2010 Gentil Sport Taupo Classic | Spa Park, Taupo, New Zealand July 3, 4 2010
Lawton "Sonny-Bill" Williams played some awesome shots, Shane "LP" Sullivan struggled at times, Warren "Rabs" Gray pulled out all the shots and Des "Rolly" Cooper was sorely missed. We invite you to enjoy this story provided by the event's Tournament Director Bob Gentil...
The general consensus was that it was a bit of a gamble shifting the 2010 Gentil Sport Taupo Classic to July, but with not many TD’s keen to hold their events over winter the decision was made to give it a crack, as the pumice under foot in Spa Park was never going to chop up and get muddy, and it all turned out great.
What a brilliant weekend of Disc Golf, 40 players including ‘5’ J12 boys and apart from the cooler start to the days even the weather came to the party.
What a thrill to see that many players gathered for the Saturday morning players meeting, a few suffering just a little from the brilliant Pink Floyd tribute concert at the Spa Hotel which ran until the small hours of Saturday morning. Nice touch who ever organised that! The meeting featured a lot of the usual suspects along with the Levin crew and a few faces this reporter hadn’t seen before, which after covering the sport for over 30 years is truly a thrill to see.
By the time half a dozen holes of the first round had been played the sun had burnt off the cool mist and jackets are gloves were being discarded all over the course; it was verging on tee-shirt weather, apart from in the cooler shaded parts of the park.
As the random groups came in for lunch Tauranga golfer Dean Marshall had the lead with an impressive 51 [5 under the card], BOP team-mate Andrew Taylor was second with a 53, West Auckland’s Simon Feasey 3rd on 54 and the GM’s Bob Gentil and Pete Boyle a shot back on 55.
After lunch TD Bob ‘GM’ Gentil announced the tournament would be seeded from there on in which may not be quite so social, but what it does do is encourage competition within the competition as players of a similar level take on the course and their group.
At the end of the second round Dean and Simon were tied for the lead on 106 with the GM just 2 shots back in 3rd, 2 up on the Taumarunui legend Pete Boyle. They would make up the top group on hole 1 in the morning for the final full round of 18. Not that there was a big gap on the second group starting on hole 3; Blair Joines, Damian Peters and Andrew Taylor were all in with a shot at the ‘Super 6’.
The Spa Hotel bar was a good venue for the NZDG Annual meeting on the Saturday evening with some constructive input from those attending, and even some that didn’t. Thanks to all. 2010 NZDGMeeting Minutes can be viewed here (pdf 96Kb, opens in new window). A pub dinner following the meeting was the call of the evening before heading back to the warmth of the chalets where Marty de Haas revelled in highlights of the Dutch World Cup win over Brazil (even cheering in his sleep - sleepy Ed.).
Sunday morning and the near freezing temperature saw players turning up to the course wearing multiple layers of cloths for the 8:45am players meeting. The mist was to stick around till the end of play making conditions a little testing as it was hard to keep any form of feel in your fingers.
When the totals were sorted following the 3rd round it was straight into the now familiar Spa Park ‘Super 6’ holes; 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 & 1. Simon Feasey on 158 had taken a 1 shot lead over Dean Marshall  with the GM and the Lost Tribes Blair Joines tied for 3rd on 165. Damian Peters came back well from a disappointing first round to nab a ‘Super 6’ spot on 166 with GM Pete Boyle just 1 shot back on 167.
But wait! There’s more! Pete Boyle played a blinder ‘Super 6’ shooting a 16 and improving 2 places over all and taking the Grand Masters Trophy, compatriot Blair Joines also played some great golf improving to take out 3rd over all and second in his Masters division. Dean Marshall held onto second over all and in doing so took out the Masters title with the GM and Damian fighting for the ‘Super 6’ scraps, with Mr Consistent Simon Feasey taking the over all and Open title for yet another 50 tour points.
The woman’s title went for the 4th year in a row to Fiona ‘Ming’ Menzies just 1 shot back from her son Henry Conway wining the J15 title. Toby Gentil played some beautiful golf to take out the J12 Championship ahead of Auckland’s Sheldon Antonio, Tyler Ambler and Tauranga’s Max Conway.
Congratulations to all. There’s no doubt about it .. Disc Golf was the winner on the day.
Staying Warm - The keen golfers were all on time and rugged up against the cold for Saturday morning's Player's Meeting.
Misting Up - Yes it was an emotional time for multiple champ Simon Feasey returning to one of his favourtie courses. Here he warms up that massive arm for the battles ahead.
Warm Up - Friday evening saw many of the early arrivers checking out the Pink Floyd tribute band In The Pink at the Spa Hotel right at the Spa Park accomodation. Here Dad Bob Gentil (Kauri Point, New Zealand) enjoys some timeless tunes with son Toby.
Flaxitive Taylor - oft TD Andrew Taylor (Tauranga) had it all to do after an impressive 4 under 53 in the first round to hold 2nd place.
. Five Kids and a Frisbee -Dazza Swatilla (Tauranga) is watched by the Junior U12 group on the 16th as he sends his disc gently towards the basket.
Which Arm Did I Use? -Brendon Love (somewhere) gracefully drives low on the short but tricky 7th watched by Pete Boyle (Taumarunui).
