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Pros dominate Tahoe’s disc golf tourney

Tim Parsons

There are two great upshots from Tahoe’s disc golf tournament last weekend:

– The course at Bijou Community Park has two new baskets and by next summer all 27 should be tournament-quality.

– The site has established itself as a regular – and a most popular – stop on the NorCal circuit. Next summer, the tourney will be over two weekends – one for professionals, the other for amateurs.

Tournament director Craig Getty, a Carson City resident and touring player, said the affair was a success. A record turnout for the third Tahoe Challenge had 145 players competing is six divisions. Nearly $1,000 in prize money went to the top pro finishers. And especially good news for Getty, who had never previously organized a tournament, was that he broke even on the event.

Geoff Lissaman, a Grass Valley resident who finished second in the world championships last season, won his second straight Tahoe Challenge – but it wasn’t easy. He was extended to a sudden-death playoff in which he beat Mike Ruzicka after the pair tied at 25-under par after 90 holes.

Defending world champion Anni Kreml dominated the women’s field, shooting 19 over par over 90 holes. She defeated second-place finisher Donna Spreem by 18 tosses.

At the awards ceremony Lissaman told the crowd. “This is one of the most beautiful courses I have ever played.”

Lissaman and fellow pros humbled local players. Four men, Lissaman, Ruzicka, Brian Jonas and Shawn Sinclair, each tied the course record with rounds of 10-under par. There were a pair of aces during the third round- Peter Sontag on No. 8 and Ron Brown on No. 2, which ended the need for a tape measure on the closest-to-the-pin basket. And on No.16, the long drivers put on a show with many approaches traveling well over 400 feet.

A pair of players who locally have made made news this season, Jim Ruger and Brian Morgan, struggled. This spring, Ruger had two aces in two rounds and Morgan won the Bijou tourney during the World’s Biggest Disc Golf Weekend. After the pair posted decent scores during the first two rounds Saturday, they blew up Sunday, shooting 9- and 10-over, respectively.

“A lot of people can shoot rounds a low as the pros, but they can’t do it as consistently,” Getty said.

In the pro masters division, Jim Oates won his second straight championship with a score of 17-under par. He beat Ken Halvorson by two shots. Keith Johnson was 8-under to capture the advanced amateur class and Dave Thomas 2-under to take the amateur masters.

The amateurs only shot three rounds. Emrys Schults won the amateur II class with a 1-under par, beating Matt Halvorson by a stroke. Becky Eames was 68-over to win the amateur women class. Miles Harding was the winner in the junior division with a 75-over.

Notes … Getty is putting his financial neck on the line, guaranteeing Innova he will purchase the remaining 12 Pro Disc Golf Association approved baskets the course needs within in the next year. By promising to buy so many baskets, he will get a discount. … To raise that money, there will be a Soup Series held on the last Sunday of each month. For a modest entry fee, players can contribute to new baskets and a chance to win a can of soup. … The turnout was bigger than expected. It began with groups of five at each tee, plus another two groups. It made for a long day with players on the course nearly 12 hours. … Getty had to drive his truck to the 18th basket, on which he shined his headlights so the final group could finish. … Wayne Case, an amateur from Sacramento, had a wild third round. He had eight early birdies and at one point was 6-under par. But after a streak of bogeys he finished 7-over.


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