I'm not truly certain where to begin. I had a ridiculous weekend. Friday I came out early in the morning and shot par golf on the Great Blue Heron Disc Golf Course in a practice round with Evan and Deuce. Played another round later with Steve Mills, Gregg Barsby, Cory Sharp, and Chris Addiego which was pretty much laid back as it could get, lots of just gunning drives on holes until they figured out their lines on a new course. Definitely could tell right off that it wasn't going to be an easy weekend, all of those guys seemed to be throwing shots that were just sick.
To be honest I came in with one hope: to make it into the final nine and not get embarrassed by any of the locals or get beat by any golfer with a lower rating than my own. In the back of my mind was the idea of winning the event, as I hadn't lost in any division I'd played in on that course in over a year. Two advanced wins, an unsanctioned Open win, a BYOP $50 doubles tournament, and a sanctioned win against little more than local competition in July. But it really wasn't much more than a fleeting thought.
First round I was placed on a card with Mills, Daemon Stahlin, and Leroy Jenkins. It was a pretty laid back card, really. Mills was chilling all round, Leroy is really cool to golf with, and Daemon helped chill me out after a stupid griplock OB (I need to buy an iPhone, seriously). The round went by pretty quick and I was hot in off of our card with a 70. We started out on hole 2, and after hole 14 heading onto the island I was sitting at +3. Went onto the island and birdied two of the four holes, came off and took a birdie on the next hole. Took the stupid OB bogey on 17 to slip back over par. But a solid forehand into a 35 foot jump putt got me back. Parked 20 to move to 2 under. After parring on 21 I moved onto hole 1 which is 430 and solidly uphill. Threw my drive to 27 short and canned a putt over a limb to finish at a 2 under 70, two ahead of Mills and well ahead of Leroy who had a poor putting round and Daemon who showed up last minute and played it blind and without warmups.
Surprisingly (to me) the 70 was hot round. Barsby came in at 71, Mills came in at 72, and Tyler Horne came in at 74. That was the lead card second round. Starting on hole 1 it was all Tyler to start the round, he parked hole 1 and then nailed a 40 footer on hole 2 to catch two strokes right off the bat. He kept up the solid golf, maintaining a solid and slow catch on me over the course of the round. As with the round before I went into the island a bit over par, two over this time. Only got one of the holes on the island, got to par with the first hole after the island. A bogey on 16 left me back over par and a stroke behind Tyler, but I'd birdie 17 on an anhyzer jump around a tree to bring it to even. A park job forehand on 18 and then a park job on 20 would get me back to two under which was where I'd finish. Tyler came in with the hot round, a 67 (hot for the tournament, as well) to move within a stroke of me. I shot a 70 again. Barsby threw up a 73 to move four back. Mills had a 75 to come in at the end of day one solidly in fourth, well ahead of fifth.
Morning came and the lead card was identical. Again sitting with a one stroke lead. During round 2 Barsby caught me with a birdie on hole 1 before slipping a bit. This round Tyler would catch me immediately as my first putt of the day clanged the front of the basket. I'd recover and play solid golf to maintain the pace I had held the first two rounds. Going onto the island, though, things were just getting ridiculous. I was sitting +2 again, right on top of my pace for the previous rounds. After birding the first island hole, though, Tyler was sitting an insane -5 with most of the bird holes to go. Not a 4 yet at that point. On the third island hole I was sitting at a 6 stroke deficit, still over par. Tyler parked the hole, and I left myself with a 40 foot tailwind jumper into a single-set mach-1 basket. In my head all I could think was that I was going to bang the shit out of it, and if it didn't hold it so be it... but a soft putt wasn't going to hold up in the wind.
BANG. Rattled it in and inch over the rim, let out an emphatic "YES." and just got angry at things. In my head the only thing I could think was "I am NOT going to let Tyler win this one easy." I really felt like I could make him work for it. He was parked for his bird and maintained the lead. On the next hole, last island hole, I parked it and took a stroke back. The first hole after the island I parked and took a stroke back. On the next hole I took a par and he hit a tree and bogeyed, another stroke. 17? Birdie, another stroke. 18? Birdie, another stroke. 20? Not so good. I saw it off slightly and slide OB 30 left of the pin. Tyler has his opening... and clacks it. OB. I'd take another stroke the ugly way, taking a bogey to his double. Barsby would slide back into contention here by taking two strokes on me and three on Tyler with a bird. Final hole, the 600+ foot hole 21, I would take a 3 and Tyler would take a 4. Suddenly its back where we began. I shot another 70, Tyler shot a 70. Barsby moves within 2 of me and 1 of Tyler with a 68. Mills brings himself back to even for the tournament with a 69.
