The 1st Dragon Ridge Open Recap - May 28th, 2018

The 1st Dragon Ridge Open sponsored by Discmania (the tours newest tour sponsor) in Camdenton, Missouri was impressive to say the least. This course was installed a few years back and was a site that many wanted a tournament to be held at. Unfortunately some city ordinances and other obstacles wouldn’t allow it. Thankfully Larry Bennett, head of the Camdenton Parks Department called and asked how we could make it happen this year. He mentioned that the Mayor wanted to make it happen and the rest so they say is history as The Friday Flex Start Doubles started a fun beginning to this tournament. Saturday came and the field was maxed with 90 players in attendance. As bad as I wanted to play my favorite public course in Missouri, I chose to bow out allowing everyone who showed up the opportunity to play. Hearing all the compliments and thank you’s was worth the decision!

As mentioned earlier, Discmania was the major sponsor at this event as they were the company that was used for the Players Pack. The awesome custom disc, designed by Gary Braman (Camdenton’s Dragon Ridge course designer/installer), was a huge hit along with the stainless steel Hydro Flask. Huge props to Discmania for making it all happen.

Despite knowing that there were a lot of people wanting an event at Dragon Ridge, I really didn’t know if we’d get the turn out that we did. The weatherman’s “doom and gloom” forecast predicting torrential down pours and thunderstorms all day proved to be nothing more than just more pathetic guesses by the Ozarks team of meteorologists. With the temperatures reaching 90+, a Down poor would have been welcomed by many. Hot and humid, through the Ridge made for an extremely long and tough day.

There were eight divisions making up the field of 90. The biggest talk was the huge Pro field of 24 that includes several well known players: George Smith (Columbia, MO), Zackeriath Johnson (St. Louis), and one of the top 10 rated players currently in the world and former USDGC Champion Nikko Lecastro. Local hero, Jeff Renner (Springfield, MO) proved that it was his day shooting two solid rounds of 50 taking a convincing win by 5 over 2nd place finisher Jake Hebenheimer (Jefferson City). Incredible Job Jeff! Congratulations!! In a very close 3 way tie for 3rd shooting 2 down, one stroke off of Jakes pace were: Zack Johnson, Adam Morrison (Jefferson City), and Camdenton’s young gun River Flagg (16 year old)! The rest of the cashing pros were: George Smith (6th), Cody Prugger and Buddy LaRue (Tie for 7th), Nikko LaCastro and Allen Hooper (Tie for 9th) and 11th place was Nate Heinold.

There were 4 pro women as well! Brandy Monnahan of Lebanon, held off young local Mariah Flagg by 6 strokes shooting a 129 total. The other contestants were Millie Cowgill (3rd place), and Amanda McCleod (4th Place). Thanks for coming out and great job Brandy on the win!

The Advanced field was 19 strong and was a very tight battle at the top of the leader board. Andrew Griffith held on for the win shooting a 113. Trevor Erickson’s (of Springfield) 56 second round surge pulled him within one tying Chris Thompson (Jeff City) for second. Toby Rector was only two off finishing 4th. Nice battle guys!

The Advanced Masters division (over 40), had 4 players. Only 5 strokes separated 1st from 4th. Kevin Carder started hot with a 59, but the course took revenge as he took a 66 the second round. This tied Josh Goodwin who also shot a 125. Course designer and installer Gary Braman, shot a 128. Mike Abbott’s consistency proved to be key for the win shooting a 61 and a 62. Well done Mike, and enjoy that basket!

The 50 and over division (Advanced Grandmasters) had the minimum 3 players that are needed to make up a division. Tom Butler (Kansas City), Jon Parsons (Marshall) and Brad Hilton (Lebanon) finished in the order listed. Tom Butler killed the field shooting a 115 that was good enough for a 6 stroke win. Stellar job and great job on the 100th PDGA win Tom!

Sixteen players made up the Intermediate field. Will Ward proved victorious shooting a 53 and a 59 to win by three over Chase Luster’s 115 total. Kevin Free and Micah Noble were tied 4 back from the winning score. Will’s awesome 53 first round was definitely the difference in this division. Great seeing you guys battle it out. Keep up the great work/play.

The Recreational Division looked like there would be a slugfest after 3 players shot 61’s and one shot a 62 in the first round. Apparently Michael Luster had other ideas as he scorched a 56 taking the win by 7 strokes over Dallas Whittle. 3rd place was taken by Brian Lansford two stokes off Dallas. Great job Michael. I’m thinking the Lusters are going to be moving up!

Three ladies made up the Rec women field: Candie “The Teacher” Luster, Renee Nelson, and Shay Lillard. The Teacher was the only one in the group to shoot in the 70’s, as she shot 76 in the first round giving her a 6 stroke lead. She added two more to her lead with an 81 in the second round finishing 157. Renee put up a very consistent and respectable 82 and 83. Shay debuted at one of the hardest public course around and finished. Keep playing, learning and having fun! Congratulations Candie on your victory...move up!!

The 1st Dragon Ridge Open was a huge success. Maxing out the field with 90 players should convince the city of Camdenton that it was worth the investment. I’m hoping that this event becomes an annual tournament. Thank you all for coming out and being a part. I hope to see you all in June at the Jared Hilton Memorial in Lebanon, Missouri.

Aces to you!

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