February 8 - 10, 2013 at Woodhill Forest, Auckland, New Zealand
The crowd goes wild, literally!
The 2013 New Zealand Disc Golf Nationals had a new look, a new feel and plenty of new faces, along with a new TD all combining to make for a great tournament.
A massive Thank You to all the sponsors Hallertau Brewery, Monster Energy Drinks, Hukk It, Jungle Coffee, Woodhill Mountain Bike Park, Teva, www.dudediscs.com.au, www.discgolf.co.nz , www.discology.com.au, www.innova.com & Eclipse Sport for all the support you gave to the event made for a Nationals tournament worthy of the title.
Fantastic weather was put on for the weekend's tournament not to mention a fantastic location with one of the most testing courses New Zealand has seen since Disc Golf Hall of Famer Bob Gentil bought the sport here back in 1976.
Friday's two rounds of Doubles play saw a day of camaraderie along with a chance to get familiar with the course and figure out the hot spots and danger spots. This is traditionally one of the best chances to get to play the course well. As for the following two days there would be no partner to help you get out of jail.
Round one and hardly needing to use their get-out-of-jail-free card was Auckland's Damien Peters & Brad Muir who paired up and set the pace in the Men’s division shooting a hot course record of 46 with three other pairs only being able to muster a score of 50. Going into the second round the chasing pack would need to work hard to haul the leaders in.
In the Mixed Doubles division the exciting pairing of Ming Menzies and Dean Marshall found themselves up against the other main contenders of Blair Joines & Gemma Sullivan, both within a few shots of each other after the first round. Blair & Gemma had their noses in front after the morning round thanks to some amazing solo birdies from Gemma being the difference. But could they hold it together for another round was the question?
The afternoon rounds saw Dean and Ming come so close to pinching the title from first round leaders Blair & Gemma unfortunately running out of holes to close the gap and thus leaving the 2013 Mixed Doubles Champions Blair Joines & Gemma Sullivan to celebrate with a few cheeky ales.
In the Mens doubles a simular path followed with the first round leaders of Damo and Brad extending their lead on their playing partners Moe Doerken & David Keene and the rest of the field. The chasing pairs of Juan Unda & Pete Boyle, Shane Sullivan & AB Hartley & the Aussie contingent of Chris Finn & Richard Sampson unable to close the gap, left to fight over the minor placings. A nice surprise was seeing the ever so vibrant pairing of Mark Hamilton & Jo “Fish “ Seebeck sneak their way onto the podium with a 3rd placing just piping the male model pairing of Unda & Boyle who finished strong to take out forth place.
What an entrée to start with and the players were now fully aware of what the course has to offer from the great design and hard work Haydn Shore and Jacob Corcoran had put into to get this course into an amazing test of Disc Golf skill. Even better yet was the fact that The Crowd Goes Wild TV show had come out to give Disc Golf Some cool TV press. See the coverage here.
The weekend was now ready for the main course of singles. The Saturday morning saw one of the biggest fields ever for a national Disc Golf tournament and it was amazing to see so many fresh faces - 68 in total!!!! A new venue, new course so why not have a new leader after the first round as well with co-course designer Jacob Corcoran shooting an amazing 52 to be at the head of the field even with 9 time champion Simon Feasey. While International Moe Doerken from Germany was close behind with a 54 and from across the Tasman Chris Finn had shot an impressive 56 to be right there in the mix.
The afternoon proved even harder with the heat of the day and a little bit of player fatigue setting in and with random group draws again it kept the banter and laughter going, not to mention it is always good to mix in with people you have never played with before. Only a handful of players were able to shoot better than the morning's round left the door wide open for a number of players to grab the opportunity with both hands. Not holding back however was Jacob Corcoran again shooting another solid round of 56 to go in as overnight leader on an impressive 108 one in front of the usual suspect Simon Feasey who shot a 57 to finish the day on a 109. Next was David Keene shooting the best afternoon round with a 53 going in on a 110 and Australia’s Chris Finn on an emergency 111 making up the top group for Sunday morning.
