2009 – Year in Review

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Photo by Marble Jones

2009 Year in Review – It Keeps on Getting Better!!!

The 2009 Season has undoubtedly been my best year ever, and it keeps on getting better. I played in 32 PDGA Sanctioned Tournaments with 23 top 5 finishes and 8 wins (25% Winning Percentage), including winning my first World Title at the 2009 Professional Disc Golf World Championships in Kansas City, KS/MO. I won the US Doubles Championships with my good friend David Feldberg the weekend before the USDGC to become the 2009 United States Doubles Champions. I also won 3 Supertour Events at the High Plains Challenge, the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open and a repeat win at the Veterans Park Open. I had 9 2nd Place finishes and kept my cash streak alive by cashing in every tournament that I played in the 2009 Season.

This year’s World Championships were incredible. It was the World Championships that I have been waiting nearly a decade for because Kansas City has some of the best courses in the country. It was my time to show the world what I was capable of, and I did just that. This year’s World Title was made extra special because I won alongside my sister, Valarie, and we became the first siblings ever to win World Titles. And better yet, we did it the very same year with our parents in attendance. I have wanted to win Worlds ever since I started playing when I was 7 years old. The World Title is something that can never be taken from me and I plan to continue to be a great ambassador of the sport. It was truly an amazing moment in my life!!!

2009 VPO finals 313ED2
Photo by Mark Berry

I also had the chance to travel to Europe this Summer to play the Tali Open in Helsinki, Finland, my 3rd European Open in Tampere, Finland, and the Croydon Cyclone in London, United Kingdom. Team USA, consisting of Nate Doss, David Feldberg, Ken Climo, Valarie Jenkins, Carrie Berloger and myself, won our 3rd consecutive Presidents Cup Trophy against a strong Team Europe.

I finished in the Top 10 in all Majors throughout the Year with a 1st at the World Championships, 9th at the European Open and 10th at the United States Disc Golf Championships. Those finishes extended my Career Top 10 Finishes to 18 in 29 Major Events as these tournaments get more and more competitive every year. This 2010 Season is going to be a big year for the PDGA Major Events as I will be defending my World Title in Crown Point, IN this summer.

As far as other stats, I shot 8 course records including an opening round at Blue Valley (11,049 ft) shooting a 53 (1079 rating) to start off the World Championships, besting the old course record by 4 strokes. I shot some amazing Sunday course records of 54 (1069 rating) to best the previous record by 3 strokes at the Tali Open in Helsinki, Finland, and a 53 (1066 rating) on the Knob Hill long to long layout to come from behind to win at the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open. I also shot Course Records in 3 consecutive weeks that resulted in a 3-win Tri-fecta at the Lilac City Open, the Zoo Town Open and the High Plains Challenge, which included back to back course record rounds of 50 (1049 rating) at the Pessimist and a 47 (1053 rating) at the Optimist courses in Fort Morgan, CO. The 1090 Final Round Rating at the 2007 Memorial still remains my highest rated round in my career.

I also won 3 Long Drive Distance Contests and set a few Distance Records in the process. I won the Minnesota Majestic and Vibram Open Distance contests, along with setting the Minnesota State SuperClass (Large Frisbee) Distance Record at 96.11 M (315′4″). I also set the United Kingdom Distance Record at (198 yds) 594 ft and the Japanese Distance Record at 183.08 M (600′ 8″) en route to winning the 1st Annual Iron Arm Distance Challenge in Miramisoma City, Japan this past December.

I finished the year winning one-fourth of my events played and claiming $30,232 (2nd in PDGA Cash for the 2nd year in a row) in earnings. I played tournaments worldwide and repeated as the points leader winning 2009 PDGA Points Title with 19,915 points. I am currently ranked 4th in the World with a 1029 Player Rating, which ranks at 10th in PDGA Ratings as I enter into the 2010 disc golf season.

