The 2007 Hall of Fame Classic

It was the first of it’s kind held at the newly founded International Disc Golf Center (IDGC) in Augusta, Georgia. It has been in preparation for months and I wanted to be a part of it all, to be at the inagrual opening of the IDGC hosting their very first tournament. I missed out on the National Tour in Bowling Green the week before and could not miss that many classes at school, so I decided if I was going hit eith of the NT’s, it was going to be Augusta. It was a totally different location from the summer before when they hosted the World Championships. So I ended up flying into Charlotte and picked up by “Team Jenkins” (My parents Leroy and Sharon, my sister Valarie and my favorite dog ever Kirby) at about 6 am to make the 3 hour trip down to Georgia.

We made it out to the courses early enogh to get a solid practice round at each of the newly formed courses: The W.R. Jackson (south course) designed by John Houck and The “Steady” Ed Headrick (north course) designed by Chuck Kennedy and Tom Monroe. I enjoyed playing both of the newly designed courses, the north course had some great holes over the water and some great long par 4’s with the course being 65. The south course seemed a little more demanding with the first 6 holes being par 4’s, it also had some great long through the woods shots eventhough the course was a rougher then to be expected.

The tournament started on Friday with one round a day for the next three days with everyone starting on hole 1 with tee times, 2 rounds on the W.R. Jackson course and 1 round on the Ed Headrick course. I played a slightly conservative first round on the south course with a great starting group, they kept me very relaxed thorughout the round and I was unsure of what a good score would be until I heard the scores that were already posted by the time that I made it around to hole 14. I was told by a local spectator that both Nate Doss and Phil Arthur had both posted 61, I had a few holes to go and was on pace to shoot at least a 60. It turns out that I had a couple of bad breaks and missed putt to finish the round with a 62 tied with Climo for 3rd after the first round of play.

The second round started on the “Steady” Ed Headrick with the lead card consisting of Nate Doss, Phil Arthur, Ken Climo and myself. Th round went smoothly, still unaware of what the hot score may be since we were the first pros to play the courses under tournament conditions. I was the throwing the greatest of drives, but I was making lots of long, technical approaches throught the tight wooded holes for saves and birdies on the longer par 4’s. Climo and I played very consistant throughout, Climo finished the round shooting a course record -13 and followed his pace carding a -11. He now had a 2 stroke lead over me for the tournament going into Sunday. The IDGC hosted a great southern BBQ players party with some of the best BBQ pork and chicken around. We finished off the night with an exciting game of 21 under the dim lighting in the IDGC backyard baskets, with 8 players: Steve Brinster, Lesli Demark, Angela Tschiggfrie, Jay Reading, Valarie, Leroy, Sharon and myself. Good Times.

The third round on Sunday mid-day had Ken Climo, myself, David Feldberg and George Smith on the lead card in that order. Dave and I absolutely shredded the front 9, carding the best scores all weekend on the front with Dave shooting a -6 and myself with a -7. I was throwing great drives and making exceptional putts the whole way through as I took a 3 stroke lead going into hole 11, and this is where it all went down. I was going into a three hole stretch of easiest holes on the course, the three holes where I had been the third person of the weekend to birdie all three the previous round that I played out there on Friday. I was feeling confident and knew that if and when I birdie these 3 upcoming holes it would seal the deal, not something to ever think with 8 holes to go.

On hole 11, I threw a shot a little tight to the inside, threw a weak upshot a little short, I preceded to the make the putt as it splashed out the rightside for the bogey, just as both Climo and Feldberg recorded birdies for a 2 stroke swing. I then lost another stroke on 12 and 13, with a birdie putt spit on 13 as both Climo and Feldberg birdied again. I had then lost the lead and 4 strokes on 3 of the easiest and shortest holes on the course. No Excuses. I was unsure how to take, I have never experienced a shift in scores quite that quick, all I had to do is birdie those three little holes. I preceded to play super agressive throughout the remainder of the course as I was chasing the lead as opposed to holding on to a lead. As it goes down when you try to step the the power shots in the woods, I got into even more trouble as I tried to force shots down the stretch. Going into the final hole, I threw a decent shot and went big on the next getting one of the few eagle attempts on the weekend, but just like in the tournament, the putt came up a little short. I had no idea how to deal with it all as it all went down, it was totally in my control and I let it slip just a bit. Dave ended up edging Climo by a stroke for his 2nd NT victory of the year and I ended up getting pasted by Doss as he shot another solid 61 in the final round for 3rd as I dropped in the 4th position.

It was almost to much to take at the moment, I should have never let it come down to that and I let up just a little too much at a time during the round when I needed to close it out. I am not taking anything away from the guys, they played great, but I believed the whole time that I deserved to win the tournament that weekend. All I had to do to make that happen, was birdie a few of the finishing holes and I didn’t handle my business the way that I should have. It was my tournament to win, and I made a promise to my self that I would not let it go down like that ever again. You can never get too comfortable during a round and never let up, because it is never over until the last putt drops. Looking forward to the next opportunity and the next National Tour.

Next Tournament: The “Steady” Ed Memorial Master’s Cup NT – Santa Cruz CA


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