Rotorua 2006- The New Zealand Disc Golf Nationals
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2006 New Zealand Disc Golf Nationals
Redwood Forest Park, Rotorua, February 4-6 2006

New Zealand Disc Golf has been enjoying some great events so far in the 21st Centruy and if the Rotorua nationals is anything to go by, 2006 will be a perlor.

We were treated to a stunning setting that had been discovered disc golf-wise by American Scott Caesar when he moved into Rotorua and then molded into a superb course by reigning New Zealand Champion Simon Feasey.

We asked Mr Disc Golf NZ himself, Bob Gentil, to write a story about the weekend...

There is only one problem with holding the premier event on the New Zealand Disc Golf calendar in the mountainbiking Mecca of Rotorua, and that’s that the guy who named the 16th hole ‘Go Ridin’ will probably do just that.

So other than the fact the Mangere Mexican Juan Unda ended up with a ‘DNF’ the 2006 Nationals were a success.

The new Ngapuna Park course was truly testing, with everyone happy about the giant Redwood relief from the sun and even the occasional shower on the Sunday morning.
The Redwood Holiday Park proved to be not just a handy place to stay but also an ideal ‘Frisbee central’ for the weekend.

The NZFDA Inc. Disc Golf AGM and tournament dinner at the Rotorua Golf Club went down well. The only sad thing was the lack of players. I always like to think that the growth in our sport can be measured by the numbers that play Nationals. But maybe most players, 'cos I know there’s more than 30, just prefer to play social golf with their mates and not compete at the top end.

Although that being said, there’s nothing like 3 days throwing plastic with a bunch of like-minded people in a place like Rotovegas. It’s not just about winning .. you can learn a lot over a tournament weekend, and once the field is seeded, each group has it’s own competition going on.

Saturday saw me hobble along to the course, as the players meeting was just getting under way. The Freaky Styley boys had come to the party with the Zaskar Van and the Mountainbike Tent marking out Disc Golf Central.

Following the doubles briefing 15 pairs of players headed for the tees. Including the Tauranga legend Daz Swatilla. The Chef who was the first TD to put a course in the Rotorua Redwoods some 15 years earlier. Welcome back Daz!!

By the end of the day the Lost Tribe's Blair Joines and local Scott Caesar had pulled off a one shot win over Simon Feasey and the man called ‘Fish’, with new comers Andrew and Andrew from Tauranga one further shot back in third. The mixed title went to Ming and son Martin Conway.

Sunday, and Toby’s up early, keen to get to the course to defend his Under 12 title. He’s now 7 and this is his is his third Nationals. Up until about now I’ve been quietly thinking I might be able to play. I’d payed my entry fee and felt the course would suit my kind of placement game. BUT this wasn’t going to happen.. I couldn’t even walk without the help of crutches.. Let alone throw a disc.

So I stayed in front of the ‘Wellington 7’s’ with my leg up, as round’s 1 and 2 of the New Zealand Champs got played out for the first time in 28 years with out me.

Both the Sunday singles rounds were random groups, which was a nice touch as once a tournament is seeded you often end up playing the next 3 rounds with pretty much the same people.

At the end of the day TD and course designer Simon Feasey - on 108 - had a 1 shot lead over Tauranga’s Dean Marshall and Blair Joines from Taumarunui, with a log jam of players a further shot back.

But there were 2 more rounds to come.

Sunday evening saw us at the Rotorua Golf Club for a superb Tournament dinner, followed by the NZFDA Inc. Disc Golf Annual General Meeting. Well done to those people who put their hand’s up yet again to continue running Disc Golf in New Zealand. Our sport in forever indebted.

Monday morning and it’s fine and warm for the final two rounds of the 2006 Singles competition. After round 3 defending Open Champ Simon Feasey had opened up a 7 shot buffer over Dean Marshall, with North Harbour's Chris Kingsnorth and the Lost Tribe's Blair Joines breathing down his neck.

The Final round saw Dean off to a flyer, birdieing 6 of the front nine to cut the lead to just 3.

Was the pressure of being TD, having the brand new Rover break down and fighting off a virus starting to tell?

On the par 3 hole 11 "Tongue ‘n’ Grove" Dean struck trouble - for the second time he double bogeyed the shot into the slot in the trees. Despite 4 more birdies, making it 9 in the round, Simon held on to take the open title by 4. Chris Kingsnorth’s consistent play saw him take the dais in third with just 1 shot back to Blair Joines.

The Masters Title went to Scott Caesar with the Ginger ‘Dev’ Marty De Haas taking second and Waiheke Island golfer Brett Hailstone in third. The Woman’s Title was taken out by Ming Menzies with Cherie taking second. The Grand Masters went to the side arm throwing Taumarunui legend Pete Boyle, with a 19 shot buffer over the defending champ Nigel Barnwell.

The Junior under 18 silverware went to the ever improving Bruno Whale and the Junior Under 12 title was won for the third year in a row by Toby 'but I was the only one there Dad!' Gentil.

Congratulations to every one who helped out and took part in event 1 on the 2006 NZ Disc Golf Tour the ‘New Zealand Disc Golf Championships’.

Hopefully I’ll be good to go by event 3 in Queenstown!


See the pics - click on any image to open a larger version in a new window

Leave It Out! - The shade that the trees provided was welcomed during the hot summers days - and during the quick rain storm on the Saturday. However, Marty still had to shock us with that hairy chest!

