King of the Lake
Disc Golf’s West Coast Swing Heads to Lake Tahoe for King of the Lake PDGA National Tour Elite Series Stop
Normally, the Lake Tahoe resort area is a place where summer travelers go to enjoy the water and mountain relaxation and recreation of this national treasure. With the massive body of water as the stage and the Sierra Nevada mountain range serving as the backdrop, Lake Tahoe is a place that inspires awe and wonderment at the power and beauty of nature.
But this week, the tranquility of South Lake Tahoe will be usurped with the Frisbee frenzy known as the PDGA National Tour Elite Series. A first time stop for the National Tour, Tahoe will give the competitors a wide sampling of the local disc golf scene with four courses slated to stage the competition.
And speaking of the competition, the King of the Lake weekend could very well end up being full of surprises, as many of the top touring pros are in Europe for other disc golf events. This leaves the field wide open for the likes of Cali natives Josh Anthon and Steve Rico, Alabama’s Matt Orum, or the always stylish Gregg Barsby to step-up and win. And while Anthon, Rico, and Barsby have all won NT crowns in the past, this might be the weekend where Orum steps up and breaks new ground in his still young disc golf career by adding an NT win to his resume.
Their climb to King of the Lake status will not be easy, however, as these disc golf notables will be tested by many of the young, outstanding regional talents, who may be approaching this weekend’s event as a opportunity to grab the golden ring of an NT win. Bradley WIlliams, Ricky Wysocki, and Myles Harding will certainly pose a threat to the established order of NT disc golf, with their immense talent and no-holds barred style of play. But this weekend’s winner may come from the other side of the tee-box, as the time may be right for a rare National Tour victory by a left-handed thrower. Both Devon Owens and Dion Arlyn are capable of pulling off the big win, but it will be their tournament experience and competitive mettle that will determine whether they end up as King of the Lake, or merely one of the bystanders in the king’s court.
In the women’s field this weekend, a first time 2011 NT winner will most certainly emerge, as Paige Pierce and Valarie Jenkins are both in competitions in Europe. While these two will most certainly be missed, the talent pool is still impressive in the FPO field. Three-time World Champion Des Reading will lead the charge in Tahoe, as she continues to gain momentum on her way to the Santa Cruz Pro World Championships just a few weeks away. Reading’s primary challenge will come from Liz Lopez, who has been on the big stage for a few years now and knows this is a great chance for her to win. But all eyes will be on Sarah Hokom, whose forehand flick and extensive touring have elevated her status in the women’s open field. Kathy Manley will also be in the mix, though her one-tournament-a-month schedule might have her a little more rusty than she would like.
The beautiful scenery, the great talent, and the well-run machine that is the King of the Lake tournament will all be on display this weekend for the players and fans to enjoy. Keep your eye on www.pdga.com for stories, photos, and live scoring.
Dr. John G. Duesler