The Green Milo
It is time again for one of the most highly anticipated events of the season; the Beaver State Fling presented by Keen and Next Adventure. The Stumptown Disc Golf crew and the Oregon State park system have consistently put on an outstanding event for years, and this year is no exception. Co-tournament directors Jeff Hagerty and Jeff Mittl spare no expense when it comes to ensuring a memorable experience for all involved in the event. The exclusive registration process of the Fling produces one of the most highly-skilled fields throughout the national tour season. In the open division, the average player rating is right around 1000. In the women’s division, there are 24 competitors. With the points race tight going into this seventh event of the National Tour Elite Series presented by Vibram, each stroke counts as the players fight for the Drive for the Championship.
Milo McIver State Park is the gem of the Oregon State Park system. Surrounded by the picturesque beauty of the Clackamas River and the towering evergreen trees of this old-growth forest, the east and west Riverbend disc golf courses are challenging, even to the game’s brightest stars. Both courses provide a unique challenge to the competitors by demanding all shot types and an intense mental game. Staying composed and focused is a priority, as the sheer natural beauty of the surroundings is enough to distract even the fiercest competitor. With such a huge and talented field in attendance, there is a definite potential for fireworks.
The weather couldn’t have been better for the first day of the event, and the prime conditions produced some pretty hot scores. David Feldberg played solid and jumped out to an early lead today, after posting the low round for both of the first two rounds, landing him at a score of 20 under par. Nipping at his heels and just one stroke back is Will Schusterick. 2012 Player of the Year Ricky Wysocki is only 2 behind Will, and there are several players just a few strokes off of the lead card. With two more rounds of golf to play at a complex like this, one that is littered with OB and dangerous rough, it is still anyone’s game.
In the Master’s division, a familiar face is atop the leaderboard. Ken Climo is again showcasing why he is nicknamed “The Champ”. He ripped off a pair of 54’s today, two rounds of seven under the course pars of 61. Four-time World putting champion Jay “Yeti” Reading is four behind Kenny at -10. Not a surprise, as being able to sink long putts is crucial if you want to go low at these courses. Patrick Brown and Kevin Couch round out the top card as we move on to round three.
The real story of the day belonged to the women’s division. 24 women are battling for the crown, and the field is nothing short of impressive. A majority of the world’s best female golfers attacked the courses today, and after the dust had cleared, Sarah Cunningham sits comfortably above the rest, with an astonishing total of 123, only one stroke over par. She would be right in the thick of things if she decided to play in the Open or Master’s division this year, but alas, she will have to settle for the overnight lead in the Female Open class. Sarah doesn’t play many large events, but when she does, she is almost always one of the favorites. Her last NT event was the Hall of Fame Classic at the IDGC in Appling, GA, and she dominated the field. Desperately trying not to let that happen again is Paige Pierce, who is two behind Cunningham after the demanding first day. Des Reading is one behind Paige, and an intimidating trio of Valarie Jenkins, Sarah Hokom and Catrina Ulibarri are right behind Des. We could see an incredibly tight race to the finish.
Who will wind up on top? Check back in on pdga.com for all the updates, highlights, and live scoring. For a full recap of today’s scores, click here. Also, be sure to check out photos of today’s action on Flickr. Stay tuned…it’s gonna be a close one!