The second stop of the 2023 Keweenaw Disc Golf Tour took place on Saturday, 27MAY23 at the Michigan Tech Disc Golf Course. Fifteen players battled it out across two rounds of stroke play on the 16 hole, par 49 course. Many tight lines (and trees) were hit by all players on the wooded track.
We had to wait for one player, beginning the players meeting about 17 minutes late, but got the first round started only one minute behind schedule – not bad from a Tournament Director standpoint. Weather was hot, sunny and mostly calm. There had been no rain in the area for days, leaving the course quite dry. Though the course was not closed, non-tournament traffic was on the lower side of normal. This, combined with cards of only three players (instead of the more traditional four) made for a pace of play that could rightly be called blistering.
In addition to the normal prize pool, players all kicked in a portion of their entry fee to support the Michigan Tech Disc Golf Club. The Club is establishing a competitive team in order to compete in formally organized collegiate disc golf against other colleges and universities with their own collegiate disc golf teams at events across the region and, with any luck, nation. The funds donated to the Club will go directly to supporting these new competitive collegiate disc golf efforts, such as travel, lodging, entrance fees, uniforms and other expenses associated with collegiate disc golf.
Round 1 Recap
Noah Bach set the pace early with a hot-round of -6 (43), spreading his scoring out across the course, sprinkling in seven birdies including the elusive 2 on hole 16, carded by only two other players on the round (Nathan Soule and Luke Moore).
Dylan Boberg and Luke Moore were right on his heels at -4 (45) after one lap of the course. Dylan started strong at two down through two, peppering in a few more birdies across the front half of the round. He cooled off in the back part of the course, going even par on 10-16, with a birdie-bogey combo on holes 14 and 15.
Luke started the round in rough shape with a double-bogey on two, but bounced it back with four straight birdies, the best streak of the day. He played the back half of the course a total of two under with a bogey, but after picking up the elusive birdie on 16, he came back to tournament central in good spirits and locked in the tie for second.
Rhett Carlson played solid, if not mind blowing, golf in the first round. He found trouble on holes three and 10 but carded five birdies to be in solo 4th, top of chase card for round two, with -3 (46).
Nathan Soule had a roller coaster of a round. He carded non-par scores on nine of sixteen holes, all totalling at exactly even par, (49). A brutal double-bogey on hole 4 and a bogey on hole 12, which he had eagled in practice on Thursday, were softened by birdies on three holes that were missed by the leader as well as that difficult hole 16 score. Though six back from the lead, he was still well in the hunt for cash, if not the win.
Jerry Lutz came in from round one at +2 (51). He found quite a bit of trouble out there, and his putter let him down on several holes, but he did card four birdies to help him secure the last spot on chase card and keep him in contention for the cash line.
Ethan Wallis set his personal best score on the Michigan Tech course with a +4 (53). Though he was ten back of the lead, the cash line was still within reach, and the momentum of a personal best had him in high spirits during the lunch break.
Joe Wade carded four birdies but also found a good deal of trouble on his way to a +4 (53) round to be tied with Ethan.
All of the cards finished within close timing of each other, with only about a ten minute gap from the first card getting back to the last card. AJ set up round two cards and prepared to record lead card. Everyone got back from lunch on time and a second players meeting was held before Ring of Fire. Three rounds were held for the Ring of Fire with prizes going to Josh Eckloff, Rhett and Drew Pickens.
As temps continued to heat up the drama did as well. A good many story lines emerged during round two. Ethan, who had just shot his personal best score on the course in round one, bested himself by another stroke, re-setting his PB at +3 (52) for a combined score of +7 (105), good enough for 8th place out of 15 competitors.
Drew Pickens secured 7th with a +4 (102) overall score. These numbers, however, do not tell the story of his event. In round one, he had a terrible stretch of holes, being six over across holes 11-15. A bogey and a double bogey elsewhere on the course with just three birdies saw him sitting at +6 (55) after the first lap. Twelve back of the lead with four players between him and the cash line, the tournament was looking like a loss. Many players would have likely given up, but not Drew. After the break, from the bottom of third card, Drew put up what should be considered the best round of the day. Sure, it was not the best scoring round of the day, but he hit lines, scrambled and putted around the tight greens better than anyone all day, posting the ONLY BOGEY FREE ROUND of the tournament. With birdies on holes 4 and 12, his -2 (47) round two, which tied for the second best score of the round, saw him improve round-to-round by eight strokes, an impressive feat regardless of the ultimate place on the leaderboard.
Jerry Lutz also improved his round-to-round score by four strokes, also coming in with the second hottest round two score (alongside Drew) at -2 (47). He did it in a similar style to Drew as well, finding trouble on only one hole, keeping it clean for much of the score card and also getting a birdie on hole 12. This brought him to an exactly even par score (98) for the event, good enough for fifth place and last cash.
Nathan had a more even-keeled second round compared to his first. Although his card had less overall color to it, the bogey strokes outweighed the birdies, resulting in a +1 (50) on the round and a +1 (99) overall. His sixth place finish, propelled by a colorful scorecard, saw him take home the prize for having the most birdies by a player who missed cash.
