Can you find this year's USADGC winner in this photo?
Today was check-in and doubles day at the USADGC. Weather turned out to be pleasant considering the gloom and doom threats regularly updated in the weather forecasts. The field this year is solid. No player is being declared the prohibitive favorite like David Wiggins Jr in 2010. Continuing the tradition, players will be grouped in the first round based on their player ratings with the top rated players going of first at 7:30am. However, breaking from tradition due to popular request and support of TD Phil Shelton, the second round pairings will be done in the standard way where players will be ranked and grouped by their first round scores with the top players teeing off last.
The course was closed to casual players today so the entrants could practice and doubles teams get around the course. This player is straining to make the tough and powerful turnover typically seen on hole 1.
Another tradition is the outstanding USADGC graphic carved in the grass facing the players off the first tee. And for some players, throwing from within the letters will be necessary if the righties hyzer a little too far off the 17 tee seen in the distance.
Doubles action today had 18 teams tee it up. This player has a tricky flick shot around the brush protecting the target on hole 14.
After 18 holes three teams were tied for 6th in the last "cash" position which means "discs" at the USADGC. Only two of the three teams would earn their stack of discs. So we had the first of many tiebreak "lizard games" concocted by the Lizard Lawyer himself, Mark Ellis, shown in the middle. In this case, the tied teams had to blindly reach back to flip a mini in the cardboard box. All teams survived this challenge. The tie was finally broken with a 10-meter mini roller test.
Doubles results: 1st - Jason Labella-Mike Rabin (52), 2nd - Scott Ryther-David Gaulden (53), 3rd - Chris Kapitan Pierre Bowring (54), 4th - Joe Robinson-Mike Layer (56), 5th - Jessie Cahill-Scott Kanuth (57), 6th tie - Jeremy Johns-Josh Lowe (58), 6th tie - Collins nance-Joh McAskin (58).
Winners shown receiving their stack of discs from doubles TD Mark Ellis
Starting in 2011, even Amateur players have to pass the PDGA Officials test to play in Amateur Majors. Seven players hadn't completed the test online before arriving. So the written test was available at check-in. All seven passed and are ready for action Friday.
The Player Meeting meal at Holdens is the first of six meals provided free as part of your entry fee. After the buffet, TD Phil Shelton goes over the rules. As challenging as the Toboggan can be, there's virtually no OB and just three downhill par 3 holes 12, 14 & 16 have the 2-meter rule in effect.
Shortly after the TDs remarks, the annual kraziness of mini lizard games takes off in Holden's backyard. Over 70 Discraft discs were given away as prizes for various versions of CTP competitions with Discraft minis. In this particular game, players had to land their mini in the shallow turtle lid on top of the target from 'very roughly' 10 meters away.
After all the disc CTPs were given away, many players headed out for a good night's sleep. And we know many also got the party started. Maybe some drifted off dreaming about coming into hole 18 on Sunday and making that final putt to win the 2011 USADGC. Should be a great battle ahead.