There are times when you leave one tournament and don’t know what’s next. Though I wanted to play the Eric C. Yetter Tournament, I wasn’t entered. So, I thought I was going to be heading home.
Then I got a call from Darren Dolezel, who told me I could have his spot. He called the tournament director to tell him he’d give up his spot for me, which was awesome. But the TD didn’t go for it, saying it wasn’t fair for all the others on the waitlist, which is understandable.
I looked at the waitlist to see if it was worth going to the tournament or if I had a chance to get in. I noticed my name wasn’t as high on the list as I thought. It turned out the TD had forgotten to put me on the waitlist because of a miscommunication. He squared that up and I ended up getting in.
After all that, I headed out to Philadelphia for the Yetter, which I was pumped for because I like the tournament and the course. I played in it the year before and placed third. I was looking to improve on that.
In Philadelphia, I stayed with my buddy Dan Meers, who lives downtown. He was an awesome host. We got to see the Rocky statue and we also ate a famous Philly cheesesteak at a place called Gooey Looie’s. It was one of the best cheesesteaks I’ve ever had. It was 20 ounces of steak — so one of the biggest I’ve ever had!
The guy working at Gooey Looie’s told me the Food Network was coming the next day to film. That’s how you know you picked a special place.
We were going to come and check it out when the Food Network was there, but we left to go to Atlantic City the same day. Dave Feldberg. Paul Oman and myself made the trip. I had been there last year when I was in town for the Yetter, but everyone I was with wanted to go and I wanted to go again. It was a blast.
We had the chance to stay in the newest and nicest hotel in Atlantic City, the Revel. However, we were only able to that because we had four people to split the cost. It was an ocean side view and right on the boardwalk. We only stayed one night, but it was a very fun time.
After a fun-filled week, it was time to get back to disc golf. On Wednesday, I went with Paul and Dave to Tyler State Park to practice. We had to figure out the layout and everything about the tournament. On Friday, we played the last 20 holes, which were mostly temp holes set up for the tournament. They were mostly open and long with a lot of par 4s and par 5s.
These holes were a good change from the permanent holes, which are tightly wooded holes.
The tournament started Saturday and I was ready as far as practice and playing all 40 holes goes. I went in feeling good, which is a good way to start the tournament.
The first round covered holes 1-20. The first round was an 8 a.m. start, which is a bit early for me. I’m not a morning person. I started off a little slowing, knowing it takes me a little while to warm up. I ended up shooting a 72 and was six strokes off the lead.
After that round, I was ready for Round 2 and knew I had to play well to catch up. That’s all I worried about. Play well and catch a few strokes per round as there were a lot of holes to play.
I started the second round hot with birdies on three of the first four holes. I kept it up throughout the round and shot a hot round 66 to catch up and be three strokes off the lead. That got me on the second card for the third round.
For the third round, I was ready. Especially because it wasn’t so early in the morning. I had an eagle on the third hole and followed that up with birdies on the next six holes. I kept it going the rest of the round, knowing I had to keep up the pace to have a chance to win. My lone bogey came on No. 14, where I took a six.
But I knew I had to get that out of my head and focus on the rest of the round.
I ended up holding steady and shot an 89, catching the top card and winning by two strokes. It felt awesome to win after not knowing if I was even going to get into the tournament.
Ricky Wysocki is one of the top touring professionals in the PDGA and a columnist for Rattling Chains. You can e-mail him at ricky [at] rattlingchains.com.