The Womans division also had one of it’s biggest turn out’s ever with the standard at an all time high with defending Champion Gemma Sullivan having a real fight on her hands from Queenstown’s own Lisa Te Awhitu showing she hadn’t travelled all this way just for the scenery and went into Sunday with a two shot lead over the defending Champion with Fiona 'Ming' Menzies still hunting them both down from third place.
In the Junior division the travelling lads from Wanaka Dlyan Bradley and Rob Harper had given several times Junior Champion Toby Gentil a big fight bringing the game to him with Dlyan having a six shot lead from Rob with Toby 3 shots further behind. It must be said that it was excellent to see the young talent make it to the tournament and really good to know the game is getting bigger every year.
The tired bodies rescinded to the lovely comfort of the Hallertau Brewbar for the traditional Tournament Dinner. The food and company was excellent as always and it was made even better by the spot prize draw.
Sunday morning saw a nice level of cloud cover to hopefully help with the player comfort and help the scores get lower as every player was trying to achieve that round of Disc Golf euphoria. All the way from Tauranga, Dean Marshall came the closest to this shooting a course record 51 to propel him into the top group for the final round and give him a real chance at winning the title. Overnight leader Jacob Corcoran saw his lead slip away carding a surprising 64, showing that this sort of forested course can get you at any time. The conditions were very testing throughout the morning round and hanging tough was nine time New Zealand Champion Simon Feasey going through the entire course with only one blemish on his scorecard until the last two holes where he carded impressive birdies to finish on a 53 and ascend him to the front of the field with Chris Finn the closest to him a further 3 shots back.
Special mention has to be made to Damien Peters who took out the Spot Prize for hitting the 50 meter upshot into the Signature Basket on the back nine while over in the front nine TD Haydn Shore hitting an amazing birdie on hole one (which was the only birdie on that hole the entire weekend!!!). Meanwhile in the chasing pack the little battles that unfold within had started to form and play on the player’s minds. Could Woody Inwood get one up over Mike “The Doctor” Proctor? Who would win the battle of the new doubles champs between Damo & Brad Muir? Could the GM Bob Gentil catch the youthful frame of Pete Boyle who was leading the Grand Masters division? And then the Tauranga lads of Paul Gosling and Myles Darryl always have a fierce battle between them and who can forget the Levin crew of Lawton Williams, Jackson Sullivan and AB Hartley who only had a few shots between them (not to forget that Gemma Sullivan posted a better score than her brother for the round :o). So there was plenty to play for going into the final round.
With Simon Feasey extending his lead early on in the final round and starting to look uncatchable, some of the attention had turned to the battle for the Open Division with David Keene attempting to bring the Open Division back to New Zealand after we let an American win it the previous year. Back in the pack Gemma Sullivan had managed to work her way in front of Lisa Te Awhitu to a slender and exciting lead of one shot heading into the final nine holes. Pete Boyle got a front row seat to this battle and would further enhance his status by producing yet another solid round to claim the Grand Masters title ahead of the evergreen Brett Hailstone and Bob Gentil.
The Junior division was hotly contested with Toby Gentil shooting an excellent morning round to be within 4 shots of Wanaka’s Dylan Bradley with Rob Harper only one shot further back. The afternoon saw yet another twist with Dylan shooting a solid 63 to take out the Junior title while Rob had managed to just pip Toby for second place by a single shot. Congratulations Dylan on an amazing tournament.
And there was yet more excitement unfolding in the Junior Under 10 division with RJ Flaunty and defending Champion Tialia Feasey having to go to 4 extra playoff holes to find a winner after an amazing comeback from Talia to make up a 7 shot deficit to take it to a playoff. The young first timer of RJ managed to hold his nerve and sink a solid putt to make sure there was a new name on the under 10 trophy for 2013.