Final 9 time. Its hard to explain my mood during the final 9. Top 4 Open players playing 9 holes to determine the winner. Leading off the round I really didn't feel any pressure at all. If anything I was excited and amped up like mad. We started with hole 2, which takes 450 down into a bowl to clear the water and then 80 up the other side of the bowl to the pin. I'd played uber-safe all three rounds but for whatever reason I just wanted to bomb one. Threw it into perfect position with a risky s-curve over the water. Felt fantastic. The whole card would pull off a 3 there. Second hole, still amped up, I overthrow big time. I lose a stroke to Barsby, Tyler also bogeys. So suddenly Barsby is tied with him, 1 back of me. Third hole is a ridiculous 850+ foot hole. Tyler would three it to move into a tie. Next hole Barsby birdies to join the three way tie. Hole 14 I screw up BAD off of the tee, hit one of the first trees. Throw a miraculous up shot with my Zone (first time I used it ALL TOURNAMENT) to ~34 out. Can the jumper. Barsby loses a stroke, Tyler maintains the pace. Next hole though Barsby birds to come back into the tie. We'd all come off of the island remaining tied going into the final hole after on the final island safari hole, a 700+ foot bomber hole, my jumper rattles out left side chains and Barsby misses his 15 footer. We all take the 3 on hole 21. Tie. Playoff.
At this point I'm still just having a fantastic time. Through it all, I just kept chilling. Nothing phased me much. I was just... I don't know, giddy. No matter what I did I was taking home my best cash ever, easily besting the $200 I'd won at the same course in July. First playoff hole, hole 1. I'd birdied it once and bogeyed it once. Barsby steps up first and throws a weak drive, set up for the easy three. Tyler steps up and throws a cannon but hyzers it a little much to wind up left. Feeling like Tyler might be in putting range I decide to go big and risk cannoning it OB. I rock a Destroyer out on a massive hyzer-flip but it catches a tree and falls about 50 short with a limb in the way. Seeing Tyler is 40+ out I lay up, Barsby has laid up... Tyler goes off the front of the basket.
Second playoff hole... Barsby steps up first and throws a cannoning turnover, it pans out too slowly though and leaves him in one of the worst spots I have seen someone in on that hole, almost right against massive shule on the opposite side of it from the basket. Horne steps up next and drives a HUGE hyzer-flip with his Force, he puts it 40 out short and left behind a single leafy branch. Amazing looking. I'm last and I decide to play safe this time. I bomb a hyzer flip up to the right and land it in my usual landing zone. Stepping up for the up shot first, 100 foot forehand underneath same as every other time. Barsby is up next and I look at Chris Addiego, his caddy, and say "I know he's a hell of a player, but if he makes this shot I'll be fucking amazed." He proceeds to throw a FANTASTIC high anhyzer forehand, bordering on tomahawk, through the shule. Catches a single limb and comes up only 20 out. Amazing. Tyler misses his chance to win because of a rough lie, fantastic drive but a limb in the way fouls up his putt. Barsby cans his hellasweet save for par. We move on.
Third playoff hole... Barsby hates this hole. Hole 2 and this hole have been his worst of the tournament, seriously. He's played them both badly off of the tee. He throws his best drive of the tournament thus far, looks like its bombing the green. Tyler steps up and looks like he's bombing the green as well, both throwing massive stall shots sky high. I never do that. I always skim the hillock in front of the teepad and try to stall it in from deep of the green where its a clearer route to crash it. Boom. Perfect. Absolutely my best drive of the tournament on the hole (and I'd birdied it twice already, before that 4 during the final nine). We get up to the entrance and Tyler and Barsby are almost next to each other... they'd caught up in the trees and were in jail almost 40 out. Barsby lines up the shot, I can see NO visible gap. Nothing wide enough for the disc at all. He looks at it for half a minute before stepping up to his lie and no joke getting through clean, I have no idea how or where, to run at it. But the miracle run slips off the left-most chain. Tyler's got a clearer view, a straddle out right. He steps up... left side chains as well.
Leaves me with a 21 foot putt. The exact range I step up to pre-round to "make everything" to get my confidence up. But in this situation, honestly, my heart is in my throat. And then it pops into my head. On the way up the fairway Barsby, Addiego, and myself had been singing "What is Love" (like from the SNL skit) bobbing our heads like idiots. It popped into my head and everything else disappeared, just cleared out... no joke. Stepped up and dropped it in. Probably the most amazing feeling of my short disc golf career. Tyler and Gregg are on any given day way better golfers than me. They played fantastic tournaments, on the whole we all averaged around 1013 rated golf throughout the regulation rounds.
I've been typing this entry up for a little while now and I still can't believe I won. Everything is paralleling my ascent in advanced last year (win a small one in Norwalk against small competition, win a big one in Norwalk against real competition). I can only hope it continues to parallel it (start proving I can win elsewhere). I came in with $540. Barsby and Tyler split $650 between themselves.
Anyway, thats that. Thats a long entry. I'm tired, its been a long day. If you've bothered to read all of that I'm pretty amazed. I guess I do churn out pretty novelette sized entries after every single tourney. Anyway, yep. I'm dead.
*crashes out face first*
(I'll probably post something with some cool moments from the tourney and camping out tomorrow or something)