**Full 2009 Tour Stats: Click Here**

2009 VPO finals 332
Photo by Mark Berry

In the off-season, I made the move from Eugene, OR to Santa Cruz, CA as I needed a change of scenery and some better winter weather. I had lived in Oregon for 7 years and continued to live there after graduating from the University of Oregon in 2007. It was a great place to live while I was there,but after graduating there wasn’t much still keeping me there. Plus, the weather during my off-season was too rainy during the winter months. I love everything about Oregon, and in my opinion, it is still one of the best states in the country for what it has to offer: the outdoors and great summer weather.

At the end of November, I packed up all of my stuff and made the move down south to Santa Cruz for the next step in my long life; a change that I needed at the time, a change for the better. I moved into a small house with my sister Valarie and good friend Nate Doss, making for an easy transition to a new environment, living less than a mile from the ocean. A house full of World Champions; I lived with David Feldberg for 7 years previous to this but this has to be the most World Titles sharing the same household.

This surf city is incredible; it has amazing winter weather that only gets better throughout the Spring into Summer. It has a good Disc Golf community and history with the World Class Disc Golf Course – DeLaveaga DGC. It has been called “Frisbee Town, USA” and they definitely live up to the name with their unbelievable interest in Disc Golf, Ultimate, Freestyle and Overall Disc Games along with the new development of the Santa Cruz County Disc Golf League to promote High School Disc Golf. This is the place where I needed to be and I am grateful that I am able to live in paradise; nothing compares to the West Coast.

Beach 2009
New Year’s Eve – Twin Lakes Beach – Santa Cruz, CA

I also did lots of Off-Season training this past winter and at this point I am proud to say that I am in the best shape of my life. I concentrated most of my training to heavy weights and the P90X Program, which involves a lot of body weight exercises, jump training and stretching. It has made me stronger and more flexible than ever before, because Disc Golf is an athletic sport and it pays off to train hard in the off-season. I also included a bit of running and bike riding to add a cardio component to really get in shape. It will definitely pay off as the season progresses, as I become more reliant on stamina, strength and endurance. As the competition in this game increases, it helps to stay in good shape to stay ahead of the rest.

I also recently acquired my first Signature Series Disc from Innova – one of my favorite drivers – the Avery Jenkins Star Destroyer. I am proud to receive such an honor of having my own disc, it has been a goal of mine forever. They are scheduled to be produced in the Spring sometime around late April and early May. Trust me, I will be sure to send notification when they are to be released and in full production.

In the 2010 Season, I plan to travel and play more than ever, and have scheduled to play around 30+ tournaments across the US, Japan and Europe. I might also make the trip to the Australian National Championships this year; it might finally happen and it will be my first time to visit that country and continent. It is bound to be an amazing year and it will be great to share the passion I have as I will be representing the sport more than ever before. As the current and reigning World Champion, I now realize my responsibility to my title and the sport. It is hard to get to the top, but even harder to stay at the top and I intend on being at the top for a long time to come. I am looking for another Major Win this season and fully intend on defending my World Title with everything that I have this year.

Thanks to all my friends, family and travel companions throughout the year that have made my world travels possible and my disc golf dreams a reality. Here’s to an amazing 2010 season!!!

Worlds Trophya>
Photo by Mike Jenneman

3 Comments on "2009 – Year in Review"

  1. Laura Jaden says:

    Great job! Wonder what all 2010 & beyond will bring? Keep up the good work & bringing disc golf to so many new people!

  2. arthur says:

    Nice writing as usual!
    You are turning out to be ( I guess) the first real discgolf athlete.
    Is there anybody who works as hard as you?
    I think not…..

    And I am not talking about commitment cuz I am also commited to discgolf and to perform well(and I know atleast 100 players like me), but you do EVERYTHING to perform well.
    I wish I was that smart when I started….lol

    Good luck on the new season!


  3. Pchitti says:

    Great year man. Hope to see you play some this year….