Women’s Global Event attracts more than 600 players

Angelie Hill gets a high-five from her father and tournament director Ray Hill at the JTown Disc Golf WGE on Saturday. (photo by Jenny Cook)

All signs point to the first PDGA Women’s Global Event being a resounding success.

Paige Pierce, who won the 2011 World Championship, earned the overall Open title, according to unofficial results on the PDGA website, as of late Sunday afternoon.

Pierce, who played in the Central Texas Hyzer Honey’s WGE, had rated rounds of 983 and 991 for a 1974 total. Her average was 987.

The Daisy Chains Tournament in Watsonville, Calif., which had 52 players, put on its WGE event with a serious woman’s touch. Everything from men acting as scorers, hand sanitizers, candy, daisies all over the course, poker tables, player bags with interesting items and, basically, a fun atmosphere.

Tournament director Christine Hernlund said the tournament had 18 scorekeepers, four men manning the grill, many volunteers and the group used 48 pounds of meat at lunch.

Women from this event placed in the top two in three classes — Open, Advanced Masters and Intermediate.

On the other side of the country, Jennifer DeVries served as a tournament director for the first time at the Disc Chicks Throw Down at New Quarter (Williamsburg, Va.)

“Wow was it an experience that I really enjoyed,” DeVries said.”It was such a great time for everyone involved.”

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The younger generation is key to growing the women’s game

Three-time world champion Val Jenkins is the chairperson of the PDGA's Women's Committee and is working to expand the women's game.

If one took a peek at last year’s PDGA National Elite Tour women’s standings, they’d see a list of ladies who participated in the nine-event series throughout the season.

However, looking at it closer, just one player — Sarah Hokom — played in all nine events. Three others — Val Jenkins, Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen played in eight apiece.

Liz Lopez played in seven and after that, it dwindles to five points and below. Of the 57 players who competed in an NT event, 40 played in just one event.

In comparison, the men’s National Elite Tour had 200 players, with 12 players competing in seven or more events. More than a handful played in five or six events, which made the fields larger.

So what gives?

As with many sports, the purse for the winners is usually smaller when it comes to women. And though the ladies may not be the main draw, there is star power when talking about players such as three-time world champion Jenkins, 2011 world champion Pierce and Hokom, who placed second in last year’s NT standings to Jenkins.

Still, it seems whenever Open players on the women’s circuit travel, they play the same people on the top cards. In men’s action, you can find different standouts regionally who can sometimes get in with the top touring pros.

Sarah Hokom, who left her job as a teacher to tour full time, is trying to help expand the women's game.

The top female amateur divisions sometimes lack players, too. Hokom said while she was still an am, she sometimes had to play in a men’s division.

“I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while,” Hokom said. “That’s why I played Open. There were no women in the Midwest to play against as an amateur. Places I went, sometimes you played against yourself. That’s no fun.”

Hokom, a former high school biology teacher, opted to become a full-time touring pro a couple of years ago. Sponsored by Discraft, she said has to watch where she tours because she needs to make sure there’s a decent Women’s Open division. If there’s only one or two others in the tournament, it’s not financially worth traveling to the events.

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