We couldn’t have asked for a more exciting finish to the 2016 United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship (USADGC), although we certainly wouldn’t have minded more favorable weather. With lightning delaying the event for nearly an hour in the early stages of the day, all we could do was cross our fingers and hope for smooth sailing throughout the afternoon.
“You should be writing about the minorities here,” said 26 year old Mike Conlee #41267 after his round with a smile. “Us old guys,” he said, referring to the fact that he is one of the few in the top 15 that isn’t a teenager. Going into the final round, in a similar fashion to last year’s USADGC, the lead card consists of a 15 year old, two 17 year olds, and one 18 year old.
Round 1 of the 2016 United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship (USADGC) made one thing very clear - course experience doesn’t necessarily matter. All three of the competitors that are sharing the lead heading into Round 2 tomorrow have never played the Toboggan outside of a couple of practice rounds prior to the start of the event. Despite the course being incredibly difficult and unforgiving, players far less familiar with the course than others rose to the occasion, finishing their rounds at seven under par (55), unofficially rated at 1012.
It must be the first weekend in June, because here we are, back at the renowned Toboggan DGC. Playing up, down, and across what is normally only used for toboggan sled runs in the cold winters of Michigan, there’s no denying that this is one of the most, if not the most, unique courses in the Midwest. For the 130 best of the best amateur competitors that have earned the right to be here at the 2016 United States Amateur Disc Golf Championships (USADGC), the steep slopes should be the least of their worries.
The first round of the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship (USADGC) presented by Discraft has to come to an end here in Milford, MI on the formerly brutal Toboggan Championship course in Kensington Metropark. Over 140 of the best Ams from the United States and Canada were lucky enough to qualify for this prestigious event and they teed off, one-by-one, down the absurdly steep fairway of hole 1 to start their rounds.
Every year thousands of amateur disc golfers compete in tournament after tournament after tournament with the hopes of qualifying for the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship presented by Discraft. Of the thousands that try, only 148 are honored with the chance to play in such a prestigious event. A victory at the USADGC is often the first major stepping stone to a successful career in the disc golf world. It brings with it the possibility of sponsorship from disc golf companies and provides the keys to many of the doors that a touring professional disc golfer needs to succeed.
One round in the books and we have a tight race after the first round here at the 2012 United States Amateur DGC. The four highest-rated players had the earliest tee time and looked to set the bar for the rest of the day. Mark Huether was the man to put up the first low score. Only one player finished with a better score. Mike Sale from Downers Grove, Illinois shot a five under, 57, to finish with a one stroke lead. Along with Mark, Alex Geisinger turned in a 58. Five players carded 59’s and are tied for third place.
Once a year, the best amateurs in disc golf travel to Milford, Michigan, a small city just north of Detroit. As the players prepare for the trip and begin travel, the hosts spend countless hours in the weeks leading up to the tournament re-installing one of our country's best courses. The Toboggan course at Kensington Metro park is truly a gem and the only players who get the pleasure and, sometimes, pain of playing are those that earn their way in through qualifier tournaments throughout the year.
The sport's most exclusive and prestigious event for amateur players is the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship being held June 8-10 in Milford, MI. Only 148 qualified players compete on the Toboggan Championship course each summer, and here's a way for you to be there... even if you didn't receive an invitation.
Most players earn their way to an invitation through top finishes at qualifying events throughout the year. Registration for those players opened a few weeks ago, and as of May 1st, all current PDGA amateurs with a rating of 945 or higher will be officially qualified.
"I can't believe I'm here, this is so great!" So said a wide-eyed 2010 competitor as he gazed down the sweeping landscape of Kensington Toboggan's hole three, a 915-foot signature hole on one of disc golf's true gems.
Top-performing Amateur players have been coming here to Milford, Michigan since 2002, all by invitation after having proven themselves worthy of a chance at becoming the US Amateur National Champion. This is the PDGA United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship, presented by Discraft. The 2011 tournament runs June 10-12.
Starting May 17th, 2011 any player in the PDGA Amateur division with a player rating of 940 or higher is qualified to play in the 2011 USADGC by adding a $15.00 qualifying fee to the $76.00 entry fee. See rules and comments below for more details.