King’s Cup is a tournament that I had been looking forward to for quite some time. I had plans of winning it. Things don't always go how we plan them . But that really doesn’t matter in the slightest – it was the most fun I have had in over a year playing a tournament, and I needed it.
In it’s 14th iteration, the King’s Cup had previously been contested on Memorial Day weekend. A variety of factors led to the supporting club to move it on the calendar to January 26 and 27 this year. That seemed to be very positively received despite the colder temps. Played in Barnet Park off 258, previous events were sometimes remembered by some more for the ants and underbrush than their scores. (I played it in 2017. I found the sheer volume of ants and their creativity in trails and mounds to be mesmerizing – I never got bit once.) Also, to freshen up the event, the “theme” of the players packs featured an ant in some really cool artwork. (I don’t know the artist – I’ve reached out and when I learn it I’ll edit their name in here.) MA3 played Short / Long / Short / Short.
Team Fly Guy was represented in the event by Chris Dimsdale, Dave Morse and me. Team member Mitchel McGarity travelled to the event and manned our mobile store. We took a “full package” – close to 1200 discs, several bags and a couple of carts, as well as an assortment of hats, shirts and other gear. Mitchell reported to me that everyone who stopped by was super supportive and I got some good feedback from players on what they would like to see in future offerings. We were sponsors of 4 CTPs for the event and an onsite vendor; we did not do the event payout.
Round 1 – Shorts - found me on a card with some old friends and a few new ones. Dave and myself were also carded with Geoffrey Griffiths (husband of Team fly Guy member Victoria, and more on that later ) as well as with James Graves and the solo FA3 player the lovely Miss Kailyn Carmichael. I’ll spare you the round details – I played atrociously. How bad you ask? A 69 (par is 56) – which was 4 strokes worse than my first round in 2017, and 5 worse than the next highest shot in my division. Here I was in familiar territory again – after round 1, sitting in DFL. In hindsight I know I could have done better – but for the first time in forever I played a tournament round with ZERO care about where I was or what was happening. James, Geoffrey and Dave had me in stitches the whole time and it was just damned fun. I really cannot emphasize how therapeutic it was to just play a tournament round with a casual attitude. Sure – they ended up with great scores and I tanked – but that wasn’t their fault – I couldn’t hold a fairway (took a 7 on 18 when I was in Jail to the left ) and I putted like I was afraid of the basket.
Round 2 – Longs and alternate baskets - I found myself on the bottom of the second ( and only chase) card of the MA3 division. My card mates were Eric Clink, Jonathan Karwacki, Nathan Baker and Timothy Soles. I was happy to see Nathan in particular – He and I fought a good fight in 2018 on the same course in the Kinston Ice Bowl, with me taking my only win by 1 stroke. I had only seen him once or twice since, and I looked forward to playing a round with him again. I was also glad to finally put a person with the name FlippinDiscs ( link to FB page) in John. I’d seen the branding popping up more frequently, and I found him to be a passionate ambassador for the competitive sport. Tim and Eric rounded out the card and they too both were real solid guys that I instantly took to. ( I ended up playing with every MA3 player on the card except two – Caleb Cooper and Paul Toriello. Caleb and I played together at Eco Goldsboro; Paul I have never played a round with.) Round 2 I settle in the drives a bit, got a few real decent shots in, and got comfortable with a new putter, finally giving up on trying to get comfortable with the other one I’d been suing recently. (Both are Judges – one of them I just never felt like it fit me). Shot a 75 (Better than my only previous round in this format by 15 strokes). I won my card with that (4th best of the 10 MA3 rounds) but it still wasn’t enough to move me off the bottom – at then end of day 1 was still DFL, but another player had joined me as we sat tied with 144.
It was after the round I learned Geoffrey and James had placed a side bet on me catching another player. Now, despite being 21 strokes out of contention – I had a new goal – to overcome a 6-stroke deficit. In round 2 I cut it by 3 – only 3 to go. (And props to Geoffrey for having faith in me. Ok, only $1 worth of faith, but still…)
For the stay overnight - Mitchell , Dimsdale and I stayed at the Mother Earth Motor Lodge - it was AWESOME. I totally recommend you stay there when in town. The rooms and vibe of the place was really great, the staff helpful - and it's right in the heart of plenty of things to do at night.
Round 3- John, Tim, Eric, Nathan and I get another crack at the shorts. I quickly brushed off my bad first round, gained more confidence with the putter, grooved more good shots and improved to 61, winning the card for a second time. (At this point I had the lead in the side bet with a lead by 1). That alone felt great. The card was looser and friendlier, and I had a real good time. Again, there wasn’t that “tournament jitters” feel – it felt like a good casual round with a beer bet on the line. I had fun. I also slipped into a solo spot at 6th – a nice jump with a peek at maybe “cashing”.
Round 4 – I was tired, 6 strokes out of cashing and felt I’d never catch up – so all I wanted to do was win Geoffrey’s bet. We again played from short, and I started off in jail on 18 again. This time however I took the first rounds antics in mind and played it totally differently, walking away with a 4. I was satisfied. I ended up taking a 62 in the final round (Eric won the card one stroke better with a 61). I added one more stroke on top of the bet and called it a day. I finished tied for 6th with Eric when the dust settled.
Team Fly Guy Member Dave Morse took 3rd – his best finish yet and was all smiles and positivity.
Winning MA3 with a great battle of 7 lead changes was Geoffrey. He shot 56/69/56/55/236. James nipped at him the whole event shooting 56/67/58/58/239 – but it was closer than the final suggests, with 7 lead changes between the two of them. Sponsorship has been a fun picking point with him, and he dubbed himself the only member of the ‘Fly Guy Underground Street Team” – his words after the event were great ( and I’ve told him if he moves up he’ll get a spot on the team - maybe). We also retired the “cursed” traveling mini that he, Dave and I exchanged to whomever among us shoots the hottest rounds to keep commemorating his win.
All in all I had a wonderful time. Got to see Nathan Queen and let him know an aspect of his game I respect. Got to introduce Mitchell to Barry Shultz, whom he admires a lot and had never met at an event. Had general good time shenanigans with Ken Olson, Bobby Henn, Ken Tyburski and many others – It was a great event. Andrew Duppstadt really pours his heart and soul into the vent along with Eddie Baxter and many others and it shows. Kinston Disc Golf is strong and should be proud – they do the game good. I have to admit that I went down east with the Ice Bowl win of last year in mind and thought I’d just pick up where I left off and finally grab a sanctioned win. It didn’t happen – and I don’t care. I had a wonderful time. You could say it wasn’t the tournament I wanted – but it was the one I needed. And I’m thankful for every second of it.
Next up – I’m taking a weekend off to spend with family. Fly Guy will be at the CADL Winter Quarterly in the morning for player discs on 2/2/2019 at Buckhorn.
I’ll be playing and the store will be set up the following week for the Buckhorn Open.
See you there.
Photo at top of post - HP and Nathan Baker - Credit Joseph Noble