Braving Bowers Park
The Tuscaloosa Pro Classic, held November 16-17, 2013 at Bowers Park with a pro purse of over $3,000, drew a level of talent better than any PDGA B-Tier event in Alabama. Returning Champion Cameron Colglazier and Will Schusterick, along with 6x Northern California Player of the Year Gregg Barsby, made for a strong Men's Open Division. Local phenom Stewart Garner, of the University Of Alabama Men's Disc Golf Team, represented the local Tuscaloosa Disc Golf Club.
Bowers Park is a unique challenge to competitors. Drives off the tee have to be precise to navigate the courses' many elevation changes, old growth trees and tight windows. An errant drive could make par a tough proposition on the narrow fairways.
As the tournament's main sponsor, the Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports Commission, (TTSC) has worked diligently to position Tuscaloosa as a destination for future PDGA events. Utilizing Tourism Enhancement Funds to develop disc golf, Bowers Park has seen significant improvements this year. Development of two new disc golf courses this year at Palmore Park & Ol' Colony Golf Complex furthered this initiative.
"We are committed to positioning Tuscaloosa as a destination for Professional Disc Golf, as this sport is only growing and is relatively inexpensive to develop the proper facilities. We are certain that the economic impact from being involved will be fairly significant. This fits right in line with our mission; we are excited and honored to be a part of a team to help bring those tournaments to our community. They have already experienced first-hand the “spirit, energy, and passion” of our community."
-Susan C. West, CEO/President
Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports Commission
Saturday's play was close with Will Schusterick’s smooth 1042 rated round of 47 (-8) leading the field. Returning Champion, Cameron Colglazier's 1033 rated round of 48 (-7) fell just short of the lead. Gregg Barsby finished at (-2) 52 the first round. Stewart Garner kept pace with the first round leaders, scoring a (-1), 54.
"Saturday was my first impression of Bowers Park. I was impressed by how fast the course has developed from what some other people were saying about it earlier this year. It is definitely a tough course that will test all aspects of your game; Bowers is a great example of how disc golf courses should be designed, at least in the length aspect of it."
- Will Schusterick
Second round scores were much closer, with Barsby, Colglazier, Schusterick all shooting (-5) under par 50's.
Sunday's final round began in the woods on Hole 5, appropriately named "Mordor". Schusterick began with a bogey and then a few errant drives that put him five strokes off the lead and he was unable to recover. The Black Tees proved difficult with a course SSA of 58.7 on this Par 60 Black Tee setup.
Colglazier pulled away by the ninth hole with an incredible score of 25 on the front nine. Friday's practice session definitely made an impact for Cameron Colglazier who scorched the black tees on Sunday with a (-7), 53, declaring him the winner. Schusterick, Barsby and Garner were unable to keep pace as they shot (+1) 61, (0) 60, (0) 60 respectively.
"The black, (pro) tees make it seem like a new course to me. I had to adjust some of my lines from the Spring tournament for the Black tees. It's really nice to play a tightly wooded course. The black tees are very challenging, hit one tree and you could be in trouble. I enjoy playing these tighter courses...I think they really suit my style of play"
- Cameron Colglazier
Who better to give insight on the level of play by the scoring leaders at the Tuscaloosa Classic than PDGA Hall of Fame Member, Tom Monroe?
"I would say that this generation of golfers throws further and putts better than the golfers of the 80's. There seem to be more thin, lanky, long arms out there now. To be among the top players it is almost mandatory to be able to throw 400' with accuracy and hit 50' putts.
Of course, 20 years from now, it will probably be all different again."
- Tom Monroe, PDGA #33
1993 PDGA World Champion