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First area pro disc golf tournament at Regional Park

DARIN OLDE, Sierra Sun

They arrived from all over the western United States.

Players from Hawaii, Texas, Colorado, Oregon, Wyoming, and Northern California congregated at the Truckee Regional Park last weekend for the area’s first-ever Professional Disc Golf Tournament.

“It was just a little bit short of perfect,” said tournament director David Pollock. With 81 participants, just three players short of the maximum 84 allotted for the tournament, the tournament is being heralded as a major success. “Everybody was happy. The club has made a lot of progress at the course and I think everybody noticed that,” Pollock said.

Assistant tournament director, and Truckee Disc Golf Club president, Paul Dillon said he was overwhelmingly pleased with the condition of the course, despite continued construction projects and ongoing efforts to improve the course.

“This is the first course I’ve played in California,” said Arnold Declercq from Hawaii, “and to tell you the truth… these guys put in one of the nicest courses I’ve seen. The level of difficulty is very challenging… Even the pros were having a hard time making it. But it’s very family friendly too. So you have different levels of play.”

Hosted by the Sports Exchange, and organized by the Lake Tahoe Disc Golf Series 2000 and the Truckee Disc Golf Club, the tournament attracted players of all ages and abilities.

The event began early Saturday morning, July 22, with a continental breakfast. The Junior, Intermediate/Amateur, Advanced/Master, and Pro Division players gathered at 9 a.m. for a meeting to discuss course guidelines, safety concerns, and amenities. Following the meetings, the discs took to the air. In groups of four, competitors completed two rounds of 21 holes, which lasted well into the afternoon and evening.

Although many of the participants were suffering from tired arms, on Sunday, July 23, the players gathered again at 8:45 a.m. to begin the last round of 21 holes. Except for the Junior and women’s divisions, the top one-third contenders of that round then played the final nine to determine overall finishers.

The event ended that evening with an awards/appreciation ceremony featuring Steve Randall, director of Truckee-Donner Park and Recreation District, a barbecue, and a for some, a concert at the Regional Park amphitheater.

The only Truckee local to compete in the pro division, Craig Getty took fifth place with a score of 206 in the Master’s category. Getty was doing well in the third round, recalled Pollock, before slipping back to fifth place in the final nine.

Perhaps the most exciting finish in the entire tournament, Truckee local Jeff Fillinger took first place in the Advanced category with a final score of 201, just one stroke ahead of Brian Johnstone.

“It was tied going into the final nine” Fillinger said. “Johnstone caught me on the last round; I shot 5 under he shot 7 under.”

“He was a really good sport,” Fillinger added. “He was right there pushing me the whole time, but he never took the lead. I was nervous, I thought he had me. We both bogeyed the second to last hole. He had a make-able shot for par, a good 20-footer [and missed] ..It was a critical moment in the game.”

Brian Babbit, another Truckee local, took seventh place in the advanced category with a score of 214. Judith Dwyer finished third in the women’s amateur division. For a complete list of final finishers, see The Score.

The tournament attracted 48 sponsors, and truck-loads of awards and prize money. The total pro purse topped $1,400, and the amateurs collected $3,298 in cash and awards.

Fillinger, the biggest winner of the event, took home a night’s stay at the Resort at Squaw Creek, a gift certificate at the Sports Exchange, cash, and disc golf accessories which totaled more than $600.

Pollock said that the value of the prizes along with the cash came to $8,665, which was split among 81 participants, an average of $107 per player.

“Of the 300 or so disc golf events around the nation this year, this will probably be in the top 30 or 40 tournaments with the most to offer each player,” Pollock said.

Prizes were given away for a number of achievements, not just the lowest score. Dillon said there were prizes for a hole in one, for the closest drive on certain holes, and more.

One player did receive a hole in one, and Pollock said that everybody in the tournament gave the player $5. It’s not a mandatory thing, he said, but most of the players did participate.

“I think what everybody enjoyed most was the immediate facilities,” reflected Pollock. “Everything was next to the river. People were having a blast swimming or tubing down the river in the awards ceremony and raffle. The barbecue and festivities were great. We really want to thank the Park and Recreation department for their support. We can’t thank them enough.”

The Lake Tahoe series finals will take place this October in Truckee. For more information about the Lake Tahoe Disc Golf series see http://www.tahoedisc.com


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