Round two was also not kind to several members of lead card.
Luke and Dylan struggled on hole 1, carding bogeys while Noah extended his lead to four strokes with a birdie. All was not lost for the other guys on lead card, as Noah did give one back with a 4 on hole two. Dylan went on to shoot an almost entirely par round with another bogey on 3, a birdie on 9 and a WHOLE BUNCH of pars. Luke, on the other hand, was duking it out with himself as much as he was with his cardmates for position on the leaderboard. He matched Noah with a turkey on holes 4-6 to keep within striking distance, but followed it up with a turkey in the other direction on 7-9. This left him 8 strokes back of the lead with less than half of the round to play. He did claw one back on his two cardmates on hole 10 with the lone birdie on the card, but errant tee shots on holes 12, 13, and 15 left him with little room to scramble, resulting in bogeys. It did come down to the wire with Dylan in the battle for third, as Dylan three-putted for a birdogey on 16, but his many pars kept him ahead by a stroke. Luke finished the round +3 (52), while Dylan was at +2 (51). Having started the round tied at -4 (45), this meant Luke took 4th with -1 (98) and Dylan took 3rd with -2 (97).
The year of the chase card push is not limited to the Disc Golf Pro Tour. The inaugural year of the Keweenaw Disc Golf Tour saw its own chase card contender in just the second event. To be fair, if this event had four person cards, Rhett would have been on lead card during round two – but it used three person cards and he was on chase, so here we are.
Rhett tied Noah’s hot round one with a -6 (43) of his own. He, like Noah, found trouble only once with a bogey on hole 14. He also scored on holes 1 and 16, two of the harder gets on the day given how they are such wide open fairways compared to the other 14 on the course. Ultimately, his combined score of -9 (89) was good enough for a solid second place finish.
Though he made a solid push from chase card and tied Noah’s hot round score, Rhett was not going to overtake Noah because the man tied HIS OWN hot round with ANOTHER six down in the second round. He started hot with a birdie on one, coughed it back with a bogey on two after an errant tee shot saw him early right in some deep rough. His brother Levi, acting as caddie, helped him keep his cool and he proceeded to light up the course, going five down through the next seven holes. At this stage, Dylan and Luke were both +1 and, though Rhett was charging, it would have taken some course-record type efforts for him to close the gap. Noah never seemed to take his foot off the gas, carding another birdie on hole 12, but trouble on either the tees or the greens left him with a host of pars coming down the stretch. It did not matter though, as he rode back-to-back hot rounds of -6 (43) to a three stroke win at a total of -12 (86). This marks Noah’s second win of the 2023 Keweenaw Disc Golf Tour.
Post Event and TD Notes
The event wrapped up right on time. There was a small bit of waiting by a few folks at the end as AJ tallied scores. This was caused in large part by the fact that one card forgot to do a round two card CTP. This had to be done THEN the players who bought in on the ace pool had to do THEIR CTP to split the pool, as no one had aced. The few players who were not involved in either of these things did end up sitting around for a small bit. AJ was tallying scores and making notes for the end of tournament meeting, so it was time that would have been idle for folks anyway.
The award ceremony went smoothly. Between leaderboard payouts, card CTP, all-player CTP, random prizes, Ring of Fire and Darkhorse, every player won at least a little something. The three caddies who helped out for the day also walked away with a token of appreciation from the TD.
Everyone stayed hydrated. There were no injuries. Jerry lost a disc during round one but recovered it and was able to use it for most of round two. Michigan Tech policies were followed as far as the TD is aware and we were able to be good ambassadors for the sport to campus and the non-tournament participants who were also out on the course.
Most importantly, everyone had fun. There were smiles all around and many congratulations. Players were in high spirits and seemed to have a good time.
AJ forgot to announce Nathan Soule as winner of most birdies out of cash and missed Tom Flaherty’s score for solo 10th, accidentally giving the payout for 10th to the players who tied for 11th. The situation was noted and corrected. These were the only two snafus from a TD perspective. Given the heat and the added difficulty of doing an event away from home-base where everything must get packed and unpacked before and after round two, these are pretty minor errors.
During the first players meeting, AJ asked that all players use the tee mat on hole 16. Quite a few players polietely asked to be allowed to not use the mat but rather tee off from the side, so AJ adjusted his guidance and asked that all players tee from the side for consistency and fairness.
The UDisc event was set up, but there is apparently an additional step that mush be taken to actually use the event page as the scoring function for the event. This has been noted and will be applied to future events.
Many thanks go out to those that support our events and the 2023 Keweenaw Disc Golf Tour. The Copper Country Running Company hooked up a gift certificate for the Darkhorse prize. Lindell’s pitched in a gift certificate for a random door prize winner. The Keweenaw Adventure Company contributed a prize package worth $200 to support events all summer long.
We also appreciate our other supporters who make our events and the Course at Constellation Farmstead happen. Station Street Discs, MVP, Whale Sacs, Infinite Discs, Innova, Squatch, Downwind Sports, UDisc.
Thanks to all who attended and made the event a success. We can all think of at least one golfer who was not there but could have been, so let’s get the next KDGT stop up to 30 or more attendees!