The third round of the 15th US Disc Golf Championship concluded with tons of surprises, a great showing from local Charlotte favorite Kevin Tritten, and news of subversive behavior after hours.
First off, let’s talk about the shocking behavior of some local thieves. In the very early morning hours, around 2 a.m., the second thief of this tournament attempted to swim Winthrop Lake to retrieve valuable discs belonging to the professionals who tossed them during championship play this week.
Before you think, well they were lost discs who cares? Let’s be direct. These discs are not dime a dozen golf balls. And they aren’t lost.
Winthrop and the staff of the USDGC have put recovery plans into place which sees many discs returned to the pro who threw them. This was hindered last year when thieves attempted to use a few approaches in retrieving the valuable discs to sell on e-bay.
This shady practice of robbing professional players of their gear so they can sell them for more cash than they are sold at retail, all because they can use the pros identifying marking on the disc to jack up the prices on sites like e-bay.
In this particular case, the thief used wet suits to cover himself and camouflage himself into the darkness of mid-night to sneak onto the course, enter the lake, and begin feeling around with his feet to find lost discs. After recovering no more than 16 discs reports were made by staff on site and Winthrop’s Campus police responded. A chase began which resulted in the culprit being apprehended hiding against the bamboo wall that guards hole 7’s basket.
This behavior is ridiculous and for those of you out there who may consider such a foolish act. Be warned. These subversive efforts to rob professionals and cash in on their name and hard work will not succeed. Winthrop’s campus police, USDGC Staff, and volunteers patrol and maintain surveillance of the course, particularly the lake, which is always off limits for swimming.
After reporting the arrest to USDGC officials, they are resolved to prevent further thefts.
The USDGC plans to continue removing the discs as they have planned while hoping no other issues arise to detract from what is an otherwise excellent tournament environment.
Back to the action of the third round. In the Performance Flight group, as I had expected, Charlotte’s hot tossing local favorite, Kevin Tritten not only continued his stellar play from the first two days, but he knocked his fellow competitors out of the way and into the top spot of the field. He now sits at -19 under his projected score.
The Performance Flight top five after the third round sits at:
1) Kevin Tritten -19
2) Phillip-Tyler Belt -17
3) Taylor Maslowski -15
4) Zachary Anders -14
5) A five way tie for fifth. See. http://www.usdgclive.com/leaderboard/performance/ for the details of the rest of the Performance Flight competitors.
The Open Flight Group saw a third round switch after Nathan Doss of Oregon (previous winner of the USDGC in 2008) lost the lead to New York’s Steve Brinster who has set a fantastic pace with rounds of 55, 63, and 57.
And in disappointing news, California’s star professional, and winner of three out of four Disc golf majors this year, Paul McBeth, slipped even further down to number 20 after struggling in round three. His rounds of 62, 62, and today’s frustrating 67 have left him with some hard work to do in tomorrow’s final round. But have no fear. He is part of a close group of pros in the -10 to =13 range which means he could find himself pretty easily back in the top ten with even a slightly better day tomorrow.
The top ten in the Open Flight Group (The Pros) after three rounds:
1) Steve Brinseter (NY) -26
2) Nathan Doss (OR) -25
3) Steve Rico (CA) -23
4) Will Schusterick (TN) -22
5) Tied for fifth: Barry Schulz (NC) -21 and Matt Orum (AL) -21.
Other notable professionals: Previous US Champ, Nikko Locastro (MO) sits at -11 with rounds of 62, 68, and today’s much better 60. He struggled on the final hole after a great tee shot, but he is on the upswing and should play good enough to find himself in the top fifteen by the end of tomorrow’s final round.
I spoke with first time USDGC attendees, fans from the St. Louis area, who drove the 12 hour plus haul to get to Rock Hill for today and the final round tomorrow. Gary, the father, and his son Chris (Who will play his first competition in Disc Golf later this year) made sure they wore red, along with Chris’ St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap, to let their local star Nikko Locastro (from St. Louis, MO) know he had fan support. They were having a great time following Nikko’s group around Winthrop’s Gold Course today. Gary told me “We had a lot of fun following the (Performance Flight) players around the course this morning, just learning the course.”
Their story was one just like so many players who come from hundreds of miles away to the USDGC. Players and fans alike are coming from all over the globe which makes the US Championship at Winthrop so great. Attending this tournament gives you a chance to meet disc golfers from the four corners of the globe making this sport one of the best unifiers between cultures and people.
For some great shots from this year’s USDGC, head over to Charlotte Area Photographer and Disc Golfer, George Cole’s site: http://splatinc.smugmug.com/event/USDGC2013/8KMcFZ1Ir2yVM
He has images broken down by day/round and has a decent variety of shots capturing the pros, some after hours ping pong, and great event images.
This has been an awesome week at the 15th US Disc Golf Championship. While I can’t wait to see who takes the Championship, I don’t really want it to be over. I hope to see you all at the Pro Shop tomorrow for the conclusion of the final round and the fan favorite, Long Distance Driving Competition titled “Distance Showcase.”