Thursday was a tough day for many top players as they carded rounds much higher than anticipated. With a new sense of determination, competitors came into round 2 with the mindset of playing safe and smart. Conservative golf became the theme of the day rather than players putting on the show we’re used to seeing. All in all, Dude’s ambassadors had solid scores and mixed feedback for Vegas’s inaugural NT.
A change in weather helped a great deal as the wind had calmed down considerably by Friday morning. The men and women open fields completed round 2 on the Innova course, which boasts lengthy par 3’s and a decent amount of par 4’s along with more water hazards than the other two layouts. Avoiding OB and keeping a positive attitude helped players with their mental game, as prolonged backups of over 45 minutes occurred several times.
The Ladies Focus on Smart Golf
While performances improved yesterday over round 1’s action, the pro women’s cards saw a more concerted effort to avoid repeating past mistakes. Dude ambassador Melodie Bailey noted a change in her mental game, attributing her steady progression to slowing down: “The reason I got my 5’s was because I didn’t quite take the time. I did that ‘I don’t feel ready but I’m just the gonna go anyway’ shot.”
Similar sentiments were echoed from Paige Pierce and Tina Stanaitis, who found themselves out of bounds more than they would have hoped for. Their game plans for moving day? “Play it safe no matter what, even if I have to take off 100’ or something like that, just whatever,r I have to do to stay in bounds,” says Pierce.
Dude Men Plan To Fire On All Cylinders
Saturday’s round on the Adidas TERREX course promises to bring smoother sailing for some of our ambassadors. After recovering from a lengthy rehabilitation, Simon Lizotte is approaching the GCC with a realistic goal: “I’m not expecting much of myself right now, I’m just coming back after 8 months of not throwing, so angles are slightly off, timing is slightly off; being slightly off on these courses can hurt.” His mindset for tomorrow? “Keep smiling. Stay warm and keep smiling.”
A similar story can be said of Gregg Barsby, who is playing his first Gentlemen’s Club Challenge in six years. Hoping to get fully in the groove by day three, Barsby says: “I haven’t really been able to get into the zone all the way. I’m throwing the disc pretty well, I’m just trying to find some fluidity and consistency.” Barsby is currently sitting at 3 over par after two rounds.
How Is Vegas Living Up To Its NT Status?
Having experienced two rounds so far with the inaugural National Tour title, Gentlemen’s Club Challenge players seemed to settle in one of two camps when it comes to how the tournament is playing out. Ever the optimist, Paul McBeth had nothing but good things to say about the 2017 GCC noting, “I think it was a long time coming for them. It’s always been an NT quality type of event.”
Although others weren’t completely disappointed, there was some constructive criticism to be found. “The only thing I didn’t really dig was [that] there are no water jugs out on the course,” said first time GCC competitor and Dude ambassador Kona Panis. About halfway through her round yesterday she ran out of the water and would have liked the option to refill.
Several grumblings were also heard regarding the condition of many of the tee pads, and extreme back-ups created frustration for most players. Despite these challenges, tournament director Jeff Jacquart kept an open mind: “Right after the round, the TD asked what they should fix for tomorrow, so they’re very receptive to critiques and feedback,” said Paige Pierce.
It’s Moving Day!
Day three promises to entertain, as players are focused on tightening up their mental game and making their rounds count. The men’s lead card features Dude’s own Eagle McMahon, while Jessica Weese will be on the ladies chase card. As long as the wind stays at bay we should see some real movers and shakers as we enter into the second half of the 2017 Gentlemen’s Club Challenge.
Written by Courtney Elder
Photo Cred: Disc Golf Life