Brinster Gets 1st Major


After Steve Brinster dropped in his final putt to secure a one stroke victory during the 15th USDGC finale, he let out an emphatic “Yeah! Yeah!” as if a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders.

Making big plays when he needed to, Brinster, of Warwick, N.Y., submitted a 62 (-5) to end at (-31) for the Championship and at long last shed his drought of major tournament victories.

“To finally get a win after 20 years of playing disc golf feels amazing. I’ve always had the game to do it,” said Brinster, who will no doubt relish his new found title of 2013 US Disc Golf Champion.

Others ending well include: 3-time US Champ Barry Schultz, of Louisburg, N.C., and Steve Rico, of Sylmar, Calif., both shot (-30) for second place. Max Nichols of Ramona, Calif., and 2005 US Champion Dave Feldberg of Scottsdale, Ariz., took 4th place with (-29). Defending US Champ Will Schusterick of Nashville and 2008 US Champion Nate Doss, of Capitola, Calif., tied for 6th at (-27).

Saturday’s path to the title was not an easy one.By the late afternoon the leaderboard was in complete chaos with players further back making eye-opening charges.

On the second card, Feldberg became a momentary leader as he scorched the course. But that came to an end when he met hole 18. A triple bogey ended any hopes of a come from behind victory and Feldberg had to settle with a 57 (-10) for the day.

Grouped with Feldberg, Schultz turned in a 58 (-9) and while he waited for the lead card to finish, Schultz watched as his standing got better. At one point he was tied for the lead and started thinking about a possible playoff.

“It’s a privilege having a chance after taking an 11 on that second day,” said Schultz referring to hole 13.

However, as the lead card neared the end it became clear it was up to Brinster and Schusterick.

Schusterick was on the move and was deadlocked with Brinster at the treacherous island hole 17. Then calamity struck Schusterick when he failed to land inside the island green twice. Schusterick finished with a 62 (-5) and seemed devastated that he’d let what could’ve been his third US Championship slip from his grasp.

Brinster, who made birdie on 17, then carefully traveled across hole 18 for the win.

Doss was looking strong all day until he reached what became his nemesis of the week, hole 13. After taking an 8 and a 6 on the hole during round one and two respectively, he scored a 10 on it Saturday. Doss admitted that it might have been a mistake to stay aggressive on the hole, but in the end he was at peace with his performance.

“I did what I thought was right at the time and so be it,” said Doss.

Overall, Doss felt proud of his USDGC effort and said he’s going to work hard in the offseason to return in good form.

Steve Brinster’s wife, Lesli, and their 14-month-old twin children were in attendance for much of the event. When asked how he’d explain his major achievement to his kids when they’re grown enough to understand, he replied, “Hopefully I can get a couple more (majors) and they will be able to remember it.”

His biggest supporter, Lesli, knew full well the significance of his win. At each of Brinster’s past USDGC’s, she’s hoped it would be his time. It finally happened, it just took several tries.

“I couldn’t be happier for him. He works so hard on and off the course,” said Lesli Brinster.

Though McBeth may not have collected his Grand Slam, he did collect a new course record of 52 (1094-rated), thanks to a new approach to the course that went straight at its jugular. 53 was the previous record held by Schusterick, Josh Anthon, Jussi Meresmaa and Brinster.

“Now that I know how to play this course, it’s kept in the back of my mind to stay aggressive out here,” said McBeth, indicating he was ready for another crack at Winthrop.

Playing in a handful of masters events this year, Schultz proved this week he can still hang with anybody.

“This course doesn’t really know how old you are when the disc is in the air or when it’s hitting the chains,” said Schultz.

Soon after completing the final hole Brinster thanked all of his supporters for rooting for him all of these years. Many of the tour players gathered around seemed to really appreciate the significance of the moment for Brinster.

“It was great to see Steve Brinster win. He’s a true competitor,” said Doss.

— Todd Harrell