PA States Recap - How Did I Do?
Just as it’s important to look ahead and prepare, it is equally important to look behind and learn. It’s been said that “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” This past weekend at the PA State Championship, I learned a lot. In today’s post, we’ll break down each round and talk about my overall thoughts on the event and my overall play. Let’s dive in!
Going into the first round, I was feeling good. My drives in practice felt pretty clean and my putts were falling. It was a bit warm, and I could tell that I was going to need to keep my hand dry. My dry bag came in clutch over the weekend. My first hole was 14. Starting the round off strong, I hit my ideal line, setting myself up for a slight turnover to approach the basket. I gave myself a 20-foot putt for birdie and cashed it easily. I felt great about starting with a birdie.
Going into holes 15 through 17, I was a bit cautious, wanting to survive the stretch as cleanly as I could. I played it safe on 15 with a thumber off the tee, putting myself in a position to go for the green on my second shot. I put myself at about 50 feet with an uphill putt at the basket. This would be the start of my most frustrating statistic of the weekend, C2 putting. I walked away with the par and decided not to lay up on 16. This was a mistake, and I found my drive leaking left, out of bounds. I was able to keep it to a bogey, but it was frustrating to get burned by changing my plans up a bit.
My drive on 17 made it a good way up the fairway, squeaking between the two out-of-bounds sides on the left and right. I set myself up for another circle 2 putt, but I had to layup due to the angle. On hole 18, I thought about the birdie I got in practice the weekend prior and proceeded to throw it out of bounds into the cornfield on the right. After short search, we found my disc and I was able to get up and down for the bogey.
Coming into hole 1, I wasn’t happy being 1 over on the round, but there were a lot of birdies ahead of me to look forward to. After two standard pars on holes 1 and 2, I came up to hole 3 where the tee shot is a bit shaky. I’m never quite sure whether I want to play the smaller left gap that leaves me higher on the hill or throw down the larger gap on the right, risking a kick to the bottom of the hill. I went right. I kicked. I bogeyed.
Hole 4 would be more of the same. I had a bit of a weak drive where I hit my angle while keeping the disc too low to take advantage of it. I found myself with a 40-foot putt for par. I hit the band and rolled to circle’s edge. Still confident in my putt, I stepped up and knocked it down for yet another bogey. This is where the round started to turn into a mediocre festival. From holes 5 through 12, I shot nothing but par. I left all of the birdies on the table and missed 4 or 5 circle two putts for birdie.
Finishing on hole 13, I was able to get the birdie with a sweet shot straight at the basket with my well-seasoned DNA-series Zone. My round was bookended by birdies. I finished 2 over par. It’s not where I wanted to be, but I wasn’t terribly off the pace. I needed to win some strokes back at Muddy Run, and I was confident that I would play Ship Rock much better in round 3.
I started my round off on hole 12, where I cleaned up a quick and easy par. I took an unfortunate bogey on 13 which was caused by a very poor upshot on my end, leaving me way too much to save the par. Little did I know, my upshots were about to kill me this round. After throwing some pretty poor shots on hole 14, I was able to salvage a bogey thanks to an incredible upshot from the top of the hill. Seriously, it was sweet. I followed up that bogey with a stress-free birdie on hole 15. At this point, I was sitting at 1 over, but the throw on 14 and the birdie on 15 had me feeling good.
I threw a solid tee shot on hole 16 and left myself another circle 2 putt for birdie. I didn’t make it and had a 12-footer to finish off the hole. This is when I experienced the worst spit out of my competitive life. My putt entered the basket and moved below the lip of the cage, where it hit something, pushing the disc backward and up and over the rim. I was not very happy after that one.
Due to the spit out on the previous basket, my throw on 17 could only be described as an angry shot. I put myself all the way to the mouth of the woods and slightly left. Perfect position. A smooth shot up the hill netted me the first birdie I’ve ever gotten on the gold layout for hole 17. I was back to 1 over and feeling ok. The subsequent bogeys on holes 18 and 1 didn’t help with my efforts to shoot well on the course.
One hole later, I found myself on hole 3. Typically, I’m able to slice and dice this hole up with some well-placed thumbers. This did not happen. I abandoned the script when my first shot set me up for a backhand to gain a lot of ground. Rather than cut it in 2 with overhand shots, I went for it. Tree. I went for it again. Tree. A few shots and a putt later, I took double bogey. Hole 4 was where everything finally went off the rails.
I hit every single tree on hole 4’s fairway. The hard part is that all the shots were inches off the line I needed. They came out of my hand smooth and fast, but just off the mark. I took a quadruple bogey on the hole and my grip on my sanity began to loosen. I took a few more bogeys over the rest of the round and somehow finished with a birdie on hole 11 thanks to 2 solid thumbers.
It was the worst-rated round of the last two years, and I felt very defeated. I had dropped to the second to last card on the event. While I was frustrated and confused with how things got away from me so quickly, I was not raised to be a quitter. I went home, thought about the rounds, and resolved to come out strong in the morning.
Round 3 was a tee time round, so we were able to play the course from start to finish. The first major event of the round was a double bogey on hole 3. I left myself in some tough spots on the hole, and I paid the price for it. Once again, angry Gary presented himself on hole 4. I threw one of the longest drives of my career and put the second shot nearly under the basket. Birdie.
On hole 5, my drive went right at the basket, nearly ace-running my shot. My disc was under the basket. Birdie. We were rolling and ready to continue to run. I then went on a par run that lasted until hole 12. Hole 12 has been a nemesis of mine for a long time. On the previous weekend, I birdied it for the first time ever. Well, guess what, not only did I birdie it in this round. I did it with a 5-foot tap-in.
I found myself, yet again, at hole 16. This time, I looked at the scores and saw that I was only a few strokes away from moving up a few more spots, but I was also clear of a few people below me. I decided to get aggressive since in my mind, there wasn’t much to lose. Playing aggressively didn’t suit me as I took a bogey on holes 16 and 17. I took the par on 18 to finish the round at 1 over, slightly better than the first round.
I stuck around to see my friends finish and cheer on the others. It was tough to finish low, but I’m glad I ended on a higher note. Sticking around also got me the chance to see one of the most impressive shots I’ve ever seen in person as Josiah Hansen threw a mind-bending turnover bomb over the trees, almost acing hole 18. Incredible.
In conclusion, it wasn’t the tournament-level play I expected of myself. It’s unfortunate, but that is the nature of learning and disc golf. I have not been able to play as much recently due to the obligations I have in life, which is fine. However, it’s proving to be a challenge on the consistency of my game. That’s something that I’m going to need to work on.
I can say as a matter of fact that it was an exceptionally well-run event, and I appreciate the push to allow us MA2 players to play some awesome courses and layouts. I shouldn’t be surprised though, when the TD is Pennsylvania State Coordinator Shawn Conroy, good things are going to happen. In my humble opinion, he’s one of the best TD’s in the area, up there with the likes of Mike Snyder and Mike Solt.
It’s also obvious to say that my card mates were incredible all weekend. We have such a wonderful community of disc golfers around us. I couldn’t be any luckier to be playing disc golf around here and at this time in my life.
Where did you play this past weekend? What tournaments are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments down below!
Gary Daddario III - www.thumberlife.com