The Skylands Classic at Warwick

A restful and relaxing time was spent at my parents home back in Ohio, we caught up on much deserved sleep and gave our bodies some time to heal. I got back to the basics and started back to training in the very backyard where I first learned to drive and putt, it brought me back to a time when I focused more on just the true enjoyment of just throwing discs. I also got to visit with friends and family whom I have not seen since the holidays, we ended up having a huge party and barbeque before leaving for New York the following day.

We arrived a the Warwick course on Friday afternoon to get in a practice round and met up with Brian Schweberger as he was just about to start up with his third round of the day. For all those that have not played this course, it is magnificent, offering a great variety of shots as every hole has two tee pads (long and short) and two sets of baskets located at two different pin positions (long and short). He wanted to make sure that he played every configuration and dial it in before the start of the tournament. He is a machine, he plays more practice rounds then anyone I have ever met, and it shows by how well he truly knows the courses.

The tournament started with a round on the “All-Star Layout” which consisted of the very best mixed hole configurations voted on by the local club, this course displayed the some really great golf holes that challenged every shot in your bag. I had a rough start, playing pretty consistent and experienced two spit-outs on par putts that led to bogeys, I ended up shooting a 54. Mike Moser started with an early lead shooting a course record 48 as he placed a 6 stoke margin on me to begin the tournament.

The second round displayed the toughest layout Warwick had to offer as we played the long (blue) tees to long (blue) pins. Schweberger held the current course record at 56, which he had set at the 2002 New York State Championships; it was a pretty unbelievable record for those that have ever played the course. We started out as we all got to witness Feldberg as he aced the uphill 380’ hole 1 to begin the second round, a truly amazing shot. I started out pretty slow at first and then started to warm up as I recorded some huge birdies on holes 4 and 5, hole 5 being one of the hardest birdies on the course. I played consistent throughout the rest of round picking up birdies on the many of the par 4’s on the back. I finished with a drop in par on hole 18 as Schweberger looked over and said that it was all mine now as I recorded the new course record of 55. I then took over the lead by 2 as I turned in the hottest round by 5 and being the only player to shoot in the 50’s. I played a solid round with lots of long drives and great upshots to put me into contention going into Sunday.

The third round placed us on the long (blue) tees to short (silver) pin locations that offered a lot more scoring opportunity, as these placements were more reachable then previous rounds. Moser and I were neck and neck as he took back a slight lead in the front of the course and I managed to dominate on the back. We both finished shooting 4 down as we still held onto the top two spots as I remained in the lead by 2 going into the final round.

The fourth and final round had the course layout in the short (silver) tees to long (blue) pin locations which offered a few less opportunities to score because of the tucked positions of the long baskets, it was going to take some amazing shots to birdies many of these holes. Moser started off with birdies on the 3 of the first 4 holes as we were tied up throughout the front. I played a very solid and consistent on the back as I still held onto the lead by 1 stroke going into the 15th hole as Moser made some incredible putts to keep very close. Mike Moser is one the best putters that I have ever played with, he is virtually automatic within 30-35 feet and usually draws metal with all putts in the range of 70 feet, he is a constant threat at all times to make a huge putt to tie it all up.

We played the remaining holes perfect as I stepped on to the 18th tee still holding on to a 1-stroke lead. I thought through the shot, making sure that I would not let this one slip away. But I somehow miscalculated the crosswind as I placed down a side-hill uphill roller as it held its angle and rolled out of bounds to the left leaving the door wide open for him to tie it up on the final hole to force a playoff. He threw his roller a little to the inside making sure to keep it in bounds, but giving him a very difficult second shot as he threw a huge sky-roller over the trees out into the open field to give a run at the basket. I marked my shot in-bounds looking at a routine 330’ shot directly at the basket, I needed to go up and down to score par for the win, so I had to keep it close. I threw my slight stable to straight Star Teebird and landed 22’ feet from the basket. Moser made his approach within 35’ and drained it without a problem, forcing me to make mine for the win. With thoughts of a possible playoff after I threw the shot out of bounds, I did not want this round to continue on any longer as the weekend was definitely taking its tolls on my body as I began to tire during the final holes. I wanted to end it right then, I stepped to the putt and smoothed the putter in the chains for the victory.

It was a battle until the end, it was a fun filled weekend including some great golf and hanging out with some great friends. I wanted dedicate my win to my good friend Steve Brinster whom was unable to play this weekend due a shoulder injury that he suffered from after the tournament in Toronto, Canada the previous weekend. He wanted to play this tournament more then anything, he wanted to play this home tournament more then he wanted to play at the World Championships. He is true competitor whom without a doubt would have been there in the battle until the end defending his home course. I wish him all the best on the road to a quick recovery; I know that he will be better very soon. I also wanted to thank him and Leslie Demark along with the Brinster family for the ongoing hospitality every year that we attend this great event. I also wanted to thank Schwebbie for letting me borrow his lucky clear mini for the weekend; it brought me some incredible luck and great karma on the course.

Next Tournament: The Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open SuperTour – Pittsburgh, PA


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