2006 Tauranga Extreme
Disc Golf Tournament
McLaren Falls Park, Tauranga,
April 29-30 2006
It used to be New Zealand's toughest disc golf
course. And by all accounts, Australasia's toughest. But after
someone told Tournament Director Dean Marshall
that the Tauranga Extreme was not really extreme, his alterations
to the course make it an easy contender for Toughest
Disc Golf Course on Planet Earth!
This being said, the 20 hardy golfers that
turned up for The Extreme were greeted
by a park in full bloom with trees of all kinds and colour gently
moving in the light breeze that never got past light and was
often non-existent. And speaking of conditions, it turned out
that this particular area appeared to have the best weather
of all of New Zealand that weekend - ha ha! Whilst there was
one or two showers, we were mainly treated to warm, often sunny,
conditions for all four rounds.
The tournament started Saturday morning from the lodge
headquarters that was to host half the players over
night (by the sounds of it, Simon Feasey
(Auckland) had christened HQ on the Friday night with
a few samplings of a fine Port).
TD Dean welcomed the players before sending them out
into the wild green yonder that is the magnificent McLaren
Falls Park. Was Dean to succumb to the pressure
of TD - something we see affect many golfers (other
than the mighty Feasey - see this year's NZ
Disc Golf Nationals story)? We would know come Sunday
Well, after the first round it was looking to be a
race between the two favourites, Dean and Simon, with
Simon holding a 2 shot advantage. On a course like this,
that can mean very little. Then again, it can mean a
lot (shut up Gabb!).
The scores overall were pretty impressive considering
the testing course - the lack of wind being appreciated
by all. Simon's 1-over 57 had everyone wondering if
anyone would manage to get sub-par.
Bee Gees Live
- Golfer come entertainer Baz Keene (Taihape)
led the lads in this perfect rendition of a Bee Gees classic
at the lodge Saturday night. Wonderful stuff - see young
'fit' lad David Keene out for the count
in the background - the old fellas were too much for him!
Note: video file size is 4 meg.
Bruno Whale (Taumarunui) was the high flyer
of the first round, firing a 2-over 59 to sit in second equal
with Dean. He continues to improve and has already started practicing
his acceptance speeches for that day he takes out a tournie
(not too far away me thinks - ed.)
After a quick nosh courtesy of Subway, the
trusty troops headed back out, now in seeded groups. The top
two groups were all in contention with a mere 4 shots between
them all - staggering when you consider the unlucky rollers
and amount of tree bunkers on every hole.
By the end of play (after a looong wait for
the Waiheke group - always last in by over 40 minutes!), Dean
had pegged back Simon to be dead even with him, firing the first
par round of the tournament - nice. Blair Joines
(Taumarunui) fired a very fine 1-over 57 to take his 'rightful
place' in the top group for Sunday morning. Plus he was determined
that Bruno would not end up in front of him after 4 rounds.
Ah, the pleasent rivalry of kiwi disc golf.
And so it was on to an evening of rest and
relaxation. Well, for Dean at least as he sneaked home. For
the lads staying the night in HQ, it was Foozball and singing
(terrible singing, believe me!) with Pete Boyle providing percussion
via a couple of 2 litre plastic bottles and a plastic bin. One
would think they were trying to keep poor ol' Simon awake, but
he soon quietened them all down by walking out in his jocks
for a glass of water - that sight is enough to quieten even
Dylan and he wasn't even there!
The third round on Sunday is where much shuffling
of places can occur as players try to position themselves for
the final and last round. Local legend Dean Marshall
pulled of another excellent par round to sit ahead of Simon
by two shots. There was now some daylight between these two
and the rest of the field - 6 shots back to Blair. The Ace Pool
was still alive and stories abounded of some very close calls
- usually from the strong and steady arm of the agressive Eagle
throwing arm of Mexican Wonder Juan Unda (the
Unda Thunder Wonder living Down Under!). His grassy knoll shot
on his 72nd hole with his famous "Arthur Eagle" was
the straightest, most direct shot we have ever seen. That it
did not clang straight into the chains was beyond the entire
group, but he was pleased to take the gimmie birdie to finish.
There were some tired bodies that returned
to HQ - for many it was now a case of survival. But for all,
the final round was a challenge to see if they could better
their 3 previous rounds and secure targetted placings for those
crucial Tour Points.
Most interest for the large gallery (a man
and woman walking their dog) was focused on the top group of
course. Was Dean going to play classic Match Play style and
try and keep that paper thin lead of 2 shots? A defining moment
came on the 10th when a 4 metre putt for Simon bounced out and
rolled. And rolled. And rolled. In the end a potential birdie
had turned into a quadruple bogie and by the 18th tee Dean had
a 5 shot lead. Unbeatable you would say, but remember - this
is The Extreme and anything can happen.
Sure enough, Dean's drive slammed into the
slopes and started what was looking to be a swamp run 110 metres
down into the scary (but very picturesque) swamp that had been
eating up discs on the 18th, 17th, 1st and 2nd holes. Luck was
on Marshall's side as the disc somehow stopped its roll after
only 15 or so metres. And so at the end of play, he held onto
a 4 shot lead to make it back to back wins on the circuit (he
won The Hill by 3 over Simon in April). Great golf and a well
Disc Golf rookie David Keene
continued his surge to the top with an outright 4th place -
despite a 2 shot scorecard penalty. It looks like we are to
finally see some of the younger players battling the mighty
Feasey for the top spot. But based on Simon's great win in Taiwan,
it may be some time before the level headed Kingslander lets
go of the mantle.
Baskets were recovered, hands were shook and
shattered bodies retired back to 'real' life. Big ups to all
involved, especially Tournament Director and 2006 Tauranga
Extreme Disc Golf Champion Dean Marshall. No one shot
under par, but Dean was the only player to manage par 56 and he did
that an amazing 3 times! And if we find out who told him the
Extreme was easy, he'll get a slap around the chops!!
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