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Durand Wins QLD Championships

Story – Kingsley Flett. Pictures – Tim Marchbank

Michal Durand – picture by Tim Marchbank

If you have a  quick scan down the results page for the 2020 Queensland Disc Golf Championships you’ll notice something quite unique – the 31 novice players that contributed almost half the record field of 64. It’s a tangible sign of the recent explosion in disc golf participation in the sunshine state.

‘We had 14 more than our biggest ever year’ said Tournament Director Rhys Kruger. ‘It’s a record attendance for the event, which is pretty good considering the borders are closed and all but one were local players.’

Rhys Kruger was also pleased at the big number of novice players in the event. ‘It’s usually pretty difficult to convince novice players to step straight into a 2-day state championship. But it just shows how keen most of the new players are. Our furthest travelled player was Nicholas Greg from Townsville. One of the novice players, Nick Halstead, I’d only convinced to play five days before and he ended up one-throw off the win in second.”  

The big story of the day though, was provided by someone who was playing novice only four years ago himself. Michal Durand played his first round of disc golf in Augusta Georgia USA, some years ago, but it wasn’t until after his dad returned to Queensland in 2015 that Michal was convinced to play the league days at Yeronga. A steady climb through the ranks had him making to decision to play open this year. The result, in only his second tournament as an MPO player, was quite unexpected.

“I’m a bit blown away” he admitted the day after. “I’m still processing it. I never thought I’d be taking a win this weekend or be the QLD champion – I was going to play the best as I could and be happy with whatever the outcome was.  I started the event in the mindset of turning up and focusing on playing good golf. I always think about its just me vs the course and being able to maintain that focus was key.”

On life in the top card he said “I always was looking up to the open players. When I made the call to play open my goal was to grow and learn from the people who inspire me. Apart from my Dad, who got me into disc golf, the people I really have to thank are Rhys (Rhys Kruger), BJ (Brian Clevenger) and Gavin (Gavin Cowan) for shaping me as a player. Over the whole weekend all my fellow competitors supported each other and that was special to me.”  

After a windy day one which played havoc with the scores. Michal went into the final round one throw back from leader Aaron Moreton. The turning point came after the pair had matched each other in birdying 4 out of the first 5 holes. Moreton threw his drive on the par-5 hole six into an early tree and defected into the water. The two-throw swing gave Durand the lead and, although Moreton was able to level again after birdying hole nine, he was unable to match Durand birdying 3 out of the last 7 holes.

Michal Durand. Picture – Tim Marchbank

“Sinking my last putt was such a mental release of relief” Said Durand. “We all felt for Aaron when his drive kicked into the water on hole six. But I guess there were a lot of unlucky moments on the card – clean putts pushing through the chains or bouncing out of the basket etc. But the spirit on the card was great, we all we all picked each other up when unlucky moments happened and pushed on. The on the other hand it’s amazing to share moments of brilliance with people on your card.”

Durand credited his forehand for much of his success in the event. “It felt pretty faultless all weekend.” He said. “In round one I lost my favourite ballista pro. I went long on a hole and sent it 120+ metres into the river. But otherwise I felt really consistent. I threw the 4th Circle Dingo and the Firehawk a lot over the weekend. Rhys Kruger has done such a great job with those discs.”

The spirit shown on the top card seemed to extend to the whole event. “Without the community and dedicated people helping each time we would not have this event.” Said Durand. “I’d really like to thank all the people who were there with us each day setting up and packing up, and to Rhys for such a great event.“

“It was a little tough running an entire event just on metrix with no physical scorecards.” Said Kruger afterwards. “But the players were very patient to get it working which made things easier. So many people had an amazing time.“

Other winners from the tournament were

MA1 – Abraham Garfield

FA1 – Natalie Jones

MA40 – Bradley Adams

MA50 – Russell Wolf

MA2 – Aaron Cuerel

MA4 – Luke Bayne

FA4 – Mikayla Haka

MJ15 – Archer Shaw

Presenting, the 2020 Aussie Disc Golf Day

One country

One tribe

One tournament

Many venues

This November 21 the Aussie Disc Golf community will come together in an event that will span the nation. Despite the best efforts of the coronavirus to keep us all apart, this is something that can unite the Aussie Disc Golf tribe. The Aussie Disc Golf Day will be a multi-venue virtual tournament which, depending on restrictions, will be played at a course near you. Results will be tabled Australia-wide and ranked according to PDGA rating for your two rounds on the day. Prizes will be awarded in every division.

We intend keeping the events small, local and at club level to avoid both unnecessary travel and large gatherings. Any given city may have multiple tournaments depending on who is keen to run them.

Every player will receive a collectible, first run, custom stamped, all-Aussie designed and manufactured disc

Click here to register.

If you don’t see an event near you to choose from in the drop-down list. Don’t worry, it just might be that your local club hasn’t organised theirs yet. Just select ‘non-Playing participant’ from the drop-down list and we’ll add you to your local event when it’s registered with us.

Event fees will be minimal. If your event is cancelled due to a change in Covid-19 restrictions in your area, you will be issued a partial refund but you get to keep your disc.

Living in a part of the country where you are almost certain that restrictions will prevent an event, but want a disc anyway? Register as a non-playing participant and we’ll get you your disc.

Want to organize an Aussie Disc Golf Day event in your area? Send an email to competitions@australiandiscgolf.com with the venue and name of your event and we’ll get you started.

Click here to see who has registered already.

COVID 19 Update

Unfortunately, the good progress that had been made in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia has been reversed in some locations. New South Wales has published a list of hotspots where community transmission has been confirmed. In Victoria, stay at home orders have been reinstated in some areas.

It is important that you check if these more restrictive orders apply to you.

In Victoria

https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

in New South Wales

https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

For NSW in particular, you should check the list of specific places and times, and if you were there, self-isolate.

https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates

For other states, players and tournament organizers should stay aware of the local requirements.

In South Australia

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/

In Western Australia

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus

In Queensland

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions

In the ACT

https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/

In Tasmania

https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/

and the Northern Territory

https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/

In order to keep running disc golf events it is important that everyone follows the ADG COVID-safe play guidelines.

These state that you must not attend an event if you:

·       have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19

·       have been in contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

·       have been told to self-isolate by a medical authority

·       are unwell or had any flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days.

Most areas still require people to practice social distancing including avoiding large gatherings, maintaining 1.5 m between people and limiting travel.

It’s especially critical that you check your local guidelines if you are planning on travelling between centres to play tournaments or league days (Sydney to Newcastle for example).