Another beautiful weekend and another home-run GMPS event in the books! The TD tandem of Andy Powell and Al Rosa stepped up to put the young Quarries course in excellent playing-shape (Al) and put on a fun and seamless event (Andy) for 45 lucky New England golfers.
The course… I visited the course for the first time this week and was impressed by the unique vistas and impressive rock features throughout the course. From a golf perspective, the course design is as pleasing as its setting. The fairways are challenging but “fair” with lines that reward good shots with birdie opportunities and punish bad ones with bogies, resulting in good scoring spreads. The longer holes utilize placement shots rather than outright distance to test players of all skill levels. Rocks, mounds, and side-slopes make for fun, tricky greens throughout the course. My congratulations go out to Al and company for crafting another Vermont gem and spreading the gospel of disc golf through a new community! I think the fact that 20 of 45 tourney players were MA2 and many of them local is a testament to the grass-roots growth of the sport here.
The event… Chances were pretty good Saturday that Dave Frothingham’s recent stranglehold on MPO would be broken. Mostly because he wasn’t there. Even in his absence there were a number of GMPS frontrunners and other travelling NEFA studs that would guarantee a battle for Quarries supremacy. First-round conditions were prime with warm temperatures and low winds and the players responded. Travis Connolly and (GMPS points leader) Mike Habets both came in with 54’s, besting Frothy’s course record by 4! My (Jim Bailey’s) 56 was good enough for 3rd place and the final spot on lead card. For me the highlight of a fun first round with Edwin Bedell and Sean Bleything had to be hole 13. You reach 13’s tee after walking a beautiful ridge line over the glassy quarry below and tee downhill with your back to the water through a 300’ tunnel. Bleything stepped up and pured the gap to leave himself a circle’s-edge comeback for 2 (which he made). Bedell and Bailey did not fare as well, our drives threatening the porcupines nesting in the massive rock piles more than any baskets or chains. Edwin caught a tree on his recovery shot and left himself with at least a 100ft’er through the woods from the wrong side of the fairway. Habets was looking on from the group behind us and encouraged his friend and dubs partner to throw his bread-and-butter overhand shot. Bedell readily complied and SMASHED center chains with a full-force overhand for one of the most unlikely par saves you’ll ever see. One (of many) things I love about disc golf is the excitement of seeing a remarkable shot like that. Edwin’s crush buoyed our hole group and I’ve never smiled wider carding a bogey!
In round 2 Habets and I started slow (I blame the complimentary 2 Roads, Phil!) while Travis routinely checked off the “must get” birdies to extend a lead despite stronger winds. The whole group struggled in the middle of the course but Connolly built a big enough cushion that our 2nd round tie at 58 left him with a 2 stroke margin and a 2nd GMPS victory! Low scores were few and far between on this rigorous track but there was a 3rd CR 54 turned in 2nd round. Team Buffumville’s Joe Yaskis (whos 979 pdga rating bests anyone in VT) started the day with an MPO-worst 71, then declared that he would come back to cash in round 2. He fell just 2 strokes short with his 54 but achieved the unusual feat of carding both the best and worst (MPO) scores of the day!
Elsewhere on the leaderboard Jon Moorer took care of business to win MA1 by a stroke over friend and rival James Sweat. In the process Jon sent a message to his young challengers (not you, Alan Gofberg) that experience and accuracy win tournaments in these Green Mountains! Chris Sherwin took advantage of Anne Lewis’s absence to steal an unchallenged 100 points in Masters, as did Todd Sternbach in Grandmasters. Troy Dietrich bested a 3-player Advanced Masters field. Phil Christian (beer guy!) took Rec and Nicole Dalton won FA2.
The big battle was in MA2 with a deep 20-player field. In the end Billy Haddock shot a 122 to take his first GMPS win of the season (he took Storrs last year). Tied for 2nd just 3 strokes back were Casey Tanner and TD and NEFA-Points-Leader Andy Powell.
Speaking of Powell, the “3 blind mice” game he architected for post-tourney entertainment was one of the most memorable parts of the whole event.
- The basic rules were: Players with the 3 lowest scores on the day are the “mice.”
- The mice are blindfolded and play 3 holes of stroke-play golf (1,2 and 4 at Quarries).
- The mice need caddies to direct them (line up the thrower and call out distance, direction, elevation, etc). Names were drawn from a hat to select from the remaining player pool.
- Lowest score wins and mouse/caddy split the cash pot.
As a “mouse” I can tell you that the experience was disorienting, humiliating, and hilarious. It was the first time since I was about 5yo that I held a grown man’s hand to walk anywhere (caddy Evan Karge). Mike Habets, it turns out, doesn’t play much worse without the use of sight and he and caddy Todd Sternbach split the winnings.
Well that’s it for the Quarries recap. Congratulations to all the division winners and especially to TD’s Al Rosa and Andy Powell for a job well done. Whats next, you ask? BCO is up in less than a week. Sign up now for this killer event and get yourself some reps on the course that will host 2015 NEFA Finals!