With the final few holes Womens division Gemma Sullivan had managed to put the slightest of gaps between her and Lisa extending her lead to two shots which proved enough to defend her title and make her two time National Womans Champion!!! Congratualtions to Gemma, you had an amazing weekend and played some great golf along the way.
There was still the matter of the men to finish up and with Simon Feasey carving his lead out to 9 shots he could simply enjoy the last three holes. However as Simon does, he put on a master class instead and chimed in with birdie, birdie par to finish on a new Course Record of four-under 50 and getting his name on the trophy for a record 10th time!!! Well done Simon! The battle for second had got to hot as well with the Aussie Pro Chris Finn sneaking his nose in front of David Keene with a solid 10 meter put on hole 16, which he backed up on 17 with another birdie. While not to be outdone Keene left himself with a birdie chance on 18 to force extra holes in front of the following crowd, but as his attempt hit the chains from a tough position the Disc Gods were not kind enough to have it stay in the basket giving the Open title to Chris Finn from Australia and second overall with David Keene taking third and Dean Marshall completing the top four.
A special thank you to all that helped make this an amazing weekend and to Haydn Shore and Jacob Corcoran who went above and beyond to make this tournament what it was. We say thank you very much as this one will go down in the books as one of the best.
This reporter, in this crowd certainly had an amazing time and certainly went wild!!!
Riding or Throwing? - In a practise round less than a week before the competition, visiting disc golfer The Jag of Queenstown looks like he's more keen to ride the 100km+ of MTB trails in this area. But tournament favourite Simon Feasey (Oratia) is all concentration as he guides his disc clear of the nasty rough on hole 9.
Players are meeting - 64 players listen intently as Haydz runs through the 'do's and don'ts'.
"All threes?" - Wanaka Junior Dylan Bradley gets down the scores as Gemma heads for the shade and Brad wonders where he it.
Davies the Disc Diva - Christchurch Disc Golfer Chris Davies loving the game again.
The Best - What did you expect at 'Woodhill'. Jymi Best working on the "there is more air than wood in a forest" principal.
Dinner and spot prizes at Hallertau Bar and Brewery on the Saturday evening
Comfy Tees - the artificial grass tees did a great job of dealing with the soft sand. And they offered the chance of a wee kip between holes.
On Target - A Levin partnership for the Doubles that proved deadly was the combination of patriarcal putter Shano Sullivan and leaping lad AB Hartly. Here we see Shano curve his approach to the basket hidden behind the tree. The target in the background is one of the unique targets of the original course here.
Who's in and who's out! - The 'Innova Ring of Fire' competition during the Saturday lunch break.
Cheers! - Chris Davies, Simon Feasey and Paul Cohen enjoying the free beer sampler at the Hallertau Bar that was part of the players pack.
"I Hukked It!" - Sunday lunchtime in front of the MTB crowd and Tim Farmer takes out the prize in the 'Hukkit Closest to the Pin' competition.
Rad Straddle - Queenstown golfer Hemi Te-Awhitu straddles to putt over the tree branch on hole 10.
"I should get this one" - Another Queenstown mover and shaker Chris Dixon enjoying his time on the Woodhill course.
"What's three plus two again?" - Chris Dixon and Marty de Haas sheltered by the tall timber as they check their cards.
私の勝ち！ - Straight from a snowboarding holiday in Japan Damian Peters was not quite on the pace in regular play but did pick up the Innova Traveller Disc Golf Basket from discgolf.co.nz on the bonus ACE run hole.
Peewee Podium - The happy J10 Winners. Talia Feasey, RJ Flaunty, Maia de Haas and (yes, she's happy) Caitlin Feasey.
Strike a pose lads - the J19 winners. First Dylan Bradley (18), second Rob Harper (17), third Toby Gentil (15).
"Where have I put my keys?" - The 2013 Senior Womens Champions Jenny Joynt (1st) and Robyn Agnew.
Old Friends - The Grand Master Champions for 2013. Pete Boyle first, Michael Proctor second and Marty de Haas third.
