There are 70 women currently registered in the FPO division for the 2021 World Championships in Ogden Utah this year. I’m going to refine my list to 10 players whom I think stand a chance at winning the title. I want to say first of all how awesome a field of 70 is. This will be the largest FPO contingent in disc golf world’s history! The previous record was 49 at Smugglers Notch in 2018.
The World Championships will take place from Tuesday June 22nd until Saturday June 26th. A 5 round championship that’s going to take place on Mulligans and the Fort. The FPO division plays in the B pool and will be playing The Fort, Mulligans, The Fort, Mulligans, and the Fort as their schedule.
A little bit about the courses. Mulligans is one you might be familiar with, it’s previously been the host of the Utah open. A ball golf course that’s been converted for disc golfers. It’s got sand traps, lots of water hazards, and greens and sidewalks OB. This course is going to favor any FPO players who can throw 400 feet consistently. The elite arms will be out in full force at this course. The main concern for players at Mulligans will be to deal with hilly approach shots, and when to run the putts or lay up for par.
The Fort is a newer course, built in 2018 by TD Jade Sewell #64652. It’s a much tighter course, with lots of woods. I’ll admit I don’t usually think of Utah and woods, but I’m excited to see a modern course that will challenge players. I like that they play this course 3 times, it seems like throwing far won’t matter as much as keeping your lines tight in the woods.
So who are the 10 players I think have a chance to take home the 2021 world title? In no particular order.
- Paige Pierce Alright I may be starting with the favorite here. She’s a 5x world champion and just won the USWDGC by 12 strokes. Paige is second in fairway hits, second in parked, first in birdie percentage, first in eagle percentage, and 5th in C1 putting. She’s an all around player who doesn’t really have a weak point in her game. Paige will be filming under a different pressure than normal for this championship. She’s the subject of a documentary, and they’ve got to have an additional film crew there to capture if she wins her 6th (which would put her into most FPO all time by herself.)
- Catrina Allen She’s always a contender in worlds. Catrina has a title herself back in 2014 and she would love another one. She’s got one of the lowest bogey rates on tour, and throws OB less than 1% of her throws. Catrina has excellent control on her drives and is tied with Paige on her fairway hit percentage. The one thing holding Allen back is her putting. At 63% from C1 she’s in the top half of FPO putters. If Cat has a good week with the putter she’ll be in the mix and maybe win her second title. She’s improved all of her stats in 2021 from a year ago. She was 9 holes from winning in 2019, and putting cost her the 2020 DGPT Championship. Cat stands a great chance this year.
- Hailey King She won the DGPT 2020 Championship, she finished top 2 in almost half her events this year and only finished out of the top 10 once. Hailey has 73% C1 putting which puts her tied for 6th overall, and 28% of her holes end in birdies which put her 3rd in that category. Hailey is young, has a killer sidearm and backhand, and she’s proven she can hit pressure putts (See DGPT 2020 Playoff, 2021 USWDGC Hole 18 putt for 2nd place). The Hailstorm is a force to be reckoned with. Hailey will do fine at the open holes of Mulligans, it’s going to come down to woods play. If Hailey can keep from taking any big numbers at the Fort then it’s possible we’ll see a King crowned.
- Ohn Scoggins Leading the FPO division in C1 putting is going to get you on this list. Ohn is converting 84% of putts inside the circle this season! More often than not she’s finishing top 10 when she competes on the DGPT. Ohn will struggle a little bit with distance, that’s going to be the knock on her game. But her C1 and C2 putting will keep her in the tournament. What’s going to separate her from the pack will be her lack of taking big numbers. At 81% Par/Birdie she’s not taking big numbers which kill a tournament. I think that at the Fort she’ll be a top player, maybe since they start there she can get on the lead card early.
- Heather Young I’m a big fan of the purple phenom. Heather is second in C1 putting to Ohn and making 83% of her C1 putts. She’s a lefty, and I haven’t watched enough events of the Fort to know if it’s a lefty friendly course. I can’t stress her putting enough, if the holes aren’t parkable, then Heather is going to be out there slaying the competition. I don’t know if Heather is going to win a worlds this year, but I think we’re not so far from the time when she’ll be a consistent top 3 player.
- Kristin Tattar WOOOO! An international player! Tattar finished 6th at the 2019 worlds which was her first worlds experience. She’s a competitive player in her drive distance, her turnover shots are exquisite and the last time she played in a championship she won it. Her biggest factor will be rust, after beating up on European players for the last year and half how will Tattar fare against the American players who got to tour all last year? I hope she gets feature card and that we see more international competitors are able to play.
- Ella Hansen An ultimate player turned disc golfer, Ella shocked the world to place 3rd in the USWDGC back in May. She can demolish a disc, and on Mulligans I expect great things to happen with that distance. Ella manages to park lots of shots, at 9% she’s a top 5 shot drive parker. However with a putting percentage of 52% from C1 there’s going to be struggles. Even in the USWDGC where she took 3rd it was only 61% C1 putting. Her scramble rate of 71% saved her, but if she can manage a great putting weekend north of 70% we could see her up at the top. I’m always a fan of athletes coming from one sport to another, and I’d like to see how she fares at her first worlds.
- Sarah Hokom She thrives in the woods and touch shots are her bread and butter. I’ve witnessed it myself when Sarah won the 2016 USWDGC here at SDG. Sarah will struggle a little with the distance of Mulligans, but she’s an expert at the forehand. She converts 47% of her scrambles, the best of any FPO. She’s a top 4 in parked shots, 12th in putting C1 at 69% is still solid. Sarah will benefit from being a great woods player, if other players can’t capitalize on the open course look for her to be in the mix. Hokom won the 2012 Worlds and adding a second would solidify her amongst the FPO all time greats. Hokom winning would be a long shot, but she’s never finished outside the top 10 at World’s. I’d love to see her poking around on the 26th.
- Kona Panis. She’s fallen off a little bit as of late. With a win at All Stars (Fountain Hills) and WACO she’s proven that her offseason was well spent. Those are two very different courses, one wide open and the other wooded. Kona has top 5 distance for FPO and is suited for a good run at Mulligans. The question will be that 53% C1 putting stat. If Kona can putt like she did at Waco (78%) She can be a force in these world championships. Panis has historically struggled at the Worlds. She’s finished in the 20’s and 30’s three separate times and I think that she’s due for a breakout this year. This is Kona’s year to maybe not win it, but to make it into the top 10.
- Missy Gannon. She’s quietly put together a remarkable season. Gannon has only finished out of the top 10 once this year. She’s putting at 77% from C1, that makes her 4th overall. She doesn’t have a win in 2021 on the pro tour, but Gannon is 4th in points. It’s her lack of bogeys that help her. 80% of the time she’s a par or better player. Her lack of distance will hurt out at Mulligans but she won’t miss metal with her putts. Gannon finished 23rd in her first worlds (2018) and 13th a year later at her second. Can she jump up even higher into the top 10, maybe the top 5? If her putting is solid (like it always seems to be) I think that Gannon will at least be on the chase card during the event.
Those are my predictions for who could win the 2021 FPO World Championships. Let me know if there’s anyone that you think I snubbed. Is it one of the Mandujano’s? Maybe Juliana Korver is poised to get a 5th of her own? Maybe Rebecca Cox who has taken time off from touring to work on her game?
Or maybe I got everything correct. Either way, let me know in the comments.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397