Philly native wins biggest "toin-a-ment" of season
Success in disc golf for Matthew Egan is as simple as getting a good Philly cheese steak in Pennsylvania.
The former three-sport prep star from Bethlehem, Pa., is a newcomer to the sport, and last month he became a champion of the north regions in two states.
One week after winning the advanced masters 40-and-over division in Zephyr Cove’s Northern Nevada State Championships, the South Lake Tahoe resident won the prestigious NorCal Championship at Browns Valley.
Egan, whose days as an amateur are numbered, defeated a field of 26, including second-place finisher Steve Newell, the offensive coordinator of the South Tahoe High football team.
“Steve was on my heels the whole time,” Egan said. “He pushed me up here, and he pushed me down there.”
Egan finished second in June’s Tahoe Daily Tribune event, one stroke out of first and just ahead of Newell.
The South Shore duo’s exceptional play is only exceeded by their volunteer efforts at Bijou Community Park. Egan and course pro Russell Wey have maintained the natural tee pads at the course this year, and Newell has donated hundreds of hours in work since the course’s inception in 1994.
Egan learned about disc golf a few years ago when he brought his daughters to the park. When his disc-golfing brother moved to Tahoe, Egan decided to give it a try.
He competed in the Tribune tournament in 2001 and did so well he decided to enter the pro event the next week. But in a practice round he injured a knee, which required surgery and ended his season.
This year, Egan came back with a new style.
“I can’t run up on my drives any more,” he said. “I am a one-stepper.”
More unusual is his overhand shot called a thumber, which the ex-pitcher and quarterback uses at every opportunity.
The short Browns and Bows course, located West of Marysville, was ideal for Egan’s game.
“It was pretty much a putter’s course,” he said. “I used my putter and, if the hole was more than 200 feet, the thumber.”
With two firsts and a second in seven “toin-a-ments” this season, Egan is on the verge of being bumped to the pro division. He plans to compete once more as an amateur in the Las Vegas Halloween Classic before returning to a NorCal event and learning his fate.
Meanwhile, Egan, Newell and the rest of South Shore’s top players will compete Sunday for the Tahoe Cup, which will also be the final event in the monthly Soup Series.
Dan Thrift leads the season grand prix by just two points over his nearest competitor and a field of more than 50 players.
Thrift has the honors of serving warm soup beginning at 9 a.m., with the fifth annual Tahoe Cup starting at 10 a.m. John Perry is the two-time defending men’s champion. “Bead Chick” Gayle Vineyard is the reigning women’s champ.
“There are at least five guys who can win it,” Egan said, singling out one player, Chris Robbins, who was fifth in the advanced division at the NorCal Championship. “If Chris brings his putter, it’s gonna be a dogfight. This is for bragging rights for the whole winter.”
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