The 2014 USADGC Champion - Colten Montgomery
After three days of battling on the Toboggan Championship course in Michigan, the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship presented by Discraft has come to an end. Even with the drastic makeover that the course took in the months leading up to the event, the scores remained much the same as they were in the years prior. In the end, it was consistent smart golf that took home the gold.
Colten Montgomery #35876 is a 20 year old disc golfer from Longmont, CO. He's not new to high stakes golf by any means. He finished second place in the 19 & Under division at the 2013 PDGA Amateur World Championships in Emporia, KS after shooting the hot round during the semi-finals, unofficially rated at 1037, and the hot round again for the finals. He's also played in the Open division several times, and played well enough to cash.
Colten started the final day on the lead card and demonstrated from the get-go that he deserved to be there. He was joined by Tony Maccarino #32685, George Beno #49225, and 16 year old local forehand fanatic Andrew Kaluk #35027. Colten started the day at the bottom of the lead card, down by three strokes to Maccarino. That lead wouldn't last very long. Colten came out strong, carding birdies on holes 2, 3, and 6 to round out a bogey free front nine.
Colten was making moves but George Beno was doing everything he could to keep up. Beno also shot a bogey free front nine with a birdie on hole two, leaving him down by just a single stroke to start the back nine. Hole 10 is an uphill dogleg right par 3 that requires a huge arm to end up in putting range. Beno pulled it off with a giant anyhyzer backhand and took the only birdie on the hole. With eight holes to go, there was now a tie for the lead.
Colten regained the lead on hole 11 with the only birdie on the card and never looked back. After everything calmed down around the time of the awards ceremony, I was able to get a few words out of Colten about the round. Amongst other things, I asked him if there was any point during the round where he knew he was going to win, or when he at least thought that he could.
"I never knew I was going to win but I think it was after I hit that 70 foot jump putt for birdie on hole 13, when I saw Beno end up with a par, that I started to feel like it was my tournament to lose."
That putt gave Colten a three stroke lead with five holes to go. He never stopped smiling the rest of the round. What he didn't know at the time was how close Ronald Bieberitz #42564 was to catching up to him from the chase card. In the final few holes, you could hear the gallery whispering about the round that Bieberitz was having as they watched the hole-by-hole scores come in on PDGALive.com. By hole 11 he had already tied it up with Beno for second place, giving him plenty of time to catch Colten for the lead. In the end, Bieberitz would tie with Beno for second place two strokes behind Colten.
Last but not least, we can't say enough about the tournament staff. As if running this event isn't stressful enough, imagine running the Discraft Great Lakes Open, a PDGA A-tier with hundreds of competitors, one week before the USADGC. Not many people could pull that off, and pull it off with such spectacular results. John Minicuci #22116 spent the last two weeks as tournament director for these two huge events and as we pulled out of the parking lot yesterday he said, "...and I have to run a league tomorrow with 120 people!". He's truly a mad man, but you gotta love him. He put together a staff of co-TDs and volunteers that will likely go unmatched all year.
Congratulations to Colten Montgomery #35876 for his impressive victory at the 2014 United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship presented by Discraft and to all the other competitors for qualifying for one of the most prestigious events in disc golf today. Check the USADGC results page to see how everyone finished and take a look at all the high resolution photos from the weekend on the PDGA Flickr page.