There's Floodin' Down In Texas
Have you ever been accused of bringing bad weather with you everywhere you go? We have, and we’re on the verge of actually believing it. At the Memorial Championships, the final round was nearly delayed because of torrential downpour that flooded several of the holes at Fountain Hills. A few weeks later at the Texas State Championships, it was so windy that players were opting to lay up their putts even though they were only 10 feet from the chains. When we returned to Texas this past weekend for the 2014 Amateur Doubles World Championships, we wondered if our bad weather curse would continue. Unfortunately for us and for the players, it did.
We arrived at Selah Ranch in Mt. Vernon, TX on Thursday afternoon and joined the already hard-at-work crew of staff and volunteers that were prepping the player packs and dressing up the courses. The sky grew darker as the hours passed and we were advised not to set up any of our tents because severe thunderstorms were expected that evening. When the storm arrived they were powerful enough to produce two small tornadoes in the Mt. Vernon area.
The following morning, wind damage from the storm was visible all over Selah Ranch. Dozens of trees succumbed to the powerful gusts and had fallen onto fairways, walking paths, and buildings. As if there wasn’t enough to do already on Friday, a serious course cleanup was now necessary just one day before the start of the event. Everyone put in the extra hours required for the cleanup effort and the tournament started up on Saturday morning just a few minutes behind schedule. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of what our bad weather curse would bring, but we'll get to that later.
Weather wasn't the only issue of the weekend as speed of play and scheduling conflicts affected the tournament as well. Teams were divided into five different pools and over the course of two days they would be scheduled to play four different championship level courses: Selah Ranch Creekside; Selah Ranch Lakeside; Trey Deuce; and Texas Twist. The teams had to face these challenging courses while playing multiple doubles formats: Best Shot, Best Disc, Alternating Shot, and the most brutal form of disc golf doubles, Worst Shot. Doubles events around the country often mislabel a round as Worst Shot when they actually are playing Tough Shot. If you’re playing the true Worst Shot format, both players have to hole out. If one player makes the putt and the other does not, then both players must try play from where the missed putt was and give it another go. In this format, hitting an ace would be bittersweet, because your partner would also have to ace for it to count.
Competitors teed off as early as 7:30AM on Saturday morning to start off the 2014 Amateur World Doubles Championships. Unfortunately, 7:30AM wasn't early enough. The first of 4 rounds scheduled for the Lakeside course at Selah Ranch was slightly delayed causing a ripple effect that would eventually lead to more delays. The schedule was extremely tight and allowed zero room for error. By the end of the day, the E pool (Advanced Masters, Advanced Grandmasters, Advanced Senior Grandasters, and Advanced Legends) ran out of daylight at Selah Ranch and play was suspended until the following morning. Instead of teeing off at 9:00AM on Sunday at Trey Texas Ranch, the E pool players would have to return to Selah at 7:00AM to finish whatever holes remained on their suspended round.
By 5:30AM on Sunday morning, anyone that was staying on or near Selah Ranch would wake up to either the monstrous bolts of lightning or the booming thunder that followed, or both. By 6:15AM, we had already called what would be the first of many lightning delays. Selah Ranch managed to avoid severe weather for the majority of the day but because of the early morning lightning delay the E pool wouldn't start their suspended play round until 7:30AM. Just 20 miles away at Trey Texas Ranch, the story gets much worse.
The D pool (Intermediate) was set to tee off at 7:30AM at Trey Deuce. Due to the weather, several teams dropped out of the event before play began. Normally this isn't a problem but a majority of them left without notifying the tournament staff which led to another delayed start of about 20 minutes. Nevertheless, off they went into the pouring rain. Just 45 minutes later, lightning forced us to bring them all back in. This pattern would continue for hours. By 10:00AM the small saloon that was serving as tournament central was filled to the brim with players from the D pool, E pool, and C pool, all waiting to play either Trey Deuce or Texas Twist. The rain pummeled the courses and lightning was continuously preventing the rounds from resuming, or in the case of the C and E pools, from beginning.
