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Climo cruises to win, Doss fifth in disc golf Masters Cup
May 15,2006

SANTA CRUZ — In disc golf, when a player can do no wrong, that player is sometimes said to have the "Ken Climo Touch." And, in the words of Santa Cruz pro golfer Nate Doss, "when the guy the touch is named for has it, it's really tough."

That was the case this weekend during the Steady Ed Memorial Masters Cup tournament at the DeLaveaga Disc Golf Course. Climo, of Clearwater, Fla., led after all three rounds, set a single-round course record and glided to a 34-under-par 215 for the tournament win.

Climo earned $2,000 for winning the title at the annual DeLaveaga-hosted tournament, which is the sixth of 11 events on the Pro Disc Golf Association's National Tour. Defending champion Steve Rico finished second at 23-under, while Micah Dorius and Joshua Anthon tied for third at 19-under. Doss of Capitola played the last round with the lead group of four, but ended up fifth 18 under.

"It was tough today," said Doss, the reigning world champion. "When it's your home tournament, you want to win so badly that anything other than first doesn't make you happy."

Doss struggled to find his groove and make putts in the first 28-hole round Friday and finished with a 2-under 81. He bounced back Saturday with a 76 and secured a spot with the leaders for the final round. It may have been as much a curse as a blessing, as he had to watch Climo run away with the tournament while he fought to keep pace.

Not too far into Sunday's round, Doss knew catching Climo wouldn't happen — not with the way Climo was playing. Still, he felt second was still within reach. Often Doss would try different approaches than the rest of the final group Climo, Rico and Dorius. When they tried to squeeze their disc between two trees, Doss' shot would arc wide around them. When they played a short shot and hoped to birdie on a long putt, he would put more distance on his disc. Sometimes it worked, but not often enough.

"I just had a really flat day," he said. "When first is so far away and you're in the lead group, it's hard to be happy.

Climo, on the other hand, was all smiles through the final eight holes. It was about at No. 20 that he realized he would win if he just kept making par. And he was playing so well that making par almost seemed disappointing.

Climo, the 2004 Masters Cup champion, made 38 birdies and just four bogeys for the tournament. He shot a 76 to lead Anthon by a stroke after the first round. Then he shot a course-record 12-under 72 Saturday to go up by five over Rico. Able to relax a little more, Climo broke loose with a 19-under 67 — another new course record — in Sunday's final. In a fitting finale, Climo ended his round with a shot from The Top of the World — where the tee box is located for the course's long, scenic and tree-covered final hole — that came inches from landing in the chains of the disc golf hole far at the bottom of a hill.

"I had good fortune," said Climo, 38, an 11-time world champion. "It seemed like everything went my way — along with some well-executed shots. Out here, though, well-executed shots don't mean things are going to go your way."

DeLaveaga has a reputation for being one of the toughest disc golf courses in the world. Though Climo made it look tame, professional disc golfers from around the country struggled as much with the slopes of its deep ravines and the armor of its trees as they did with other golfers. A few fared better than others.

Juliana Korver of Bowling Green, Ky., barely salvaged her Women's Open win. With five holes to go, she was leading by five strokes. By the end, her 267 was just one stroke better than the score shot by defending champion Des Reading of Davenport, Iowa, and four strokes better than former Santa Cruz resident Carrie Berlogar, who took third.

"This course is one you can never let up on," said Korver, who didn't breathe a sigh of relief until her 5-foot putt for par fell. "Every single drive, most of the putts, it's intense and it's mentally fatiguing. You're never sure if your disc is going to stay there or roll away."

In other divisions, Jim Myers of Cockeysville, Md., won the Masters 242 in a playoff; Los Osos' J. Michael Barry won the Grandmasters 250; Capitola's Tom Schot won the Senior Grandmasters 272 and Stancil Johnson of Carmel won the Legends 380.

The tournament — held in memory of Headrick, a Santa Cruz resident credited as the father of the modern-day disc — drew 157 disc golfers and had a prize purse of more than $20,000.

Read more at the Sentinel



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