The 4th Annual Magnolia Open came to a close yesterday at the International Disc Golf Center in Appling, GA. We had 31 ladies in attendance this year and are sure to double in size next year after this weekend’s success.
The IDGC was dressed to the nines for the ladies arrival. Thanks to Alan Kane, Jason Allind, Noel Leseueur, Mom and Old Man Wallis for setting up the tournament registration area, beautifying the courses and adding those extra touches like the PDGA feather banners.
Most of the ladies arrived on Friday for check in and random draw doubles, led by Old Man Wallis. Following the doubles round some of the ladies went out for birthday dinners while other stayed behind for KanJam, Cornhole and Pizza. (Thanks to Autumn Grace for taking care of the pizza.)
The tournament kicked off with a 10:00am shot gun start on Saturday morning. Following Saturday’s second round there was more KanJam and Cornhole followed by a catered BBQ dinner from Mot’s BBQ sponsored by the IDGC. After dinner, our Karaoke DJ Jason Allind, rocked out some tunes for dancing and manned the Karaoke machine for hours, hooking the ladies up with all of their favorite numbers to sing. Luckily for the worn out competitors who stayed up and played most of the night, the Sunday portion of the tournament consisted of just one disc golf round.
Immediately following the Sunday round there was a Ring of Fire competition for additional prizes. Staying true to a tradition started at the 3rd Annual Magnolia Open, we held a standard Ring of Fire followed by a special mini basket ring of fire where the ladies used their mini marker discs and putted into a mini basket.
The disc golf action stayed interesting all weekend. There was never a dull moment when the win was just a few strokes away for most of our divisions all weekend. The Juniors, Recreational division, and Advanced Masters all had the biggest run away wins of the seven divisions.
Amateur Division Winners
In the Junior division, Victoria Scott moved up from the FJ4 (Girls under 10 division) to compete against Daryan Lopez in the FJ2 (Girls under 16 division). This was Daryan’s first tournament and she played hard all weekend. Victoria is a veteran player who won the SC Junior State Championships this year and placed 2nd in the PDGA World Championships event. Victoria’s experienced showed this weekend as she took first place in the event. Nice shooting to both our Junior competitors, we hope to have more young ladies join you next year.
Over in the Advanced Masters division, our second biggest win of the weekend, Heidi Schaffner took home the trophy with a 12 stroke victory over Sherri Tyler and Robyn Tindall. Lauren Bonine, traveling from Newport News, VA, took the Recreational division trophy by 8 strokes over Sydney Evans, who was the furthest traveler of the weekend coming all the way from Minnesota. The Recreational division was our biggest division with eight competitors. In the Intermediate Division, Erin Prescott, also from Newport News and returning for her second year to the Magnolia Open, took the win over local favorite Susan Leseueur by three strokes. Both ladies will be moving up to the Advanced division soon with their stellar disc golf play.
For the first time ever in the history of The Magnolia Open, we had an Advanced Grandmasters division which consisted of three ladies: Donna Stanley, Tracy Lacue and Diane McDaniel. These three ladies possibly had the most fun of any of the competitors all weekend or at least it seemed that way since all three women never stopped smiling. Donna Stanley took the win in the end, but not without a fight. Tracy Lacue had no intention of just handing over the first place trophy. Donna and Tracy battled back and forth in the final round, both ladies exchanging the lead throughout the final round.
The Advanced Division consisted of 6 Pro caliber players battling for first place. Christine Barker started the tournament with the hot first round on the Jim Warner Course shooting over her player rating and taking an early lead in the Advanced division. Heather Damron, just shooting one stroke off Christine’s hot round, rallied back in Saturday’s 2nd round on the Headrick course shooting a 66. Casey Schoonover, who had trouble in the morning round, recovered some strokes on the lead by tying Damron for the advanced division’s hot 2nd round score of 66. Barker shot a few strokes behind Schoonover but maintained 2nd going into the 3rd and final round. Barker and Schoonover went into the last hole tied for second. Schoonover shot a 6 down for the hot round in the Advanced division and pulled off second with a parked drive on the final hole. Our Advanced winner, Heather Damron, had a 4 stroke lead going into the final round and held it the entire round. Damron, a veteran on these courses after winning last year’s PDGA Championships, had the skill and experience for the win and used it to take home the trophy.
Finally, over in the Professional Division, we had another battle this year between Sarah Stanhope Cunningham and Elaine King. King dominates on the Headrick Course in the short layout and Cunningham knew going into the tournament she needed to get way ahead of King going into the final round to be able to pull off the win. Cunningham didn’t quite get the lead she wanted after Saturday’s rounds and she went into the 3rd and final round with just a 3 stroke lead on King. King’s sizzling 44 (almost 1,000 rated) was nearly enough to take the victory from Cunningham. It came down to the last putt on the last hole for the win. This makes Sarah Cunningham’s 4th FPO win at the Magnolia Open, beating Elaine by a mere stroke. Debbie Scott, accepting cash for the 1st time in a Professional division and officially going Pro, took 3rd, followed by Michelle Horn in 4th, who also took cash for the first time. Autumn Grace declined cash as this was her first event in the Professional division.
Open Champion Sarah Cunningham
A big thanks to Andrew ‘Big Dog’ Sweeton for working all weekend to get the scores, payouts and details all tied together to make The Magnolia Open run smoothly.
In addition to the regular tournament play, the women competed for a Disccatcher basket by playing the new, up and coming, putting game, Hott Shotts. Susan Leseueur won the basket with a score of 390 out of a possible 500.
Another side event for the weekend was a women’s disc golf trivia contest. This contest consisted of 10 questions all worth various points. The women had all weekend to come up with the answers (without looking them up). The winner of the contest was Elaine King. Sarah Cunningham and Diane McDaniel were both in the lead until the very end when Elaine pulled through with the most points. Thanks also to Elaine for educating us all on a bit of Women’s Disc Golf history during the awards ceremony.
This event was a lot of fun, great payouts and tons of smiles. Each year we hope it grows and gets bigger and better. A special thanks to our big sponsors and supporters:
Thanks to Brian Graham for his continued support for women's disc golf. This event would not have been possible without Brian's encouragement and contribution.
Thanks to all of the hole sponsors and volunteers that helped to make this event possible. Be sure to check out more photos from the 4th Annual Magnolia Open on Flickr. To see a complete list of sponsors go to The Magnolia Open Facebook page.