Colorado is well known for it's surprising weather changes ... We found out just how dramatically it can change last weekend, at the beginning of the 2008 Colorado Open, May 10-11.
I woke up, got my stuff together and prepared for the short drive to the course. It's great to be at home and only have a 15 minute drive to get to the tournament. I did my warm up, and then some putting in the yard. The sun was out, and there were only a few fluffy clouds floating in the sky. After my putting, I picked up my bag and walked to the car to load up ... that's when the hail hit! To the north [on the other side of the house, and out of my previous view] was a wall of black clouds rolling in. I was first hit by hail and rain, and so quickly loaded up the car for the drive.
At the course, the sky was dark and snow was falling. The players were bundling up for the first round in rain jackets, hats, gloves and all the winter gear. Umbrellas were out, yet everyone was bucking up for the game, and players could be seen warming up all over the course. A little snow wasn't about to dampen the excitement for one of Colorado's most loved tournaments.
First round, the air was cool and wet. Tees were muddy and slippery, and towels were getting soaked with water. I had an interesting group to play with including Don Labor (one of Colorado's best Pro Grandmasters), Paige Bjerkaas (an amazingly talented youngster [8-9 yrs old?] playing Rec Women from the Bjerkaas family of disc golfers), and Sierra Morgan (Junior). I had an OK round, but the slippery tees and ground made me slow down a bit (broken leg, remember?), so my score was far from great.
By the time the second round started, the sun was out, and the ground had dried considerably. It was still windy, but much easier to play. I played on a mixed card of those who were in the back of the pack in Masters, and Grandmasters. A good group — we had a lot of fun. I think most of us improved our scores and moved up. Steve Hardyman dropped out of the event because he was playing sick. I shot my best round, a +3.
Last round. I made it to the top five, one stroke from 4th place, and played on the lead card. Sunday weather is perfect, and I mean really perfect. No wind, sunny, warm, and the course is dry.
Peter Shive and Don Labor were swapping first place all the way to the last shot. It was awesome to play with these guys. Kurt Lampkin and Geoff Hungerford had a battle raging to get back into it, but anyone who plays the CMC Glenwood Springs course can tell you ... it only takes a few unfortunate shots to hold you back. Such was my round.
I started the round with 10 holes of par, or birdie and was -2 [start on hole #8]. At hole #18 I hit a tree 50 ft off the tee ... but my second shot was on the money, or at least it could have been. My Roc caught an edge, popped up, and with a mind of it's own rolled out of bounds. That left me with a reasonable putt, that I unfortunately missed. My first bogie, and a double at that. So I'm at E.
Hole #19, I'm the only one in the group to birdie.
A par hole, then one of my favorites, hole #3. I had a very good drive on the uphill, narrow, and heavily tree protected fairway ... then my disc hit a tree and amazingly rolled ALL THE WAY back down to the left of the tee pad. I had to take an out (2), my next shot was OK but hit another tree bouncing off to the left and down the hill slightly (3), my upshot was OK and left me a clear putt (4), I missed the putt [mental!] (5), putt out (6).
The next three holes were uneventful and I might have been able to make up a couple of strokes if I had birdied them, but that wasn't the case.
Hole #6, the longest hole on the course [a birdie is not even an option for me] I can usually par or at worst bogie. I overshot my upshot for a chance to easily 4 it, and missed a 60 ft jump putt to get a 5.
The last hole, #7, is a great opportunity to get a birdie for me, but I got a bad kick off the trees and had a very slim chance. I over shot the basket and my disc slid off into the trees. I left it with a 4.
So, I had my opportunity to get into the top 4, but some bad breaks, and not-so-hot putting got the best of me. Could I have played it safer? Sure, but then I still probably wouldn't have had a chance to catch up with the other players, who were playing very well. It was a situation where I think I had to take some chances and try to make the "best" shot, but those shots didn't work out. I really needed to make those putts ... period. My final score for round 3 = +5 (197 total, +17).
1. Peter Shive 182
2. Don Labor 183
3. Geoff Hungerford 190
3. Kurt Lampkin 190
5. John McMullen 197
6. Joe Bernard 202
7. Jerry Smith 204
I had a great time playing with everyone in my groups. The whole tournament was a fun experience, and I look forward to next year. I've posted a lot of the photos I took in my Gallery here at discgolfersr.us ... take a look!