The first day of action ended in a three way tie with many dangerous competitors within striking distance at the 27th Annual Professional Disc Golf Association “Steady Ed” Masters Cup.
Defending world champion Nate Doss of Capitola, Will Schusterick of Tennessee and 2010 world champion Eric McCabe each turned in 10 under par 71s to lead the open division pack. Current masters division world champion John Baldwin of Scotts Valley finished with a two strokes under par and sits in third place, four strokes out of the lead held by Patrick Brown from San Francisco.
Sarah Hokom of Caldwell, Id. At three over par leads local Valarie Jenkins by two strokes. Kristine “KK” King is eight strokes back at 11 over par. A total of 15 women are competing for the title which is as important to disc golfers as the Masters Cup in Augusta, GA is to ball golfers.
Baldwin is confident about his position heading into the weekend after facing the harshest basket placements that DeLaveaga Disc Golf Course has to offer.
“Any round out here when its set in the all long is good,” he said. “Especially since I wasn't really putting that well, so if tomorrow if I can play the same and putt better then I'll be in great shape. [The lead could change] in one hole.”
Shusterick rates the course in his top five favorite courses and says it poses a mix of every type of shot a disc golfer can face.
“This was the second course I ever played,” said Schusterick. “My family lives in California...it helps a lot. You know where the drop offs are and where not to be.”
He's not changing his strategy going into Saturday, and said it's all about staying out of trouble.
“You could take an eight if you go off the side of a mountain,” he said.
Ruben Alaniz of Felton witnessed the wrath of Delaveaga several times Friday and was happy to escape with a three over 84. His drive on Hole 12 (which goes more than 200 feet over a bush filled ravine hit a tree right above the basket and dropped within thirty. However, it landed vertically and rolled into the depths and he was forced to fight his way out of what is known as the kitchen because it is so remote a past local decided it a safe place to dump their old refrigerator.
“Today could have been a lot uglier,” said Alaniz.
Local favorites Myles Harding(-4), Don Smith(-4) and Shasta Criss(-3) landed in the top 15. Criss , who is sponsored by Disc Golf Association (DGA)--the company founded by “Steady” Ed Headrick himself is generally a cool character, however all three hold their play to extremely high standards and will come out firing on Saturday.
Harding said Thursday that his new focus in life is staying positive. With his sister for a caddy and friends Schusterick and Greg Barsby in his group he appeared to follow his own advice.
“This is the funnest round I think I have ever played,” he said repeatedly during the end of his round.
141 players entered the tournament this year, bringing the prize pool to $21,150.