. Her shot of the day came on hole 10 where she was able to bury a 50-foot C2 look, one of three makes from downtown on Friday.
- Back-to-back defending champ Paige Pierce is tied for ninth at 4-over par. The four holes stretch from hole 6 to 9 doomed her round and included all five of her OB strokes, a triple-bogey, double-bogey, and single-bogey.
Hole 1 played as the most difficult hole on the course averaging 1.13 strokes over par. Hailey King was able to card the lone birdie of the day gaining 2.13 strokes against the field. King sits 1-over par on the round in a tie for fifth with Lisa Fajkus and is right in the hunt.
“It felt good. I had a little bit of color in the beginning with a bogey followed by a birdie, so I got to get that one out of there. A lot of pars and then getting your birdies when you can, but that’s just what it is out here. I missed a few that I would’ve liked to get but pretty clean so I’m happy.” Missy Gannon, on her opening round performance.