We constantly monitored the courses at Trey Texas Ranch throughout the day and with each passing hour their condition grew worse and worse. By the time the lightning was no longer a threat, it was too late. Several holes of Trey Deuce and Texas Twist were completely unplayable. The tournament staff were forced to make several necessary but unfortunate decisions. The top 6 teams from the C pool would return to Selah Ranch for the finals where the weather was rainy, but playable. The Advanced Masters and Advanced Grandmasters, who had arrived to Trey Texas Ranch just a few hours prior, would do the same. The entire D pool, the Advanced Senior Grandmasters, and the Advanced Legends would be done for the day, and thus done for the tournament, after playing only two rounds of disc golf. It was something that tournament directors never want to do, especially at a PDGA Major event.
Darkness grew closer and closer as those playing in the finals were finishing their rounds. A tie for first place in the Intermediate division even forced a playoff that eventually required flashlights and the light from a golf cart’s headlights just to finish. When it was all said and done, the 2014 Amateur World Doubles Championships had crowned several new world champion teammates, but some divisions were not surprisngly disappointed in how the tournament came to an end for them.
The Advanced division was split between the A and B pools, with the Advanced Women in the B pool with the men. They were the only two pools lucky enough to finish all four of their rounds, as their final two rounds were at the lightning-free Selah Ranch courses. In the end, Addison Collins #54624 and Ryan Draper #55587 would join Andrea Wetter #47179 and Hali Torres #56845 as the amateur world doubles champions in the advanced divisions.
I had a chance to speak with Addison and Ryan after the round and asked what separated them from the the rest of the field. Ryan said, "I think we hit our lines on the tight tunnel shots really well all weekend. We were never really deep in the woods or rough. We can both throw long and we have lefty and righty covered. So pretty much any shot we needed, we had covered. We played great partner golf and pulled each other out of our mistakes all weekend." Addison added, "We knew each other's shots. We talked about our shots every time before we threw to make sure we made the right move. We just played great partner golf."
Every well-run tournament needs a high quality roster of staff and volunteers. We owe a huge debt to all of the volunteers and the staff involved at this event, many of which suffered through cold temperatures, high winds, all while wearing soaking wet clothes. We also want to specifically thank the entire crew from Straight Line Discs for stepping up and helping out all weekend. Without their hard work, long hours, and dedication to the sport of disc golf, this tournament literally would not have been possible. Please check out the Straight Line Discs website and/or Facebook page for more information about who they are and the amazing event work they do.
Congratulations to all the winners and to anyone who made the effort to brave the elements throughout the weekend. Trophies were given to everyone listed below. Check out the PDGA Flickr page for high resolution images from the weekend and check the results page on PDGA.com to see all the team scores. The next PDGA Major, the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships, is less than two weeks away in Augusta, GA. Live streaming coverage of the event will be provided by Disc Golf Planet TV and live hole-by-hole scores will be up and running on PDGAlive.com. Stay tuned and as always, keep playing disc golf!
|1||Addison Collins and Ryan Draper||-30||246|
|2||Adam May and Jordan Castro||-25||251|
|3||Zach Doggett and Dylan Marez||-24||252|
|4||Adrian Cordova and Gabriel Molina||-19||257|
|4||Chanz Reeds and Kirk Trevena||-19||257|
|1||Hali Torres and Andrea Wetter||-12||264|
|2||Lauren Sheppard and Maria Oliva||-9||267|
|3||Ginger Bowman and Michele Williams||+18||294|
|1||Jeff Perrigo and Ray Brandon||-37||170|
|2||Ben Champion and David Gebhardt||-36||171|
|3||Adam Bailey and David Covalt||-27||180|
|3||Jerry Stoken and Stan Razmus||-27||180|
|1||Kevin Curran and Jack Tabor||-44||163|
|2||Marcus Erickson and Steve Payne||-33||174|
|3||Lloyd Sitkoff and Gary Duke||-18||189|
|4||Robert Hand and Leroy McNamer||-17||190|
Advanced Senior Grandmasters
|1||Barton Taylor and Charles Chung||+6||144|
|2||Vicente Trujillo and Rob Lee||+14||152|
|3||Jerry Tucker and Frank Markovich||+53||191|
|1||Frank Mitchell and Dan Norwood||+44||182|
|2||Donald Livingston and Gerald Duerksen||+49||187|
|1||Josh McVey and J.P. McVey||-8||199|
|2||Cody Kilgore and Randy Dixon||-8||199|
|3||Dusty Eubanks and Silas Grant||-6||201|
|4||Jordan Sellers and Jacob Martin||-3||204|
|5||Daniel Coll and Ron Sanders||-2||205|
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