Falling Drive - Lefty Loonie Marty de Haas (Matamata) looks like he's going to fall flat on his face with his trademark leftie lean. Baz Keene (Epsom) watches on in dismay at the 14th tee.

The Bruno Breakdance - Complete with crooked cap, Bruno Whale (Taumarunui) continues to refine his game. This year he was definately driving as far as most of the field and comfortably took out the Junior Division

'Go Where I'm Pointing Will Ya' - Caught in a spot of bother on "Framed" - the tricky hole 6 - Marty de Haas (Matamata) lobs in after crawling through to his mark - a move that cost him some skin and the new nickname 'Scratch'. See below.

Do What I Tell You! - First timer David Keene (Auckland) entered the competition with the encouragement of long time disc golfing Uncle Baz. This top level soccer player enjoyed the tournament, complete with knee high socks and a grimace that any long timer golfer would be proud of.

Easy Does It - Nigel B (Waiheke Island) makes it all look casual in his buttoned shirt as he gently coaxes his second shot towards the green on the final 18th in hope of an easy three.

Hammer Hardware - Junior player from Tauranga, Marty Conway, shows he knows all the tricks with this delicate hammer throw to 'chip in' to the green on the 8th.

Doin' The Marshall Twist - He walked away with longest drive on hole 14. And no surprise once you see the poise and power of runner-up Dean Marshall (Tauranga). Here on 10 he lets fly a shank so as to fly safely past the trees at the 80m mark.

It's A Blur! - Josh Smith (Taumarunui apparently [hey Gabb, well done, but there is a slight mistake]) lets loose on hole 11. Be it forehand or backhand, watching this well-balanced athlete combine power with control is quite a sight.

Scratch de Haas - After drawing blood, the determined leftie carried on, even working the scorecard.

Where's Bob? - A question asked by just about every golfer. Bob 'Grand Master' Gentil has played in the last 27 years of New Zealand Nationals - all of them! - and won quite a few too. Unfortunately a ripped scorecard, I mean calf muscle, put him out of play. And it was just the course for Placement Bob. At least he hobbled around the course to enjoy the action.

Pose of the Tournie? - Andrew Taylor (Tauranga) belied his relative inexperience at disc golf to fire some great drives and show good decision making on the fairway. And when we see that focus, we now know that extra edge 'The Grimmace' has on us.

Eet Ees Ovar Der - The kiwi golfers were most pleased to see the friendly ducthie Arthur Booschaart (Roterdam) at the Nationals again. We've lost count of how many times this man had visited to play, but we hope we can see him even more often.

Gently Does It - Josh Smith (Taumarunui apparently [hey Gabb, well done, but there is a slight mistake]) keeps his foot in place for a crucial recovery on the dogleg 4th, leaning out from one of the many groves of impressive fern found in Ngapuna Park.

Mexican Madness - The less said about that shady character Juan Unda, (Chihuahua, Mexico) the better. By the end of the tournament, his card had only 2 rounds of scoring on it. Shape up Unda! Mind you, don't he look awesome here at the 4th tee?

Total Blank - No, we're not talking about Andrew Taylor (Tauranga) here on the 8th. That's the name of the hole! We've learnt that its named after the mind process of shot decision at the tee, looking at the cabbage tree, the overhangs and knowing that there's a little swamp just beyond the bush forward of the green.

Tongue and Groove - the third hardest hole of the tournament was the 11th. If you were skillful enough (or is it lucky enough..?) to break into the strand of pines from your drive, you still had a daunting second to reach the pin. With two 5's and a 4 here by Dean, some may argue this is the hole that made the difference between 1st and 2nd. Here Brett Hailstone (Waiheke) makes a hairy chested approach Johnny Cash style (down the line)

I Am Feasey - The evening sun sparkles of the disc of the now 5-time New Zealand Disc Golf Champion from the 11th tee. In classic Feasey style, Simon Feasey (Auckland) shot out to an eight shot lead going into the last round. All this in amoungst a stomach bug, broken down car, the pressures of course design and tournament directing

Leanin' Dean - Called Redwood Revenge, hole 17 certainly favoured the leftie (or forearm rightie). Sure enough, some golfers were seen recovering their discs from the highway. Dean Marshall (Tauranga) managed to hold par here on all four rounds with a well controlled shank.

The Mighty Redwood - The stunning setting of Ngapuna Park with its towering Redwood Pines had many competitors taking time to gaze upwards, awestruck at these giant trees. Best not to walk, talk and gawk at the same time though - many hidden pot holes meant one had to be vigilant not to twist and ankle.

Da Chains! Da Chains! - Yes, one can almost hear Tattoo (Fantasy Island) calling out to his disc. This is a disc-eye view of how we all wanted our drives to end up. Or at least our long outts! And no, Tattoo was not playing.

"Come On Luv, Can't You Make That A Three?" - Josh Smith (Taumarunui apparently [hey Gabb, well done, but there is a slight mistake]) had the pleasure of his beau Elle along to support, spot and score for him. With a young one on the way, we are confident that should it be a girl, it will be called Frisbee. Or if a boy - Kaching.

Tee Anyone? - Once again we saw the inovative portable tees provided by Gentil Sport. An idea of the genius Gabb, these low impact tees allow for easy replacement of the tee should the area wear over the tournament.

"Thanks For the Round Mate" - This is what its all about. Playing with like-minded athletes and enjoying the surroundings. Masters Champion Scott Caesar (South Dakota, USA) and Andrew Schrum (USA) come to the end of another round. Pete Boyle (Taumarunui) watches on.



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