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In 1999 I traveled with two buddies, John and Guido, to Ludington, Michigan to play in my first ever Michigan Disc Golf Organization (MDGO) finals. We had driven up early, planning on playing in the "Mace Man" doubles event that (Friday) afternoon. First, however, I found Lake Michigan and relaxed for a while after a long drive.

Anyway, we arrived in time to warm up and pay $10 to play in the doubles event. If I had to guess, I'd say that there were 20-24 players (10-12 teams) in attendance, and most notably Ron Russell - 1999 World Champion, and first player to unseat then-reigning champion and disc golf legend Ken Climo. I drew as a partner a player from Grand Rapids (Gary), whom was not happy. I'm not sure if it was because he didn't know me, thought we were simply doomed to contribute our entry fee to Mr. Russell's team or, most likely, both.

We made our way to the starting hole on the course named, the "Beauty" (in contrast to the more difficult course, the "Beast"). I stepped up to throw first and skipped my shot, a blind hyzer across a road, right off the top of the basket. It was an omen, a good sign of things to come. As a team we clicked, each picking up putts or ripping good drives when we needed them. In conclusion, we finished at -13 under on 18 holes and won the doubles competition, beating everyone! The payout was $40 each in merchandise and I picked out some cool Mace Man stamped discs.

Regarding the MDGO finals tournament itself...I didn't play too well.

After the last round that Sunday, I became aware that nobody had taken the Am-1 ace pool. As a practice, the MDGO would carry-over ace pool monies from their MDGO events into subsequent tournaments. Given that this event was the last for the season without an ace recorded, the value of the ace pool was up to $160.

It was announced that, sometime later, a giant "Jumbo Putt" would be held for all participating Am-1 players that had entered the ace pool...somebody had to win, right? So, I climbed the hill behind the pavilion to the basket where we'd be putting. I brought my small-bead, 174 gram Aviar (blue) with me and practiced my 80' putts. I was all alone up there for perhaps 20-30 minutes, occasionally exchanging conversation with others passing by. Some remarked that I was just wasting my time practicing from that distance, that it would be nothing more than dumb-luck to make the shot. Though I generally agreed, I kept putting anyway.

Then, a horn sounded and the hill and putting area became very crowded with prospective jumbo-putt winners jockeying for spots around the perimeter. I had my spot picked in advance, the area I felt most comfortable in regarding the prevailing breeze I'd observed. When we finally came to order and the signal was given we all sent our putters to the center of the circle, to the basket.

I watched my blue putter follow a line that was true from the moment I released it from my hand, heading right at the chains. Then, suddenly another blue putter streaked from left to right on what appeared to be a certain collision course with my shot near the basket. I could see that there was a blue putter inside the basket, but I wasn't sure if it was mine. Unsure, until I approached the chains...yes!

I ended up splitting the $160 with Doug Chilcoate (spelling?) of Indiana. All and all, it was a fine introduction to a great MDGO event in Ludington, Michigan.

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