It has been more than half a year that I had to practice in my backyard instead of competing on the Disc Golf World Tour. This time is officially over now! The Gentlemen's Club Challenge in Las Vegas, my first big disc golf tournament this year, is over and it was a great weekend for me - personally, with a lot of fun and also playing-wise, although some of you might have expected me to do a bit better than 16th place.
But let’s start from the beginning: In fact it has been a great 10 days since I returned to the U.S. - I flew from Berlin to L.A. and used the first few days in California to adjust to the great weather and meet old friends. Then the Flying Circus started off with Eagle and me running disc golf clinics, answering questions, meeting & greeting and just enjoying our time being out there with many of you. After this long break, it felt really great to meet all of my friends again. Even if it sometimes got a bit annoying to constantly answer questions on how my knee is doing. But overall it was really nice that everyone was so happy to have me back.
It is Vegas, baby
We arrived in Vegas mid-week, got a feeling for the course and then I was back in the real action – at this huge disc golf tournament in one of my favorite cities in the world on a challenging course. 3 fairly large courses where many power drives had to be thrown. Almost every track required one. A good but hard test for my knee. I was really surprised how well my body felt. I had absolutely no problems with pain in my knees.
Round 1 started off with a birdie, which was really encouraging and I thought, it could continue like this. But as can be expected after such a long break, I was a bit rusty. The double bogey on the 12th really hurt my standing and, of course, I was not happy to be 38th after the first round, but 6 birdies was not bad. I know that a tournament is not a 1-day event. I missed on a few puts, which I usually make, and without those slight errors, I would have been Top 20. So overall, while I was not satisfied with the round, it was a start and I knew that I needed to cut down on my mistakes. And I did much better than that in each of the following rounds, improving constantly.
In my last article before leaving home I stated that I would not put too much pressure on myself after such a long break, that I did not have too high expectations, but that I would be somewhat disappointed, if I finished way below the Top 20 in Vegas. In the end I met that objective and I very well understand, how I can improve going further: My timing was a little rusty and my angles were not quite perfect. And this really had a negative effect on these difficult courses, where you have out of bounds on almost every round. My putts were ok. Actually they were very good but time and time again a few inches too low, too far left, right or too high.
The most important thing for me was that I had fun. I really enjoyed being back again and competing. The weather was wonderful (especially after the long winter in Germany) and the atmosphere in Las Vegas was great (especially when Paul threw his ace). While I love the buzz in Las Vegas, we focused more on Disc Golf this time around. But one night we went to see the cirque du soleil show "Ká". It is really unbelievable what these guys and girls do on the stage.
The look ahead
All in all, I am satisfied with myself. I'm not where I left off last year but that was not to be expected. As Yazz said in her song: “The only way is up!” Now that I write this, we already have a night on the highway behind us and have arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. Even better weather and I look forward to the Memorial Championships in Scottsdale, AZ, which will start in only two more days from now.
I will keep you posted.
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