2023 USDGC and TPWDGC – Daily Team Updates

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Day One Update

Thrilling Competition, Live Music, and the Return of the Champ 

The 25th Annual United States Disc Golf Championship and 3rd Annual Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship began today at the famed Winthrop Arena in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Many hundreds of spectators followed the feature cards of both events. The Village was bustling and the most iconic fairways were lined with fans all day. It was likely the largest first round spectator turnout in Championship history. 

Even in ideal conditions, only one player in the MPO division was able to shoot double-digits under par. That player was Team Innova’s Joel Freeman who shot the hot round of the day at -10. Amazingly, Joel went -9 through the first 8 holes of the back nine to turn a decent round into a world-class round. 

In the TPWDGC, the Europeans have pulled out to an early lead. Innova Teammates and best friends, Eveliina Salonen and Henna Blomroos sit in first and second place. They both looked better than they have all year on the putting green and will play together again tomorrow on the lead card. Estonian superstar Kristin Tattar sits three strokes behind Eveliina in 3rd place. 

For those viewing in person, the course looks pristine and the competition so far has been top notch. For those watching at home, the live commentary team of Philo Brathwaite, Ian Anderson, and Ken Climo brings disc golf’s most legendary voice to a classic commentary team we all love. During the Hall of Fame induction at the USDGC opening ceremonies, Climo acknowledged that he has been away from the sport for too long and announced that he’s back with a wide smile on his face. Welcome back, Champ!

The first band to perform at the Fresh and Now Festival, “Empire Strikes Brass” absolutely rocked the village. After just one show it is already clear that the nightly concert series makes an excellent fit for Championship Week. Day passes for the tournaments and the Fresh and Now festival are still available. The 25th Anniversary is an event not to miss. 

Team Innova in TPWDGC Top 10

Eveliina Sets TPWDGC Course Record

After back to back top 5 finishes at the last two events on tour, Eveliina Salonen is off to a hot start at the TPWDGC. She shot a course-record-setting, -11, that has her in solo 1st place. That round is unofficially coming in at 1034-rated, one of the best rounds of Eveliina’s career. She led the field in Strokes Gained Tee to Green, Fairway Hits, Birdie rate, and C1 and C2 Hits in Regulation. She took no OB strokes on the day. Eveliina also made 75% of her C1x putts, one of the better performances in the field. If she can putt that well through all four rounds, Eveliina will likely take home the 2023 TPWDGC title. 

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 Henna Heats Up on Putting Green

Henna Blomroos sits just one stroke behind Eveliina at -10. She had one of her best putting performances of the year, finishing 5th in Strokes Gained Putting in FPO. As usual, Henna led the field in a host of driving statistics as well. She was 1st in Fairway Hits, 1st in C2 Hits in Regulation, 2nd C1 Hits in Regulation, 2nd in Birdie percentage, and 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee to Green. Henna took no OB strokes on the day. She will return to the lead card tomorrow with her friend Eveliina. The two players always do their best playing together, so we hope they stay paired up on the lead card through Sunday. 

Scoggins Leads C2 Putting

Ohn Scoggins continues to impress despite injury. She is in a tie for fifth place at -4. She led the field in C2 Putting and was 4th in C1 Hits in Regulation. Ohn regularly puts together hot rounds late in the tournament, so don’t count her out yet.

King in Top 10 

Hailey King had an interesting day on the putting green, landing her in a tie for 10th place. She led the field in Strokes Gained C2, cashing putts from deep on holes 10, 14, and 15. At the same time, she struggled inside the circle, missing more close putts than we usually see from her. If she can clean it up from within ten meters, Hailey still has a chance to take home the TPWDGC title. 

Team Innova in USDGC Top 10

Freeman Breaks Winthrop Back 9

Joel Freeman was the only player in the MPO to shoot double-digits under par. He went out early and put up a 1075-rated, -10, that no other player was able to match. Incredibly, Joel shot -9 through the first 8 holes of the back nine. That is one of the best stretches of golf in recent Championship memory.

Joel took only one OB stroke for the day. He made three circle two putts and was 3rd in the field in C2 Hits in Regulation. 

Freeman has finished in the top 10 at the USDGC for the last three years in a row. The Winthrop course suits his play style. Joel also thrives under the added pressure brought on by big crowds and media coverage. If Joel can maintain his position through the next two rounds, we believe he will handle the Championship Sunday pressure to take home his first Major title. 

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Vinny Still in the Mix

The 2023 DGPT Point leader, Calvin Heimburg, sits in a tie for 10th place at -6. He leads the field in C2 Hits in Regulation, is 3rd in C1 Hits in Regulation, and 3rd in Fairway Hits. Four strokes back after the first round is a position where Calvin feels comfortable. He makes late tournament moves and is a threat to shoot course-record scores on any day.

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New Finnish Star on the Rise

Innova International Team member Rasmus Saukkoriipi sits tied with Vinny in 10th place. He is 3rd in the MPO in C2 Hits in Regulation. Rasmus is one of Finland’s most promising young athletes, taking 2nd place at this year’s Finnish Nationals. This is his second Major tournament and his 3rd event ever played outside the United States. 

Watch Round Two at Winthrop

Watch second day coverage live on the Disc Golf Network tomorrow, Friday, October 6. Check this article at the end of each day for a tournament update and follow @TeamInnovaDiscs ,@USDGC, and @TPWDGC on Instagram for all the highlights from this year’s competitions.