Disc Golf Tourney Attracts 56 Players

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The inaugural Rim Country Open Disc Golf Tournament was a rousing success, attracting 56 entrants many of whom hailed from the White Mountains, Flagstaff and around the Valley.

"It was a fantastic showing for a first time event in rainy, windy and cold conditions," Town of Payson Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Marcy Mullen said.

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Vincent Vasquez, Glendale, takes careful aim as he putts during the first Rim Country disc golf tourney.

"The entrants were all pleasant, positive people and wanted to know when we were going to have another (tournament) up here."

The tournament, which was held at Rumsey Park, was co-sponsored by the Arizona Disc Golf Club and earned more than $600. The money is earmarked to help build a permanent disc course in Payson.

"That will be part of our parks and recreation master plan process," McMullen said.

The first-ever tournament might have been one of the most unusual held in the Rim Country.

Throughout the day, unknowing onlookers watched the entrants lock horns in a sport much like golf, but instead of using balls, players used flying discs thrown at baskets or targets.

Although the sport has never been played competitively in the Rim Country, six entrants were from Payson.

Among them was Jerry Novak, who's enjoyed the sport for a decade, playing mostly Valley-area courses.

He predicts disc golf will soon become a popular recreation activity in the Rim Country, "It's fun to play, it's inexpensive and most everyone can play."

At the conclusion of the shoot out, awards in seven divisions were doled out. In the novice division, David Marinelli was first and Jeff Harris, second. Marinelli also won the "largest number of pars" trophy.

Kerry Nelson won the amateur women's title by out-dueling Jana Hunt.

In the amateur men's competition, Mike Gaffney was first and Alvin Ashley, second.

Lisa Reich was first in the open women's division and Staci Charles, second.

Zach Walker claimed the gold in the open men's title chase. Paul Ullibari claimed second.

In a tongue-in-cheek award, Hunt was tapped for the highest score.

"That award is given in good spirit," McMullen said.

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