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Sudden-death playoffs the rule in Tahoe Challenge

Michael Traum

Close calls, first-of-alls and summer time squalls marked the Tahoe Challenge IV amateur disc golf tournament this weekend at Bijou Community Park.

Two divisions ended with sudden-death playoffs, while another was decided by one shot. Meanwhile, the first-ever Amateur 2 women’s division on the NorCal circuit was played. And on Saturday, strong thunderstorms with course-drenching rains moved through the area.

But the 115 amateur players enjoyed pleasant weather during Sunday’s final rounds and came away with a great disc golf experience, according to tournament organizer Craig Getty.

“Even if people weren’t playing well, they were smiling. It was nice to see,” Getty said. “The course was much improved and challenging and people noticed it. It was a definite success and should be even bigger next year.”

Players competed for nearly $3,000 in prizes, with tee and pin placements suited for each ability level. Competition was stiff and no T-shirt or disc went unearned.

In the Men’s masters division, David McIntyre and Manny Ambrosia, who ironically live just one block from each other in Pacific Grove, Calif., finished regulation play tied at 273 strokes. The duo managed pars on the first two playoff holes before Ambrosia bogeyed on No. 3 to give the title to McIntyre.

“It made it easier playing with somebody I knew,” said McIntyre, who entered the final nine holes two strokes behind his friend. “I just played it hole by hole, not letting the unnecessary things get into my head. I expected Manny to hold up. He’s a good player.”

Added Ambrosia, who was noticeably feeling the pressure through the final holes, “I was nervous, jittery and shaky. You lose your mind, body and legs. But they were still some of the best rounds of my life. And I was happy to see David win it.”

Also in the masters division, South Lake Tahoe’s Tim Parsons entered the final nine holes just one shot behind Ambrosia before catching a few bad breaks, including a one-stroke penalty for getting a disc stuck in a tree, to finish in third place. Still, Parsons posted the best score of any local player in any division, finishing at 275. Locals in the masters division included Russell Wey (280) and Steve Newell (294).

In the advanced women’s division, Lisa Reisch and Jessica Love finished regulation tied at 319 before Reisch took the title in a playoff.

In the advanced men’s division, Santa Cruz’s Jack Trageser and Emry Shultz traded the lead through the final nine. But Shultz’s bogey on the last hole gave Trageser a one-stroke win. Lake Tahoe’s Jim Ruger shot 277 while Brian Morgan shot 278.

“We were talking all week that we wanted to finish 1-2 either way. It’s pretty cool,” Trageser said.

In the inaugural amateur women’s 2 division, Jamie Silva shot 327, winning by 22 strokes.

In the men’s amateur 2 division, Eric Drake edged Wayne Case, 265 to 269.

In the junior division, Mike Hoellwarth’s 326 was good enough to win.

The Tahoe Challenge was the first of at least two PDGA-sanctioned events scheduled for Bijou Park this summer. Next weekend, more than 70 professional players will throw for comparable prize money. Getty said he hopes to host a world tour event sometime in the next few years.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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