San Diego Aces head out to conquer the world!
It’s summertime, and with the heat and longer daylight come the PDGA World Disc Golf Championships. This year, “Worlds” (as it’s referred to by players in the know) is being contested in two locations: Rochester, NY for amateur players and Santa Cruz/Monterey, CA for professionals. Several players from the San Diego area are travelling to compete in one event or the other, with at least one local going for the daily double – travelling to both!
Rochester, NY has a rich history of disc golf championships. One of the earliest and surely one of the most lucrative disc golf tournaments was held in Rochester in 1974 – The American Flying Disc Open (or AFDO). Jim Palmeri hosted this event, which awarded a new car to the first place golfer! Dan “Stork” Roddick, PDGA Hall-of-Famer and member #003, took the title and drove off in the Datsun B-210 that Palmeri had secured as the first place prize. Ten years later, Rochester hosted the 3rd PDGA World Disc Golf Championships, where Sam Ferrans, a 16-year-old kid from La Mirada High School, bested a field full of future Hall-of-Famers and showed the disc golf world what the new Aviar driver could do. And in 1999 Ron Russell became the first PDGA World Champion to win over $4,000 in prize money, as he broke Ken Climo’s string of nine straight world titles.
Two Escondido locals are entered in the Men’s Advanced (MA1) division in Rochester – Jack Daniels and Kit Carson Park Course Representative Mark Verrochi. And not only is Mark playing this week in Rochester, he’ll be playing again in a few weeks at Pro Worlds in Santa Cruz. Also, Kevin Carter of San Diego is entered in Advanced Masters and Thomas Schaaf from Imperial Beach will be playing in Advanced Senior Grandmasters. Play begins Tuesday and can be followed on PDGA.com.
The PDGA has only held its Professional World Championships once before in California, and that was the 1st event, held in 1982 on the campus of U.C. Irvine. Up until now, California disc golfers trying to win world titles have had to travel east, to places like Huntsville, AL, Kalamazoo, MI, Cincinnati, OH, Kansas City, MO, Miami, FL and Augusta, GA. But this year no one needs to reset their alarm clocks – Worlds has come back to the west coast! Monday, August 8th will mark the start of the 2011 Pro World Championships in Santa Cruz. There will be great players on hand for this event, but it’s possible that the real star may be the golf courses. Four 27-hole courses are being used for the event: The CSUMB Cypress and Oaks courses are being combined into one mega-course, the newer Ryan Ranch course in Monterey has been expanded and cleaned up, a brand-new course at Pinto Lake in Santa Cruz is being described in glowing terms, and one of the world’s best courses – DeLaVeaga Park in Santa Cruz – has been outfitted with 27 new Mach-3 baskets for the tournament.
San Diego County is well represented in the Men’s Open division, with perennial Morley Field Champion Micah Dorius leading the contingent of local golfers. High-octane Kevin Gomez and Matt Roulette of San Diego, Carlsbad’s Cody Kirkland, Mike Lust (Poway), Jamie Tuckey (Oceanside) and Mark Verrochi (Escondido) will also represent the San Diego Aces in Santa Cruz. Several locals are entered in the Grandmaster division – Aces Vice President Randy Wylot and Secretary Jeff Nichols will represent the club on the course and at the Fly Mart on Wednesday night, with Christian Cullen and Dave Devine also competing in MG1. “Friz Whiz” John Kirkland and Glenn Triemstra are entered in the Senior Grandmaster division, while Bill Richards will compete in the Legends division. Follow the scores of our locals at PDGA.com, and on the S.D. Aces web site and Twitter feed (#sandiegoacesdgc).