Master Class- Masters winners on the podium. Simon Feasey first, Dean Marshall second and Blair Joines third.
"That was ripper Ms Sullivan!" - RJ hands the NZ Women's trophy to Gemma Sullivan for the second year straight as Lisa Te-Awhitu (second) and Ming Menzies (third) look on.
International Field - The NZDG Open title goes across the Tasman for 2013. Chris Finn (Perth) first, David Keene second with Jacob Corcoran (USA) and Moe Dörken (Germany) tied for third.
Simon Feasey, you're a Legend - taking out the NZDG Overall Championship for 2013 by a massive 9 shots over Chris Finn and David Keene.
And the winners are - The NZDG Champions for 2013. Blair Joines Mixed Doubles, RJ Flaunty J10, Chris Finn Open, Dylan Bradley J19, Gemma Sullivan Women's and Mixed Doubles, Pete Boyle Grand Masters, Simon Feasey Masters and Over All, Damian Peters & Brad Muir Doubles and Jenny Joynt Women's Grand Masters.
Twisting by the Pool - Gemma Sullivan (Levin) converts body rotation into disc rotation for yet another excellent straight shot, this time on the firey fifth.
Southern Gals - The Wanaka Chicks, Jess Guy and Robyn Agnew.
Deep in Though - The Wanaka Juniors who took out the top two podium positions at the end of the weekend.
'Frankly, the best sport I have never seen' - The 'Crowd Goes Wild' visited Friday for a piece that evening. Showed our sport in very positively and very funny!.
Monster Job - With 64 players to register Haydz's PA/partner Libby was a busy girl.
Crouch, hold, pull! - Levin Brotherhood's Jackson Sullivan looking for that fine line between power and accuracy.
Release! - Jacko in full flight.
Tuis Moment - 65 metres, that can't be hard .. Yeah right! Mind you, this hole saw the most Ace runs with German Moe bouncing out of the chains at one point.
Kids with Discs - Another great competition in the J10 division. RJ Flaunty, Talia Feasey, Maia deHaas and Caitlin Feasey.
Like father like daughter - The J10 players and their caddies watch as Talia Feasey (Oratia) tries to emulate Dad with a National title.
Do I Smell Sulpher? - The driving force behind keeping the awesome Rotorua Disc Golf Course in shape, 'Team Vegas' were expecting big things as their course is heavily wooded as well.
One for Ireland - Woodhill regular Hayley Ireland shoots the intimidating #6.
Brotherly Approval - Double playing partners Nigel and Brett Hailstone (Auckland) survey Nigel's fine work on the pathways between holes. Always keen to gain approval from his elder brother Nige was skipping to the next hole once Brett announced "You've done gone, brother, good".
Most of the Tee boxes are West coast sand but a few have been very styley 'pimped' with artificial grass and work well as long as it holds together for the weekend. Some of the tee boxes seem quite small but with the longest hole being just 135 metres no-one on our practice round had any problems.
Haydz and his crew have built seats on numerous tees and most have some shade to stay out of the sun but sunscreen, hats and water are a must, especially on the back 9 as this part of the course is a sun trap.
The MTB and Disc Golf Pro-Shop will be open right across the event and they have a selection of snack food, cold drinks and make real coffees as well.
Don't Do It - Once an extreme leap of faith for mountainbikers, the sixth tee allows you to sruvey the tricky downhill line needed to get to the target. Here Nigel Hailstone (Orakei) tries the forehand technique and it worked - an easy 2 resulted.
Ich Shal nur werfen diese Scheibe dort oben, tralala - Berlin's Moe Doerken conitnued to bedazzle spectators with his casual happy 'Herr Flick' technique which certain worked, with the Deutshland Discer making top five overall.
Bring it on!
Just like the shirt - Lawton Williams flying the Levin Brotherhood flag with a solid 7th place in the Open division.
Woodhill Forest, Auckland, New Zealand