Disc golfers turn up the heat with pro tournament
Disc golfers can expect a warm weekend for the seventh annual Tahoe Daily Tribune Pro Tournament at Bijou Community Park. However, the heat became too intense Thursday morning when a cigarette butt ignited a 5-square-foot section by the “log” on the 13th fairway.
“If it would have gone on any longer, it could have canceled the tournament,” said tournament director Russell Wey, who was delighted by the prompt action of the South Tahoe Fire Department, which extinguished the fire after receiving a tip from hole sponsors Gregg and Marlene Lewis.
As a result, as many as 80 players will compete for a guaranteed $6,000 purse, which could rise to $10,000 by the opening round of the tournament Saturday.
The prize money and venue will attract some of the world’s top players as well as the region’s best to the two-day event.
Michigan’s Ron Russell, the 1999 world champion, is among the favorites as are previous tournament champions Geoff Lissaman of Grass Valley, Calif., Orangevale’s Jim Oates and Sylmar’s Steve Rico.
“Geoff and Jim could be right there, especially because they are here and can play the course more often,” Wey said.
Although entries from the surrounding area are minimal, these players should have even a greater edge with their local course knowledge. Among them are Tim Parsons of Christmas Valley; Craig Getty of Reno; John Perry of South Lake Tahoe; Orangevale’s Brian Jonas, who was raised in South Lake Tahoe; and curious amateurs Bubba Egan and Victoria George. Egan placed sixth in last weekend’s advanced amateur tournament and George tied for second in the advanced amateur women’s field.
Wey says that the competitiveness of the pro ranks has kept some amateurs from stepping up.
“If they are used to winning in their amateur divisions, they want to keep winning. If they go up, they’ll be starting over again,” Wey said.
Players can expect a longer, more technical course than the one that was set up for the amateurs.
Wey will take entries right up until tournament time. A registration is set for 6-10 p.m. Friday at Bill’s Casino, and players can sign up Saturday before 8 a.m. at the course. The cost is $85 for the open division and $75 for all other divisions, which include men’s masters, women, men’s grand masters and possibly women’s masters. Entry fees include lunch and a T-shirt.
Golfers play three rounds of 27 holes, with the top four in each division advancing for a final nine-hole round. A players’ meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, with action commencing at 9 a.m.
If you see Wey, a player himself but not this week, eating one of Waffles of California’s specialties, you’ll know most of his work is done.
“At that point, it’s icing on the cake. I’m finally able to relax,” said the first-year tournament director.
Note: Last week, Jason Gilbert of the South Shore and Tom Reicheck of Stateline won the intermediate and grand masters divisions, respectively.
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