Tourney throws full force
Steamboat's first disc golf competition draws 61 players from six states
Steamboat Springs — Ron Pannesi said he had been hoping for a successful enough showing at the weekend’s Steamboat Open disc golf tournament that he’d be able to point to the results as proof of the sport’s popularity in the Yampa Valley.
The course, laid out near the Thunderhead Express chairlift at Steamboat Ski Area, is the only 18-hole disc golf course in the county, but it is at the end of its rope because many of the beetle-kill trees in the area will be cut down in the coming months.
Although it’s still unclear whether he and the Steamboat Area Disc League will be allowed to lay out a new course, he certainly has the right ammunition now.
A tough field of 61 competitors flocked to the tournament, which got under way Saturday morning.
“We went over our projections. That’s 11 more people than we had even hoped for,” Pannesi said. “We even had to turn people away.”
The tournament was the first of its kind in Steamboat, and the doomed Thunderhead course was looking its best for its biggest show. The new fall foliage turned the dark red beetle-kill pines from an ugly scar to a colorful accent, and the intermittent light rain showers weren’t enough to turn the trails to muck.
The course got an upgrade Sunday when the traditional layout was lengthened by 509 feet, a variation dubbed “Thunderhead Stout.”
“The first day the course ever went up, I knew where we could make it more difficult,” Pannesi said. “Setting it up like that was fulfilling a dream. It added about six strokes to most players.”
The golfers competed in six divisions, but one athlete, in particular, stole the weekend’s show. Evan Brummet, a 26-year-old recent graduate from Colorado State University, dominated the competition from the first round. After Saturday’s two rounds, he held a nine-stroke lead. He added to it Sunday on the more difficult course, when he went 10 under for the round.
Brummet was 18 strokes ahead of second-place Martin Bohn, of Heber, Utah.
“This was a great mountain course with a lot of good uphill and downhill holes,” Brummet said. “It’s not real long, so it’s more of a birdie course. You have to get your birdies if you’re going to do well.”
Competitors traveled from six states for the Professional Disc Golf Association-sanctioned event, and the top class featured several professionals. Brummet plans to play this weekend at the United States Disc Golf Championship in South Carolina.
Greg Dalsis won the recreational division. Drea Schoenberger won the women’s division. Peter Shunny won the intermediate division, Eric Diersen won the advanced and Scott Howland took the advanced masters.
“As of last Sunday, we only had 10 people signed up, so this was great,” Pannesi said. “This has to help us get a new course. We filled to the brim, and it was great.”
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While warm days and nights are fueling strong flows in the Yampa River through Steamboat Springs, the pace of runoff is expected to dip this week.