Before I start anything huge congratulations to everyone who cashed, huge thanks to everyone who came from out of state to check out this primo event, and more congratulations to those who beat me. Daemon Stahlin played some out of his mind awesome disc golf to win the Amateur National Championship, 53 is unbelievable. Mark Roberts was by far the most consistent out of the top three finishers and deserved his second place finish, f'sho.
A week or so ago I posted on my blog that my goal was to finish in the top 10 at Amateur Nationals. I'm going to be honest, that was me trying not to hype myself up and sound arrogant. My true goal all year was to win the whole damn thing, and at the least play some 985+ rated golf because I knew that playing over 985 on average would give me a shot at it. I had that in my ratings projection spreadsheet. So coming in third isn't exactly what I was hoping for. I wound up playing 984.33 level golf, which means one stroke would have achieved my goal... and put me in a playoff with Daemon and Mark. I'll be disappointed in myself for a little while over that.
Overall though I'm alright with third place. I missed out on some awesome stuff: a basket, a bid to USDGC, a bid to the Players Cup... but I came away with 250+ in merch and a hell of a fantastic experience. I feel better about my game than I have all year right now. I won a few small side bets and got to caddy for Evan before/after my rounds. He will have a great shot at the championship next year.
First round was solid. I played some decent disc golf despite a few bogeys. I had a great card: Jamie Mosier, Pat Burke, and Jeremy Rusco. All great guys. I came in with the hot round on the card, 59. It matched for the hot round on the day. However I will be kicking myself for one stroke for the next year and it came during this round. On hole 17 I was looking at a 58 without any trouble. My drive landed in an awkward spot on a burm and I had to take a standstill shot. I chose to try to blast it up to the pin for a birdie three. Instead I threw it into a nettle bush and wound up outing for a bogey five. Taking a par there would have given me an outright lead on the day. And I know now where that one stroke wound up costing me in the long run, eh?
Second round was pretty weak. Lots of inconsistency. Parred hole one then after having the best drive on the card I threw my second shot into the woods on hole two. Wound up with a bogey six. Followed that up with a bird. Then a bogey. Then a bird. Then a bogey. Finally a par. Then another par. Then a bogey. Par. Bogey. Par. Par. Par. Bird. Bogey. Par. Par. Two over par for a 64. Threw me from a tie for first back to fifth card at the bottom of a tie for 13th place. I was so pissed off I went out and played a speed round with a D-Zone and an Aviar. Ran the course in around 20 minutes and shot par golf. Worked out a lot of anxiety with that, needed to kill off my frustration.
Third round I vowed to play my most consistent golf and avoid bogeys. I'd not yet shot a single bogey free round on the Toboggan, ever. Got a call from my Dad saying to play under par golf for him for father's day. Guess it left an impression. After starting off by parring my way through the first five holes, I pulled off a beautiful bird on six with a gently s-curving forehand up to the basket. Missed bird on seven from 20, and from 35 on eight... both chaining out. Hole 9 took my par. Parked 10 with a sky forehand. Missed an 18 foot birdie putt on 11. Parred 12. Then I got hot. Hit a 40 foot downhill jumper with a crowd around on 13, anhyzer around a bush down a path. Parred 14 after a drive to 33 ended up behind a large bush. Hit a 30 foot uphill putt on 15. Had a 40 footer rim out on 16. Then a 45 footer on 17 and a 50 footer on 18 finished off a 5-under 25 on the back nine to finish with a 6-under 56 on the round.
Key to the last round, though, was definitely Jameson Gauthier. Huge credit to him, he fought me all round. He took a stroke on me on hole 2, had a massive save for par on 3 to keep it. Had a perfect drive and up on 6 to continue to hold out ahead of me. Caught the stroke back on 7 when he bogeyed but he birdied 8 to get back ahead again for the round. I got him again on 10 with my bird, but he got it back again by cashing his bird on 11. He looked like he'd get up on me by two on the round on 13 so I had no choice but to run my downhill putt in. Then he took the stroke anyway on 14. That put him in a tie with me for the weekend. He had a rough drive on 15 but a perfect out and then up shot guaranteed him a par there. I was forced to cash my putt for birdie to get back ahead on the weekend. He bogeyed the next hole, and parred 17. Finally on the last hole he was 45 out and I was 50. When I cashed my 50 footer I figured I had him by a few on the round... and he went and cashed his 45 footer. So it came down to me having to cash multiple 45+ foot putts at the end of the round just to stay ahead. All round we were pulling for each other, it was a good time and a good battle.
I'll probably post more on the experience but man what a tournament. Can't believe I had a share of the lead after one round, and I still can't believe I wound up alone in third place. I'm definitely done playing Advanced. This weekend: Westside Challenge in Columbus, Ohio. 20 Open players registered, including Barry Schultz and Ohio's three top 1000 rated players (Schick, Blakely, and Cox). Should be a good time.