2023 Montana State Doubles Disc Golf Championships: A Frosty Battle Amid Montana's Best Disc Golfers
Fall in Montana is like no other. The air becomes crisp, the leaves transform into a tapestry of warm hues, and the atmosphere exudes a sense of magic. And on one frosty Saturday morning, the stage was set for the 2023 Montana State Doubles Disc Golf Championships at Pioneer Park in Billings, MT. As participants gathered to compete in divisions spanning MPO, MP40, MP50, MA1, FA1, and MA2, the very essence of Montana's fall was woven into the fabric of this unique disc golf event.
Montana's Fall Masterpiece
It was early in the morning when players began to ascend upon Pioneer Park. The sun, casting a soft, golden glow, was still rising, and a hint of frost adorned the grass. As the players arrived, there was a collective sense of anticipation, a shared understanding that this day held something extraordinary. Discs sliced through the chill, leaving trails of bright colors against the serene Montana backdrop.
A Disc Golfer's Ritual
Before the official commencement of the tournament, the park came alive with a ritual that's sacred to disc golfers. It was the warm-up show, where players could be seen honing their skills. Putts, both short and long, were scrutinized with laser-like precision. Upshots, weaving around the trees and through narrow gaps, were rehearsed with unwavering determination. And then there were the distance drives, especially on hole 1, a long and tempting par 4. Hole 1 was destined to become the proving ground for the day's distance throws.
The Grand Kick-Off
With practice rounds done and dusted, the tournament officially got underway. Players gathered at Tournament Central, located in the heart of Pioneer Park. It was a pivotal moment in the day's events, and Doug Macdonald, Tournament Director, and a board member of Disc Golf Billings, masterfully orchestrated the proceedings. The sponsors were acknowledged, and every individual hole's rules were meticulously laid out. A two-minute warning and start times were established, and with that, the players eagerly dispersed to their respective holes, their excitement palpable.
MPO Division: A Sizzling Start
The MPO division, also known as the State Title Division, opened with a bang. CD^2 - Cal Davis & Cody Davis and The McCoy Connor Fan Club - Rayce Compton & Tucker Stratton set the bar high. They lit up the course with remarkable scores of -12 and -11, respectively, putting on a dazzling display of skill and precision. Local favorites Putt Pirates - Chris Hanna and Dave Pigott and White Bush - Seth White and Greg Bush followed closely, their scores of -9 and -7, making it clear they were contenders to watch.
Round 2: Eye on the Prize
The midday break offered a respite, allowing the players to recharge and refocus. As Round 2 loomed, the players' eyes revealed their determination. They analyzed every missed opportunity, rehearsed the challenging putts they had struggled with, and set their sights on finishing strong.
Big Disc Energy: A Remarkable Surge
In the fierce battle for the championship, Big Disc Energy, led by Sawyer Bracy and Steven Carriero, put up a valiant fight. Their journey through the course was nothing short of spectacular. They managed to eagle hole 8, and birdie 10 other holes, a testament to their dedication and talent. However, a minor hiccup occurred on hole 16, resulting in a bogey. Despite this, their performance remained remarkable.
At the end of the day, Big Disc Energy finished Round 2 with an impressive -11, which added to their earlier score and resulted in a total of -15 for the day. Their performance was truly commendable, and they found themselves in a tie for 5th place, highlighting the fierce competition and skill level at the 2023 Montana State Doubles Disc Golf Championships.
The McCoy Connor Fan Club: Champions Emerge
However, as the day progressed and the sun cast a warm, golden glow upon the park, it was The McCoy Connor Fan Club, comprised of Rayce and Tucker, who would ultimately steal the show. They delivered a remarkable performance in the second round, shooting -12, securing the title of the 2023 Montana State Doubles Disc Golf Champions. Their journey to victory was a testament to their unwavering dedication and skill on the disc golf course.
Division Winners and a Thrilling Playoff
In a tournament that saw 80 players forming 40 teams, champions emerged across various divisions. In the MPO division, Tucker Stratton and Rayce Compton of The McCoy Connor Fan Club claimed the title with an impressive -23 under par, solidifying their place in disc golf history. The MP40 division witnessed Ron Pannesi and Craig Sward of Elder State Champs, who shot -19 under par to secure victory. The MA1 division was dominated by Matt Doughten and Marty Grant of the Best Ams in the State, shooting -14. Meanwhile, the MA2 division saw Craig Greenhagen and Coby Greenhagen of Double Bogey Bros and Zach Parker and Aaron Rhoderick of "Dude, Where's my par" tie at -7.
As the Montana sky transitioned from golden hues to a tapestry of star-studded night, the Double Bogey Bros and "Dude, Where's my par" remained locked in fierce competition. Eight grueling holes passed, each one rife with tension and excitement. The tiebreaker ultimately came down to a closest-to-the-pin (CTP) challenge on the Winter Wizards Alternate #2 hole, adding an extra layer of adrenaline to the proceedings.
After an intense battle of skill and strategy, the Double Bogey Bros emerged victorious, etching their names in the annals of disc golf history as champions of the MA2 division. Their journey to the title was a rollercoaster of competition, camaraderie, and unyielding determination.
A Grand Finale
The tournament's conclusion was marked by an awards ceremony that celebrated the champions and recognized their extraordinary achievements. The players and spectators reveled in the camaraderie that characterizes the world of disc golf. The day also featured a Closest-to-the-Pin (CTP) competition, a lighthearted yet fiercely contested affair, with Montana's vibrant disc golf community eagerly participating.
In the heart of Billings, Montana, amid the beautiful fall colors and the frosty Montana air, the 2023 Montana State Doubles Disc Golf Championships provided a day of unforgettable competition, camaraderie, and the sheer joy of throwing plastic discs across a challenging course. As the event came to a close, the competitors and spectators alike departed with cherished memories, eager for the next chapter in Montana's vibrant disc golf journey. Until next year, when the disc golf community will once again gather to create new memories and celebrate the spirit of the sport in the great state of Montana.