I arrived in Victoria on Friday, mid-day and set-up my campsite. The weather was sunny and breezy, so I lounged in my hammock till 2:30 before pulling out my disc bag. I walked directly to Hole 1 and enjoyed the view; the grounds were freshly cut and the park was in good order.
Since this was my 3rd round in nearly two months, I started with a long warm-up before stepping up to the tee. My injury is about 60% healed and I am just beginning to throw backhand drives with mild discomfort, but still no forehands. Throughout my practice round of 21 holes I was impressed with my power and control. I finished up with a cool-down exercise and stretch, then settled in for the night.
I started on hole 4, which is a 240′ straight and fairly open hole. First to tee, I didn’t feel nervous but I also didn’t feel relaxed, I felt very robotic. I went neatly through my swing and launched my putter on a line drive that finished 30′ long of the pin. I didn’t make a deuce and had to settle for par. I relaxed on the way to hole 5 and the round flowed very well for the next 7 holes.
I picked up a random bogey midway through the round when my drive deflected off a ghost limb and went directly O.B left. I birded the next 3 holes and was back on track. I felt good coming down the stretch and wanted to press a little harder on my drive on hole 19, which is perhaps the most difficult par 4 at this park. I over powered the disc on my drive, too flat of an angle, and finished long in the rough, right of the fairway. I wasn’t able to advance the fairway very far and was left with just under 200′ to the pin. I lofted my approach at chain height but missed a foot early and landed 15′ left down a small ditch. I missed this putt and made a bogey 5. I birdied the next hole.
With two to play I was on my last par 4, hole 2. The wind wasn’t right for the roller disc I had in my bag but I didn’t want to switch to another shot. I put down a decent roller but I knew the outcome likely to follow my shot. My disc pushed slowly left of the fairway and curled out of bounds pin high left. Another bogey… I finished out with a birdie then turned in my score card.
Overall the round was a success, but I couldn’t believe how greedy I had been, especially since this was my first tourney round and I thought my injury and lack of practice would have handicapped my ability to score some.
I enjoyed another cool-down, then had some lunch. I lounged in my hammock for a bit then got up 30 min before round 2. Wow! My shoulder was in knots: stiff and aching! I had limited range of motion and my arm was hurting, too. I took some Ibuprofen and went to my hole.
Tied with Casey Wright (a former student of mine) for the lead, I started with a warm-up and stretching then threw a few putter shots. I couldn’t shake loose and suffered when we reached our first par 4. I lost control of my drive and it almost reached O.B left, which is over 150′ left from center fairway. :-( I manged to recover on my approach and collected birdie. Immediately after I putted out, I went off the green and dropped into a few push-ups then some deep stretching. My next few holes were decent, minus a 22′ missed putt. I went big on hole 15, which is a long par 4, and played a very aggressive roller that landed on a perfect power angle. My disc touched a piece of poured concrete down the fairway, which kicked it into the air and left O.B.
Several places in my body felt like a painful bowl of jello after my power roller on 15. I had little control over my shots afterwards and I missed chances at birdie on my next 8 holes, also carding two more bogies. This round was a surprise because I had kept up my fitness over the off period: not throwing shots with my right hand; plenty of muscle building exercises; lots of cardio on my road bike. I didn’t expect to be aching or sore after 2.5 rounds of golf!
I finished off the evening with a nice dinner then walked the park with Casey. It was fun catching up with him, we talked for a few hours then I went to bed.
I woke up and didn’t feel too bad. It rained some during the night and the park was damp and smothered in a heavy fog. The bugs were out and swarming. I had a slow warm-up and a few putts. My body and game seemed decent and I felt like I could compete. Our card started on hole 2 and I wanted to play a safe shot down the middle. I slowed my swing down in response to the idea of playing it safe… I wouldn’t even call what happened a throw. My disc basically air balled off the court left, O.B. I saved bogey and woke-up. I carded birdie on my next 4 holes. I had a chance for another birdie but missed the 30′ putt.
My round came to a crashing halt on hole 11. I was last to putt and was faced with a 15′ putt for deuce. My mouth was full of raw green beans (ask me why) so I stopped chewing and calmed myself before I putted. I placed my disc center height into the chains but 1″ left of center pole and this was all it took for my disc to get rejected out of the chains and back to me. I went O.B on 3 of my next 5 holes and I finished without any more birdies.
I went to lunch and had time to think over my last 3 rounds. This was about the time I experienced mental fatigue. I felt the discomfort in my body and began to dwell on how disgusted I was. I could only think of my arrogance and how greedily I had played those rounds. I was angry for not having set a game plan for this event. My best events are those that are assessed and governed by a plan prior to the start of round 1. The final 9 was my last shot.
We started on hole 6, which is a fairly easy par 4. I lost control of my drive and Casey sent one a little offline as well. His upshot was a bit right and mine was short. He made a great putt and I completely air-balled. Hole 7 was a safari style hole playing to hole 10’s pin. Casey played a very smart shot to set up a big drive over the O.B. I played super aggressive and buried my drive into the first tree. I was first to play my approach and I threw a low skip off the road back into the fairway. My disc hit a wooden parking pylon, which kicked my disc backward and into the O.B. Casey surprisingly yanked his 2nd shot directly O.B which never came back into play. I carded 5 and he a 6.
Our next hole I sent my drive directly down the fairway just 15′ left of the pin. My disc caught the bottom left of a tree, right where the little curve starts and my disc rolled out to 30′. I missed this putt. The next two holes are “everyone gets a deuce” holes except Casey misses one of these. With 3 holes to play we are back to being tied. I decide this is the time for me to make a run for the win. I prepared for my Tee shot and smashed a perfect fairway driver center cut. Surprisingly my fairway driver lands long of the pin, about 25′. My disc is pinned up on a tree and I’m left with a straddle putt. I hit the yellow band high, left and on spike hyzer… what a joke! Casey makes a nice putt from about the same distance and takes the lead. With 3 holes to play we are left with a par 4, a bonus deuce and a “must get” birdie.
We both land our drives down the fairway and in position for birdie upshots. Casey leaves his 2nd shot a little short and about 28′ left of the pin. I’m parked and this is the moment where a player has to decide if he came here to win or fail like a chump. Casey makes his decision… and it was to WIN! A perfect putt was tossed into the chains to hold a one throw lead. The next hole plays about 480′ dead straight and slightly uphill. Casey absolutely parks his Tee shot. I’m shaken up and release my shot about 9′ too low of an ideal height and I run into the uphill slope of the green and have a 65′ putt. I leave it short and Casey walks into our last hole with the Win 99% secured.
His sidearm lands a bit short, maybe 40′ short of the pin. My only chance is for Ace and Casey a par. I’m thinking ace, but when I throw it’s all robotic and I throw my shot straight to the pole. Casey chips under the Pin and takes a big stepping stone Win for his career in Disc Golf.
My morning walk to the toilet was rather unpleasant. My body aches all over and surprisingly my feet too. It seems the calluses on my feet have softened and boy do they hurt from grinding them on concrete for 4 rounds. Looking back, I’m pleased to say the things I was able to do correctly with my swing were very good, I think better than ever before. I’ve learned that playing rounds is much more important than fitness off the course. I look forward to getting into “Disc Golf Shape” before my next event. I also learned that I was very glad to have someone like Casey pushing so hard during those rounds. He grinds out mistakes and makes the most out of his opportunities. I think I will learn much more from our coming battles because I expect this type of battle to be more and more common this year.