Local players made a big impact on the standings as Whistler Disc Golf hosted the B.C. Provincial Championships for the second year in a row.
Sea to Sky competitors took top spot in three different divisions of play during the two-day tournament that wrapped up Sunday (Sept. 22), while several more of the 19 local entrants recorded high finishes over the course of three rounds.
Tournament director and Whistler Disc Golf president Craig McConnell said the big local turnout for this year’s provincials was great to see.
“There are maybe six or seven of us that travel and play around B.C., so to have 19 locals here was pretty good,” said McConnell.
Coquitlam’s Dave Ross repeated his provincial title in the open division, earning a one-stroke victory and the top prize of $390. Ross fired a tournament-low, 11-under-par round of 55 on the final round to edge overnight leader Braeden Simmonds of Victoria.
Reports from the course were that Ross trailed Simmonds by one stroke with just three holes to play on Sunday. Joah Chlopan placed third.
“He’s one of the best disc golf players in Western Canada, if not Canada as a whole,” McConnell said of Ross.
John Mittlestead was the lone local player in the open division and finished in 23rd place.
In the open women’s event, Kamloops’s Carrie Neal won by two shots over Vancouver’s Leanne Fulton.
It was in some of the amateur classes where Whistler players really shone, with locals occupying most of the top positions in the intermediate category. Colin Richardson finished at 2-under to win the division by three shots. Fellow local Morgan Rosato tied for second place at 1-over, while Steve Laski tied for fourth spot with a total score of 4-over.
Squamish’s Gord Isnardy was just outside the top five, tying for sixth place.
Local player Ed MacKenzie finished in 14th position and David Rochette placed 18th. Pemberton’s Danny Mason was also in the field but did not play Sunday’s third round.
In the advanced division, Whistler’s Bruce Rowles and Iain Warren were both in contention for the title but settled for spots in the top three. Nanaimo’s Miguel Alvarado Guizar won the group at 3-over, while Rowles was one stroke behind and Warren two back.
Squamish’s Dax Braby finished in seventh place and fellow local Rich Carlson placed 11th. Ken Nelson and Joey Wilson each earned spots in the top 25.
Whistler’s Miriam Klinge had little trouble capturing the intermediate women’s title, scoring in the 70s for all three rounds en route to a 25-shot margin of victory. Local players Michelle Kruger and Theresa Yu finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and Carissa Beu placed seventh.
Finally, Eric Wendland took top spot in the novice division, finishing 17 shots ahead of his nearest competitor.
McConnell said organizers received lots of great feedback from players on the course setup, as the difficulty level was raised by using different tee boxes than usual to lengthen a few holes.
“Everyone found it to be a pretty tough course the way that we had laid it out,” he said. “We have a fairly short (rec) course in comparison to a lot of courses in B.C. … so we just tried to make it a little longer.”
The weekend tournament concluded Whistler’s two-year commitment as the host of the provincial championships, which McConnell found to be a great experience.
“The response has been pretty overwhelming,” he said. “It’s kind of been like that for tournaments this year all over B.C.; we’ve noticed a real explosion in growth in the sport.”