Disc Golfers shoot for Tahoe throne
With tight races in each division, the season finale of the Lake Tahoe Disc Golf Series will likely bring a nail-biting finish this weekend at Zephyr Cove Resort’s Northern Nevada State Championships.
“This one’s going down to the wire,” tournament director Dan Thrift said.
The tournament, which gets under way Saturday, will be played on the scenic 18-hole course at Zephyr Cove. The course was designed in 1998 and has recently seen a series of renovations, offering views of Lake Tahoe on eight holes.
But don’t be fooled by the course’s beauty as its up, down and tight fairways are prone to offer tricky window shots for even the top golfers.
“It’s a very challenging course both physically and mentally,” said Thrift, who also is the course pro. “There’s a lot of up-and-down hill throws that really can throw people off their game.”
However, Thrift said golfers should benefit from 18 freshly installed rubber tee mats, the first of their kind in the Tahoe Basin.
“Without the mats it’s a lot like teeing off in a volleyball pit, real sandy,” Thrift said. “I guarantee these new mats are going to take strokes off people’s scores.”
Christmas Valley pro master Tim Parsons proved Thrift right during a practice round Thursday, acing the 240-foot No. 9 with his putter.
“It’s a big thrill,” said Parsons, who nailed the basket with a sidearm throw. “It was my first ace in about two years.”
During the two-day event, golfers will play 54 holes, 36 on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. With the series titles on the line Thrift said he is expecting a field of nearly 90 golfers.
The largest group will likely be in the advanced amateur division, which is clearly the most competitive of the event.
After the first two tournaments (the Tahoe Daily Tribune at Bijou in June and Disc-wood in August) only 12 points separate current frontrunner Jason Herm (108) of Grass Valley and fifth-place competitor Seth Reader (96). Rounding out the division’s top five are Bill Kohler with a 104, Arren Griffis’ 101 and Santa Cruz golfer Don Smith’s 98.5.
“There is always at least three or four of us in this division that are challenging for the lead,” Griffis said.
“This is by far the best group in the tournament,” Smith said. “It’s always a tight race in this division and that’s what I love about it. “
Although he hasn’t played the course, Smith thinks his game is complete enough to challenge for the lead, but he knows this tournament will come down to hitting putts.
“I’m really confident with my accuracy and distance, but it all boils down to putting,” he said. “You drive for show and putt for the dough.”
The amateurs also have close races in the intermediate division where South Shore resident Jason Gilbert (80) is clinging to a five-point lead in the standings over Michael Carter (75) and Shane Prater (75).
On the professional side, Bay area golfer Mike Riley (28.5) holds a two-point lead over Kenny Lee (26.5) from Manteca, creating yet another squeaker of a race in the men’s pro master division.
“The leaders are really going to have to be on their game this weekend,” Thrift said.
The Zephyr Cove Resort championships will get under way at 9 a.m. Saturday at the course and space is still available for interested players. There will be a player check-in and late registration table at the course from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
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