Kaching Keith - Keith 'Woody' Innwood (Auckland) makes his 20 metre put on the 179m signature hole #8 ‘To the Point’.
Woody in the Woods - Keith ‘Woody’ Innwood (Auckland) putts out of the flax bush protecting the basket on hole 13.
Here's a bit of vid our intrepid cameraman Phokus McMikrofone captured (remember this was taken by a participating player, so please forgive the shakiness!)
No Rain? I'll Stay - Spa Park hole 13 surrounded as Tauranga golfer Dean Marshall lines up his lob putt.
'Knee'ds a Good Score - Dean Marshall (Tauranga) putts around the tall timber on number 3 as fellow BOP golfer Andrew Taylor looks on.
I'll Do It My Way -Carson Boon (Wellington) perfected the uphill roller for the 7th. Little chance of an Ace but it did get him up to the green at least once.
(Mush)room with a View - the colours and sights of Spa Park threatened to take over the spectacle of the disc golf - until Juan Unda upped his game.
All Hail the Scriber -Nigel Hailstone (Auckland) is now a regular contributor to www.discgolf.co.nz with his eloquent passages and spontaneously structured prose. Here he shows similar control but of a plastic disc towards the ultimate goal of the basket chains on hole 13.
. That's not your initials! - in the true tradition of disc golf, new friends were made on the golf course as Mexican Madman Juan Unda met Wellingtonian Sam Burke. Burke showed great skills for a relative newbie and looked to enjoy the trials and tribulations of competition dic golf. "And he invited me to his ranch in Tiajuana one day!" said Sam.
Turf Wars - conditions at Spa Park are great even during winter. It took a massive arm to cause a disc to wedge into the turf. I can read the name on that Wraith: j..u...a..n...u...n...d....
You Want Me to Eat That!? - J-12 Winner Toby Gentil looking at doing a spot of carbo-loading on the Saturday evening.
Flyer Tyler - J-12 contender Tyler Ambler (Auckland) competing in his second Gentil Sport Taupo Classic.
Another Conway: Another Good Player - A regular J-12 player at the Taupo Classic Max Conway shows his putting style.
Gentil As She Goes - “Visualise the shot Dad then just do it!” was the advice offered to the GM by his son Toby who carried his bag for the ‘Super 6’ (actually what we heard was "Foot fault!" - ed). The mighty Waikato River appears in the background to this hole 11 shot.
Blue Sky Fling - Hole 18 and Arthur Pengally (Wellington) drive in the mod-winter sunshine. Wicked!
Low Trajectory - Blair Joines (Taumarunui) elected the direct approach on hole 7, a shot that required precision of the height factor.
Disc Golf on the Web - the morning dew combined with the overnight work of the local spider population to provide players with a spectacle of light and arachnid construction techniques (Hailstone is rubbing off on me! - ed.).
Japan Man - back from a successful trip to Japan (interview coming), eventual Taupo Classic winner Simon Feasey (Auckland) shows his style putting back up the hill on the aptly named ‘Don’t be scared’ #4.
. Radient on the Gradient -Bruno Whale (Taumarunui) doesn't need make up to look good on the course (so why was he wearing some? - ed.).
'Mist' the Putt, Need to 'Rays" My Game - by late morning the sun started to burn off the cold mist and then play was held under blue skies.
Scrambler Ambler - Chris Ambler (Auckland) ensures his big drive on the long hole 8 is directed slightly downhill to avoid a bad fade.
Go For It - We made the basket more visible for you here on the 9th as Jimmy Conway (Tauranga) takes advantage of the safe backdrop to aggressively shoot for the chains.
Native Expression - Jimmy Conway (Tauranga) hammers an uphill approach on the 10th
Focus on Them There Chains - it was impressive and reassuring for the future of NZ Disc Golf to see the J-12 group playing with style and ettiquette throughout.
Morning Blues - The cool mist that rose from the thermal river stuck around for the morning rounds creating art out of everything.
Snookered - Auckland golfer Keith ‘Woody’ Innwood makes a run at basket 10 from an awkward lie on the hill behind.
. Junior Ranks - 4 of the 5 boys competing for the J12 Taupo Classic title, Max Conway, Toby Gentil, Tyler Ambler and Sheldon Antonio.
Dames with Discs - Two of the 4 regular women competing on the NZDG Tour, Karoline Jonsson from Tauranga putts out hole #1 as Jenny Joynt looks on.
Love the Hat - Ming Menzies (Tauranga) releases her drive the long tricky 10th.
Twiggy - Surrounded by the leafless branches of a winter Spa Park, Damion Peters drives the spectacular 6th.
Not The Only Falls We Saw - There's always something to do at Taupo. Top Kiwi disc golfer Marty de Haas (Auckland) took some time out to check out the mighty Huka Falls on his MTB.
. Invisible Handshake -Taumarunui Disc Golf Legend Pete Boyle running away with the Grand Masters trophy for the second year running, as the ‘Super 6’ gallery looks on.
Misting Up - Random shot to balance the page (at least I'm honest! - ed.).
Spa-tacular! - And the winners were …. Every one who played over the weekend! But the trophies went to Pete Boyle GM, Toby Gentil J12, Dean Marshall Masters, Henry Conway J15, Fiona ‘Ming’ Menzies Woman and Simon Feasey Open. Congratulations!