I love the fact that I bought an expensive digital camera specifically for this blog, and yet I seem to go out of my way to not take any pictures with it under any circumstances. I’ll just pretend that there’s nothing interesting to photograph at Paw Paw (a grotesque lie).
So with only one round left and a Super-tour A-tier event, I was on the third card sitting pretty in 13th place out of 45. I just didn’t want a first-out-of-cash (I have taken 5 already this year). We were playing the course that normally bites me in the tuckus, but I managed to school the first round in the rain. I started decently enough, but playing a bit more like my average self (missing putts high and left and not getting the good luck), but I was definitely holding it together. I was taking mostly 4′s through the tough holes, with some threes scattered about.
Then came the worst roll-away I’ve ever heard of (it rolled too far away for me to see). I threw a hole that requires a little left-to-right throw to land it on the top of a hill that slopes left. I threw and it nicked some leaves and caused it to hyzer to the left. Being on that slope is bad but not unmanageable. But apparently, if you PASS the ridge in the slope and then start to roll, it actually is more like a ravine than a slope. And if your disc rolls 300′ (no exaggeration, according to the spotter) you have nothing. True, I was only about 350′ from the basket on the drive, but it was going up a 45 degree slope with no discernable fairway. In short, I was screwed.
With some good throws, I managed to 7 the hole, but it put a dent in my decent (but not stellar) round. I was only one or two off the first time playing it (which I was happy with) before that round. I managed to pull myself together and finish off the round strong, including a 2 on the very tough hole 16 (only a 15′ putt too!) and ending the round on the hardest hole on the course, hole 2, with a 4. Very happy. I ended with a 68 – not as good as the rain-round, but certainly better than expected especially with the bad luck I got.
Where did that put me? Right on the cash bubble. I just saw another first-out-of-cash to add to my list. But when it was announced, I crept into the cash as last-cash. Now, that might not sound like much, but we’re talking an A-Tier event featuring 10 1000 rated players (who should, if the ratings were 100% accurate, beat me by 6 or 7 strokes A ROUND). I even ended up taking out J.G. and Bryan Gawler, who are both past winners and usually in the fray of it.
In all, I took home $110, but that really was nothing compared to finally cashing at a pro event, and at a tournament as fun as WVO and at a course as humbling and difficult as Paw Paw. It felt like a win, to be sure. There are rough unofficial round ratings in, and I apparently shot 1011 (my highest ever), 983, and 962. Those seemed accurate. I don’t think they’ve vary much.
In general, there were two aspects of my game that saved me: my putt (surprisingly) and my backhand roller (which seems to have solidified itself as the best shot in my bag). The luck petered out, but I’d still say I was “lucky” over “unlucky” for this tournament. I always say, if you play well, you’ll get the good breaks.
The WVO atmosphere this year was not like in past – the partying was minimal before Sunday with the miserable weather taking precedence. I was supposed to play some music, and when I went up on the stage to play, one of the guys jamming told me I was “totally ruining the groove.” It just left me with a weird sour taste. I seem to only like the WVO party atmosphere if I myself am getting wasted, which I wasn’t. We ended up taking an early leave at 11pm and got home just before 4am (not a smart idea, by the way)
But the cabin and the people there made the trip great, as well as some good golf, and a good cheer when I went up to accept my first pro money. Whether or not they are all my friends, there’s no doubt that the disc golf community is certainly very supportive of me.
That might be the end of disc golf for me for a while, with work kicking into full gear tomorrow. As always, we’ll have to see.