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Morning Sun
  • Two-day, two-course Pitt Open reaches new heights

  • If it seems that the Pitt Open disc golf tournament gets a little bigger every year, that's because it is.



    "We had 40 the first year," said Kevin Elrod, Pitt Disc Golf Club president. "We had 70 the second year. Then it really took off. Last year, we had 109, and we're hoping to break that this year."

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  • If it seems that the Pitt Open disc golf tournament gets a little bigger every year, that's because it is.
    "We had 40 the first year," said Kevin Elrod, Pitt Disc Golf Club president. "We had 70 the second year. Then it really took off. Last year, we had 109, and we're hoping to break that this year."
    The two-day, two-course tournament will bring professionals and amateurs to Pittsburg this weekend to compete in what is now a B Tier competition, the first time the Pitt Open has made that claim.
    "Last year was a C Tier. The better the tier, the better the pros that are going to be showing up. They get more incentives with their sponsors. If they finish first, they might get free plastic — they might get sent 50 free discs," said Russ Burns, founder/president of Disc Golf Monkey, co-tournament director.
    The doubles tournament took place on Friday, with teams teeing off in Schlanger Park as late as 7 p.m. to get through the course before sundown.
    But the big event is today and tomorrow. Starting around 10 a.m. today, pros (Open Class) and Advanced amateurs will start at the 18-hole course created throughout Lincoln Park and Four Oaks Golf Course. Lower amateur classes will begin at the same time at the 18-hole course at Schlanger Park. Roughly an hour after the final competitors of the first round finish up, the second round will begin on Saturday (estimated around 2 p.m.) with the groups switching courses.
    Sunday, the lower amateurs will begin at 8 a.m. at Schlanger Park, with the upper amateurs and pros at 9 a.m. at Lincoln Park. Thirty to 45 minutes after the third round on Sunday, the top four amateurs will play off on the final nine holes for the title, with the top four pros teeing off after them.
    The 18 holes at Lincoln Park are a new addition just for the tournament, adding difficulty and length for some of the more experienced players.
    "There are only nine holes at Lincoln Park [when the tournament isn't taking place]," Elrod said. "But it's so congested because it's in a little area. The tee pad is 10 feet away from the basket. We're now utilizing all of Lincoln Parks. It starts over by the ballfield. We have a hole in the corner of Four Oaks Golf Course. There's a tee off by the tennis courts."
    Even the course at Schlanger Park has seen a few changes since last year, when it had only been in place for a few days before the start of the Pitt Open. Several changes were already in the works, including lengthening a few holes, but many changes came after a wind storm raged through Schlanger, knocking down several "guardian" trees, particularly on holes 16-18. Now, a mini cage, of sorts, has been erected around the hole on 17, mimicking a hole at the U.S. Disc Golf Championship.
    Page 2 of 2 - That was a touch that a few of the competitors noticed on Friday, like Charlie Chung, Coweta, Okla., who competes every weekend and said he wouldn't have skipped a tournament this weekend near his home if this event hadn't been "something special."
    "I like this course. It's a good variety. There are several long shots. There are blind shots. There are all kinds of blind shots. You know where the hole is, but you can't see it. There are a lot of out of bounds, and you really need to control your shot," Chung said about the Schlanger Park course. "This isn't a beginner's course. For someone like myself, this is a challenge. It's an outstanding course. Whoever designed this course did a great job."
    As of Friday, there were only about 70 or so registered, but Elrod and Burns expected many to show up Saturday, register and play throughout the weekend. Both expected that a few 1,000-rated players ("Anything over 1,000, on any given day, they're going to win," said Burns, who has won the tournament two of the first three years.) would be at the tournament.
    For competitors professional and amateur, like Chung, it's just a good recreation activity, no matter what the result.
    "I'm 60. This is my exercise," he said. "I'll probably walk two miles in a round of 18. It's cheap. There's no green fees and no cart fees. Discs aren't that expensive, either."
     
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