Masters Cup 2009: after 56 holes

First of all, we’re down to the last 28 holes. One more round, and so far no aspect of the tourney has been a disappointment. The weather continues to warm (if anything it’s been too warm), with wind a non-factor today. The course – despite the gorgeous conditions – isn’t giving up outrageously low scores (less than 20 percent of the Open division is under par). And the final round features a top group of Greg Barsby, Nate Doss, Nikko Locastro, and Ken Climo, all either -12 or -11. Within striking distance are Josh Anton, Kyle Crabtree, Stevie Rico, John Child, and Dave Feldberg.

I’t be great to see Nate Finally win on the course where he grew up, but more than anything I’m looking forward to a close finish no matter who wins. Now on to what really matters. Me! : )
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I’m at +6, tied for 8th in the Masters division (35 players), 12 strokes outta the lead.

I can play better, but with only three birdies and nine single bogeys I’m at least sticking to the gameplan and not giving strokes away. Not too many, anyway. What’s hurt me more than anything else is not birdying the three shorts holes on the course (8a, 17, and 21) except for one on 21. But all in all, considering the game I’ve showed up with Friday and Today, +6 ain’t too bad. I’ve hit every putt inside 30 feet except one, so now all I have to do is get a few of those looks for birdie rather than par! Now it’s time for a hot tub, another beer, sleep . . . then 28 more holes.

Masters Cup 2009:

The pro Masters Cup starts tomorrow, and I feel like I have two persona’s this year. While I’ve played in the event for many, many years, this is the first year I’ve been involved in running it in a major way. After all this time, and finally seeing what’s involved in pulling off a major tournament like the Masters Cup, I felt guilty.

For those that don’t know, some serious volunteer hours get put in to pull off an event that spans two 3-day weekends and includes more than 300 players. Unlike other courses, we get no assistance from the city or county when it comes to course maintenance, so all those lumpy hillsides that get mowed and weed-whacked are mowed and weed-whacked by volunteer disc golfers! Add to that the coordination with sponsors and the PDGA, communication to players, assembly of the players packs . . . . . I could go on and on, but you get the picture. People like Daviar, Stan Pratt, Marty Hapner, Katie Beckett, the guys at DGA . . . they deserve tons of credit.

Anyway, it makes this year feel different than years past. But it’s Thursday night, and my volunteer work should be done now. From now until my last putt on Sunday, I’m just another competitor. And like all the past years, I have a strategy to get my best game to show up for three straight 4.5 hour rounds on three straight days. Here it is, in a nutshell:

  1. As always, focus on nothing but what it takes to execute the next shot. All the other stuff – the score, the magintude of the event, what the other guys are doing – only detracts from the shot at hand.
  2. Stick to my gameplan of settling for par on most holes, picking up birdies where they present themselves. No matter how things start, or what unforseen disasters occur, I’ll stick to the plan. Last year I was cold for three straight rounds, and by sticking to the plan I still cashed.
  3. Treat my old bones with care. Ice the arm right after the round, soak in the hot tub Friday and Saturday nights, limit the alcohol, and get enough sleep.

We’ll see how it goes, but the key is #1 above. I play my best when I’m totally absorbed in the moment, in the shot. I need to play disc golf in a vaccuum.

Am Masters Cup Pictures

I now have the pictures I snapped online for your viewing and printing pleasure. Here is the link:

Masters Cup 2009

The Amateur weekend of the Masters Cup just concluded, and I was up at the course helping out for most of the three-day event. I learned plenty watching the Ams (all but eight of them, who DNF’d likely due to the rain) play three rounds that took 5-plus waterlogged hours to finish. By the way, none of the DNF’ers were women, despite the fact that they’re getting around the course in more throws on average than their male counterparts.

I also got a reminder that there is a whole other (albeit lower) competitive level to our sport, and they take their games as seriously as those of us who plan in Open divisions. In fact, in some ways they’re probably better at keeping things in perspective than us, since no disc golfer yet has been able to make a true living playing the sport. What I saw was a group of people that were able to play with a burning desire to do well, but quickly settle for having a good time while on vacation when Plan A fell through. The only really despondent souls I came across were locals, and I’ve been there before. You look forward to the big A tour event on your home course for months, and when you don’t do well, it sucks. The best I ever finished in Santa Cruz as an Am was 8th, I think, even in the year (1998) that I won several times in the NorCal series. Playing a PDGA tourney – especially one as big as the Masters Cup – takes a whole different approach, but that’s a subject for a different day. Some other observations:

  • Am and Pro events different in several ways. One is how long the rounds take. Am rounds take longer because the players need more throws to complete the round, in turn because they are less skilled. But they also don’t know the rules as well, which leads to discussions about rulings and more fun stuff. And now with the newer high-tech plastic, they can throw their errant shots further as well!
  • We’ve always tried different things to lure Am players into the ‘Pro’ ranks . . . how about round times? I think if the Open players had played this weekend, the rounds would have been between 4.5 and 5 hours, rather than between 5.5 and 6 hours.
  • I watched many throws over the course of three days, and had the oppontunity to give many eager listeners tips on DeLa. What I was this weekend reinforced my belief that – for someone of my skill level and questionable power- playing for safe par on most holes is the best way to ensure a good, strong placing.