A Fight to the Finish
Today was Day 1 at the 2013 United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship presented by Discraft, and you could cut the tension with a knife. A very difficult task was in front of the 143 player field. For some, it would be their first time competing in an event of this size, while for others, it is the last step before setting off on their professional disc golf campaign. The Toboggan course, located in beautiful Kensington Metropark in Milford, MI is truly one of the game’s most difficult courses. Kensington Park is huge, nearly 5000 acres, and the holes at the Toboggan are just as big. The course has a total length of just less than 9000 feet, and there is plenty of elevation change. Because the course doubles as a winter ski and sledding area, complete with a toboggan run, several fairways are sloped considerably. A player can throw 600 feet downhill on one hole, and then be tested to throw over 300 feet up an incline on the next. A true challenge for players of any skill level.
But we are talking about the game’s best amateur field. The competitors of the USADGC had to qualify at one of several preliminary events, ensuring that all of the most skilled athletes were in attendance. We have seen some stars emerge after winning the USADGC; Blaine Kinkel, Adam Olsen, Daemon Stahling, and David Wiggins, Jr to name a few. Participating in the field this year are many capable individuals, including a lone female, Michigan’s own Kelsey Brakel, who sits comfortably and impressively at +2 in 46th place. Tee times encouraged a tight competition, as pairings were based on individual player ratings.
The USADGC has a reputation for close finishes; we have seen four playoffs in the 11 year history of this outstanding event, and last year’s winner, Ted Stoebling, won by only one stroke. This year is shaping up to be much the same. After one round, we have a lock at the top. Virginia’s Austin Pfaff came into the event as one of the highest rated players, earning him a spot on the lead card this morning. Only a few cards back was Minnesota native Raymond Oberley, Jr. Both young men stayed steady and solid, as they weaved their way through the trees and up and down the slopes, cruising to a scorching hot score of 56, six under the course par of 62. Samuel Smith, a local boy from Inkster, Michigan, stands alone in third just one shot back. Behind them are a slew of players, 13 to be exact, within 5 shots of the lead. It’s anyone’s game going into the weekend.
A big shout out goes out to all of the tournament staff. Discraft is known for running great events, and this year is no different. Tournament Director John Minicuci is backed by decades of disc golf experience, and together they are providing a tournament atmosphere that is nothing short of fantastic. Be sure to stay abreast of all the tournament happenings this weekend by checking out pdga.com and usadgc.com, and check out photos from day one on Flickr by clicking here. For a complete listing of scores and round two tee times, click here. Stay tuned as the drama of the weekend unfolds!