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Every year I make at least 5 disc golf goals for myself. Going into 2007, mine were pretty steep I felt, however, I always try to make them something that I know I can do, however, something that will push me.
I have never and will never make my goal to win or to cash or anything like that. I feel that if I play to the best I can that I am not concerned with how I finish. If you play the best you can and someone just beats you, well, that happens.
So with those things in mind, here were my goals.
1. Learn a distance roller – This shot is one of those shots where I see everyone throw and know I need it, just could never figure it out.
2. Average above 1010 for a 4+ round tournament. This seemed like a natural goal. In 2006 I wanted to average above 1000 for the first time and now, I had that goal bumped up a bit.
3. Shoot above 1000 for every round of a non – one day tournament. Even when I had averaged above 1000, it came with some sub 1000 rated rounds.
4. Learn the shot that has killed me my entire career – the 300 foot straight midrange shot.
5. The most important goal for me this year – get my tour card. This would involve playing at least 25 events and making at least 2,500 in winnings, 700 dollars more than I had made the year before.
My year started in January at the Raleigh Winter Jam, a PDGA event I created and ran. I shot very poorly in this and ended up splitting last cash, not exactly my dream start to the year.
After that came the Buckhorn Open and there went the strongest part of my game, my putt. I couldn’t make a thing during that tournament but thanks to one hot round in the 1020 range and good driving all weekend (there are 7 holes where you can easily go OB and I only took 1 OB the entire weekend) I still cashed.
Coastal Plains winter open marked a first for me, both in a good way and a bad. The first time I had ever cashed with an 800 rated round. At Earlewood I started with a 1034 round and was in 2nd place with 9 holes to go. However, these final 9 holes were the worst 9 of golf I played all year and it dropped me all the way to 8th, but, still in the money.
Mooky’s Cup was a one day event and was next on my schedule and it led to my first missed cash thanks once again to horrible putting. It seemed that my putt was gone, so I went out to my home course for some practice and worked the kinks out over the course of about an hour of work. I always added the Max to my bag that day simply b/c I could get the same flight of a firebird but it went much further for me.
With my new putt, I played my first A tier of the year, the Dogwood Crosstown Classic. During this tournament I made some good putts and I also birdied some 300 – 330 foot straight shot holes with a Buzzz. Check number 4 off the list. I was pleased with my performance easily cashing and averaging in the upper 990’s.
This started a string of good tournaments for me. It seemed on this stretch one thing was common, going to the last round I was easily in the money but still not competing for the win. 4 out of the next 5 tournaments I had made over 100 dollars in winnings and in that 5th still easily cashed. I also finished 2nd at the Sanford Spring Slingers III battling and passing course legend Justin Jernigan and 2 time defending champion Brian McRee. I def. played good enough to win this tournament, but Logan Sheets killed everyone and beat my by 9.
Heading to the Alamance County Shootout I was incredibly confident, and my confidence showed during the first round as I shot a course record 38 (rated 1074) and jumped to an early 3 shot lead. However, the next two rounds were very very poor and it took a solid 4th round to finish 6th. Even though my 4th round was 1000, I still averaged under 1000 at this tournament. Schweb beat me by 9 at this tournament even though I beat him by 7 in the first round alone – that is just not a good stat for me.
I bounced back the next two weekends with solid triple digit cashes at the Kings Cup and at another A Tier, The Virginia Open.
Heading down to Atlanta for another A Tier this next weekend lead to some firsts for me and scratching a few things off my list. I started the first two rounds with solid scores of 55 (both over 1000) at Roswell Park and this put me on the 3rd card and a chance to play with a John E. McCray for the first time. I played very well the 3rd round shoot a 46 (1029) at Central Park and thanks to some poor play by the field, launched myself onto the lead card. I played that round with eventual winter J.D. Ramirez, Brad Hammock and David Harless. I would shoot another round over 1000 (1014 to be exact) but fell to 6th place. I had shot over 1000 all 4 rounds and averaged 1013. There goes number 2 and 3 off the list.
At this point I had played 14 events and cashed in 13 of them. That one missed cash was only by 1 stroke. I was without a doubt playing the best golf of my life. The Horizons Park Classic the next weekend was probably the most confident I’ve ever been in my life heading to a tournament and the first time I had heard my name picked as one of the favorites to win.
During the 2nd round everything changed one on throw. I slipped on a tee pad and lost all my momentum on the throw I was attempting to make. My arm never stopped though and I popped something in my wrist. I ended up finishing next to last place that weekend thanks to not being able to do anything with my wrist hurting. I took the rest of the week off and headed to Charlotte for the points bonanza (I played in 3 of these) and missed cash at all 3. Not only did I miss cash, I wasn’t even close. My wrist was killing me.
I took some time off and let it heal. Luckily after a few weeks it stopped hurting except when I putted. I had 0 confidence in the world and I was leaving for the worlds in a few weeks. Luckily, I played the Big Valley Challenge right before worlds and got my confidence back. I putted pretty solid and was only 1 stroke off the lead heading to the last round but it wasn’t my time to get my 2nd career win. Instead, I finished 2nd.
At the worlds I played doubles with Justin Jernigan and we cashed which was my first cash in a major. Now the actual worlds were a different story, or, well, the same story. I drove great all week buy my wrist was still hurting on my putting and I couldn’t make anything. I was not pleased with my finish, but alas, I was hurt. However, at the NC States distance competition I accidentally learned a distance roller. I was trying to throw flippy orcs flat and get them to S out naturally, but I rolled them. At this point I learned that the reason I was struggling with my distance roller was my release. I learned to trust my flippy orc for my distance shot and that, as you will see soon, throwing bad shots in the distance contests was one of the best mistakes I could have ever made and well, checked number 1 off my list.
My next 5 tournaments was probably my worst stretch all year only cashing twice. At this point I was 100% healthy so there was no excuse for my poor play.
I had 5 tournaments left in my year and at this point had 1,938 dollars in winnings. I knew I could do it, I just had to push myself. 562 dollars to go.
I played solid enough to cash in a stacked field at the Down East Players Cup. 427 to go. Played poorly at the Fall Disc Golf Classic but still cashed. 385 to go.
Averaged in 1000 teens again at the Newport News Fall Colors and finished very hi. 205 to go. Cashed thanks to Zach Newhouse denying at the Bull City Showdown. Not exactly how I wanted to do it, but I’ll take it. 135 to go. One event left on my schedule – the Charleston Classic.
The field for this event, like usual, was huge. 29 in open and only 3 of which were 1000 rated. If I finished top 5, I should get my 135. However, it just didn’t happen for me and I cashed at 75 dollars, leaving me 60 dollars short.
I couldn’t end my year like this, I had to accomplish my final goal. I decided to head down to Myrtle Beach and play the Tupelo Bay Open. This event was on a golf course and for some reason have always struggled on conversion courses. However, I only 60 bux. I finished my year off with a 2nd place, losing to Schweb by only one shot. Not only did I get my final goal of the year accomplished, and in a big way I might add, I got my largest cash ever, 375 dollars, eclipsing my previous best of 350 earlier in the year at the Atlanta Open. My great finished I credited to mainly my ability to throw that distance roller and made a few holes very simple birdies for me.
My acceptance speech summed up a career year for myself. “This a special cash for me this weekend” I boldly proclaimed in front of my peers. “Make goals for yourself - because when you accomplish them, it’s a great feeling”