The Path to Winthrop
After the conclusion of The Green Mountain Championship in Vermont; myself, Nikko, Philo, David “andHOW” Condon and Sam-yo decided to hike “Long Trail” (google the beer), up into the ”smugglers notch” with maybe…. 90 minutes of sunlight left! It was such a smash, pretty much like a real life stair stepper, we set a blazing trail… as we continued higher and higher, It were as if after each turn and look up the hill, the destination was able to get further away.
As I felt the blood pumping and my breaths had become deeper, I relayed this to my years of playing tournaments, and how this time around, I would power through the next few weeks and power through the USDGC. Instead of wondering whats around the next corner. I knew what was up ahead, the battle with Winthrop Gold, a course known for re-routing the dreams of most men who ever step foot on it’s hallowed ground.
As we sat in awe at the hidden lake for a few minutes, no words spoken. Still, quiet and pure, the calm of nature is something divine. (until usually splintered by the clash of plastic and chain) we shared a few laughs, and then began our descent, reaching the bottom of the trail as the final photons were leaving our part of the world.
The 2017 tour schedule had the players scrambling around, i took the pittsburgh NT weekend off, to prepare for The Vibram open in Worcester, MA. Had a solid weekend out in MA, but fell short in the end. Through those next few weeks it was apparent I needed to keep working, chiseling my shot making, attention to disc selection, most importantly work out the putter and get to a point where I felt comfy on the green. (ohh, that feeling)
After the hike, and a day of rest in Vermont, I knocked out a couple of awesome clinics in New England alongside Philo, Mr. Albatross himself at “Top O’ the Hill” in New Hampshire, followed by a stop back in Worcester, MA with Erin and Green Light Disc Golf. We enjoyed the time hanging with the locals and spreading the good word of west coast disc golf. Thank you both so much for having us!
Following the clinics, this would the first time all year I have 2 free weekends to roam, so I decided to run down ASAP, but first making a stop in Virginia, playing a random, non sanctioned doubles event called the Minotaur. Where I found a partner the morning of. Tristan (age 15) had the skills, we held the field off and took the W on a beautiful day for golf. The following day was spent playing holes at Hawk Hollow, and the legendary Blockhouse with great company.Just as the round concluded, I decided to head on to Rock Hill and begin the process of defeating the course at Winthrop, with one goal… to win everyday, win the process, and with that, the tournament would be a win as well, no matter what the outcome.
With that in mind I did just that, staying diligent about my practice, routines and just overall keeping my body feeling good. I don’t go out and play practice rounds with 3-4 drives each hole like I used to every day. The idea is simple here, if my game feels good.. find something to work on which maybe isn’t as sharp, so I focus on just getting my game feeling well rounded, and thankfully as the tournament was approaching, I had been feeling more confident then any other point of the 2017 season as this tournament was just days away.
The practice time, the meetings with friends and seeing familiar faces had all but faded in my mind as the tournament was upon us competitors. Obsessed in the belief I could make it happen, my game plan was stitched tight, maybe a couple areas I may deviate to the #2 option if the wind is up (or in the correct direction) GAME TIME!
I arrived to Winthrop each day inspired to play, focus locked and spurred ever onward to the finish line, plan was to grit it out and never lose faith in the process. ESPECIALLY when things go wrong! (things WILL go wrong at some point for everyone who plays there)
I finished in 4th place this year, and that is my best result at this event thus far, & I’m okay with that number, however I know what I came to do. I know how well I can play, so I was not very satisfied with more than a few of my throws, Some of the decisions made on the course cost me dearly. However, despite the setbacks, my putter came alive and kept me in the race, something which propelled me forward with that energy, and feeling the whole way. One way or another the tournament would end, and that’s that! Nice to have two finishes inside the top 4 finishes at majors this season!
Ill be back next year at Winthrop University again!
I hope you enjoyed the read, and I wish you and your loved ones a great holiday season!