After 12 tournaments and a summer-full of disc golf fun across the great state of Vermont (and New Hampshire) the GMDGC crowned its 2015 champions at the culminating event at Wrightsville Beach DGC on Oct 17. I dragged my feet on writing this post: “If I don’t write a wrap-up maybe the season isn’t totally, completely, finally OVER??” Well it is over, and it was awesome.
Points races across all 7 divisions were very much in play headed into the final event. With the double-points format allowing for big swings in the standings the season champs would be determined by who could turn in 2 solid rounds “in the clutch.” In the MPO division things started off slow in round 1: Mike Habets, Jeff Spring and Sean Bleything shared “hot round” of 52 while Jim Bailey and Edwin Bedell carded 53’s. Habets, Spring, and Bailey could all take the season title with a strong finish and the stage was set for a shootout in round 2.
The lead card featured Bailey (incoming points-leader), prior GMPS MPO champs Spring (2013) and Bleything (2014), and 2013-2014 runner-up Habets. When play resumed in the afternoon it was Habets who set the tone from the start. Haunted by the 2 season titles that slipped through his grasp at the last possible moment (Spring and Bleything both leapfrogged him at finals), Habets played with an unmatched determination and focus. After going 4-3 on the treacherous holes 1 and 2 he nabbed deuces on 3 and 4 to move into the lead. On hole 6, Habets hit another gear: he laid down a perfect backhand roller from the tee that arced through the orchard and settled into the putting circle. He nailed a 25ft’er for a killer deuce (eagle?) while his pursuers struggled to 3s and 4s. Bailey and Bleything had no answer for Habets’ torrid pace but Spring would mount a valiant charge with a string of 6 straight birdies (holes 8 through 13) before falling off with a bogey on 14 (after a deuce opportunity!)
Going on to deuce 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 16 Mike’s mistake-free golf propelled him to a course-record 46 and the (5-stroke) win that he needed to secure a GMPS championship! When the final putt fell on 18 Habets was overcome with the gravity of his accomplishment: he had played the best golf of his career in the biggest moment to take the title that eluded him the past two years. With bookend victories at the season opener (Pinnacle) and closer, Mike overcame a season beset by injury and major life changes (his family welcomed a baby boy this summer!) to capture his first MPO championship. Habets was immediately surrounded by his competitors offering heartfelt congratulations and mildly-awkward bro-hugs. Unconfirmed rumors indicate that the city of Newport, NH shut down schools and businesses the following Monday for a ticker-tape parade! 😉 Final MPO standings had Jeff Spring vaulting to 2nd place on the season (nearly winning despite playing only 6 events!) and Jim Bailey dropping to 3rd in his “rookie” season.
Habets was not the only player to lock up a division title with a Wrightsville victory. Chris Martin did so in MA1 with a 5-stroke win of his own (109 on the day). With wins at Sap Bucket and Finals and consistent finishes throughout the year Martin bested Nolan Power and Casey Besaw in season points for his first GMPS title. Of course his trophy count was dwarfed by his carpool-mate Amelia Fotheringham who locked up a season title in FA1 with a Wrightsville win and had already clinched the season series in FA2, both over runner-up Christy Betit. Amelia’s pair of trophies mocked Chris’ lonely one the whole ride back to Montgomery. Brian Betit also logged a tourney/season win in MM1 with a strong showing at Wrightsville. In MPM Collin O’neil was unbeatable on his home course but Anne Lewis capped her strong season with the GMPS title and celebratory “Sandy”-mocking photo shoot. John Sudarsky coasted to an MPG series win and nearly took the tournament, ceding to Marcos Miller in a playoff.
The biggest drama on the day was in MA2 where incoming points leaders Andy Powell and Chris Wentzell finished tied with a 106 on the day. The tourney and season series (we thought) would come down to a playoff. Wentzell would go on to win but when the dust settled and Dave Frothingham’s abacus stopped clacking it was Powell who left with the season title by a scant 0.3 points (out of 580!!)
Congratulations go out to all the event and GMPS winners. You can check out full tourney results HERE and final season standings HERE. Many thanks to Chris Young and Collin O’neil for running an awesome event and Dave Frothingham for a season-worth of points administration. Can’t wait to do it again next year!
In other news, stay tuned for details on the 2016 GMDGC “Ice Bucket” event. Last year’s Ice Bowl raised more than $12,000 to feed local families in need. The event finished 3rd in the nation in money raised, beating out MUCH larger clubs. Chris “Feel the Bern” Young has grown the event by leaps and bounds each year and now has his sights set on the $13,000 mark. Mark your calendars for Saturday Jan 30 2016 and come support the cause!