2007 Pro World Championships – Highbridge, WI

After returning from Japan on late Monday night, we began to prepare for the World Championships that were set to begin on that Wednesday. We stayed in a chalet lodge at the White Cap ski resort with Climo, Brinster, Burl, Feldberg, Melody, Peckham, Philo, Val and myself. On Tuesday Dave and I practiced Granite Ridge, the only course that we would be playing twice during the actual week and then for the semi-finals on Sunday morning, earlier that day then headed over to the World Distance Contest. I soon found out that the mark to beat was 199 meters (653 feet) set by Christian Sandstrom, the current world distance record holder, ealier that morning and it was going to take a incredible toss to top that one. I was definitely not as prepared for this contest as I usually am, I not thrown in a distance competition in months and I did not bring the right discs for the howling tail-wind. It seemed that no one was being able to get any of their discs to flip because they either dropped out or hyzered out due to the solid wind at our backs. I brought some max weight Star Wraiths and one of the new proto Star Destroyers and I was unable to flip any of them in during my 4 throws leaving one final throw left. Feldberg then ran out to me with one of his super understable Pro Wraiths, I then lined up more to the right side of the teeing area and planned to release this shot further out higher to the left side bring it across to catch more of the tailwind then the previous shots. I then released a stronger throw and tried to get over on it as it did a great late fade, but still hyzered out before it even had a chance to flip entirely over. It was definitely my best throws of the day, but not one of the greatest throws in my book measuring at 182.5 meters (598 feet) just slightly behind Sandstrom’s by 50 feet. It gave me solo 2nd place with Chris Herren, Robbie Bratten, Coda Hatfield and Feldberg right behind me. Valarie also placed 2nd in distance behind Des Reading and 2nd in putting behind Angela Tschiggfrie, the last time Val was going to be 2nd this week.

With the start of competition on Wednesday morning, it was two rounds the first day and alternating with single rounds on the Highbridge Gold course. I really never had an amazing round of golf all week long, I seemed to be so close to having that break out round but never put it all together at once. Valarie on the other hand was playing some amazing golf all week long, hanging within 2 or 3 strokes of the lead, waiting to make the move if either Des or Angela slipped up on any of the numerous technical holes that the Highbridge courses had to offer.

On the night before the semi-finals on Sunday morning, Mike Randolph challenged my to a speed golf round on the short but hilly nine hole course that surrounded the chalets at the White Cap Resort. It drew a much bigger crowd then expected and even more competitors that wanted to join in on the action. Nate Doss was our official time keeper, so it was 2 minute intervals between the start of the racers to assure that there would be proper spacing not to cross up the shots and putts. There was also a 15 second decuction for every stroke under par. Randolph started, Adam Olson was second and I started in the third position. They both had great starts, I just wanted to complete the course, feeling like I wanted to stop after the 4 up and downhill holes but I pushed on and completed the course in 9:20 shooting a -2. Randolph finished with 7:55 shooting a -3 and Olson 7:50 shooting a -3. Randolph was just warming up, as I saw him out there in the mornins before competition rounds running the course to get the blood flowing. He then head out to complete the new course record of 7:40 shooting an amazing -4, he was the eventual winner as many others ran the course but could no come close other then Olson. That was a great way to get out the frustrations of the day, for all those who have not tried to play speed golf it is a definite must do.

The beginning of the semi-finals on Sunday morning placed me in 20th just a few strokes out of the top 15 but other then that no real chance to make a huge move from the 5th card as I was paired up with Christain Sandstrom for the 4th round in a row. He is an amazing thrower whom is always fun to play with. Barsby shot the best of our group and moved himself up into the top 15, just like my plans were. I remained in the very same place that I started round and finished in 20th tied with Jay Reading.

Valarie made a great move in the last few rounds to jump to a 5 stroke lead that narrowed 3 with Angela Tshiggfrie quickly approaching, Val then increased the lead back to 5 after the completion of the semi-finals going in to the final 9. The women’s final nine consisted of Val, Des Reading, Angela Tschiggfrie and Carrie Burl Berloger. It was the first time that I have seen Val with such intensity in her eyes and an appearent unstoppable drive. She went out into the Finals with such confidence, with such strong focus, nothing was going to distract her. I let her caddy from previous rounds remain on the bag for the remaining holes, I walked along side her for positive karma and to keep her focused throughout until the finish. She played controlled agressive and throw conservative tee shots, playing with a five stroke lead, forcing everyone to make some tremendous shot if they wanted to have a shot at catching her. No moves were made on the first five holes going into the island hole where anything can happen and has happened in previous rounds. A difficult shot that must land safe and inbounds on the island or the next shot is taken from a dropzone with penalty, a very crucial shot at this point in the match. This was to be the deciding hole to determine her victory, no matter what, just put the shot inbounds I told her. She threw a high hyzer 20 feet long of the pin, the other women parked it to make birdie as Val made her deciding putt. On the rest of the holes, Val played them out not trying to force anything, taking pars on the 7th and 8th holes. Val then threw another big hyzer on the final hole to land within 25 feet to seal the deal as she parred the hole to claim her first Professional World Title. Valarie is now a World Champion, just like our mother, it has been a long time coming and it only a matter of time before she got her own. As a brother, I am too proud and I knew of her ability long before anyone else, she was destine for greatness. She will now start her reign, just as Des, Juliana, Elaine and all of those great women world champions that came before her, she is the next big thing.

The Men’s Final nine consisted of Nate Doss, Markus Kallstrom, Cale Leiviska and Mike Randolph. I joined up with the group on their 7th hole as both Nate and Markus made great bids at birdie but both walked away empty handed and still tied for the lead as Markus was playing an amazing final thus far. On the 8th, Nate and Markus threw less then perfect tee shots leaving them with some pretty difficult upshots to take birdie 3’s on the hole. Nate was left with a stretch out backhand out of a bush at a pin from 150′ surrounded with OB bunkers. I walked up and told him “You got this”. He then made one of the most athletic layout shots that I have ever seen him throw as he threw his Challenger 15′ long for an easy birdie. Markus was left with a comparable stretch out upshot out of a bush, he threw it wide right and a long birdie putt, he missed from there giving Nate a one stroke lead going into the final hole. Doss threw his shot 20′ inside left and forcing Markus to otherwise park the hole to force a playoff, Markus threw wide right, clipping a tree and landing 60′ out. He then missed low, Nate then layed up for the victory. Doss claims his 2nd World Title in 3 years, an amazing feat in this era of competitive disc golf with a huge field of the greatest players in the world.

All in all, I had a great time a the Worlds this year, sure I wish that I would have played better. On the other hand, I could care less of where I finished to see Val win a World Title. I told her earlier in the week that she could have all of my good luck, good kicks and good karma, she definitely used it all well. Congrats to her and Nate, they are very deserving of their accomplishments.

We then prepare to leave for another trip to Europe as we travel to Stockholm, Sweden for the Stockholm Open then onto the European Open in Finland two weeks following. Stay tuned for new and exciting updates from Europe, as the summer tour continues…………………………………..Please leave your comments, I will respond. All the best.

Next Tournament: Stockholm Open Supertour – Stockholm, Sweden


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