Two days ago, when I should have written this article, the story was totally different. Then, I was going to tell you that two-time defending champion Matt Idol wasn't playing the Sap Bucket. That, in turn, would have left the field wide open. Instead, I'm lazy, I didn't write that article two days ago, and now Matt Idol's playing. Remember that bat signal I sent him after Pinnacle? It worked. Score another one for Circle Three.
My mental rough draft had to be reworked with Idol in the mix. So, let's talk about the Sap Bucket IX and VIII for a minute. Last year Idol won Pro Open by a stroke on Johnny Betts. Idol was 54/49 for a 103 and Betts was 51/53 for 104. Frothy was 53/53 for 105, for the record. Those numbers may not seem stellar, but I'll remind you that last year's Sap Bucket was a sloppy, wet, disgusting mess of a day. It rained the entire time and things got ugly. Some dummy even fell down on hole 7 and was covered in mud for the whole second round.
At the Sap Bucket VIII, two years ago, Idol and Betts tied at a stunning 95 after two rounds. Idol was 44/51 and Betts was 49/46. On the first playoff hole Betts went OB and gave it to Idol.
And now he's back to defend his two-time win streak. The rest of the field should watch out. This guy taught us what a pitch and putt Center Chains can be. Look for some more stunning scores in the 40's from this guy. The rest of the Pro field should have that on their minds all day. Each of them can be a few under par, but few of them can get in the 40's. In this case, 40's win.
What to watch for:
*Idol's not the only Pro who has a chance, obviously. I expect Betts to play some great disc golf in his quest to finally beat Idol in Waterbury. Mike Habets should shoot low. Pete Hess crushes Center Chains. Chris Young hates the fact I've mentioned 5 Pros before I mentioned him, so expect him to play well. Frothy practically lives there. And, Year of the Spring, of course.
*This year I'm going to pick the Pros “Win/Place/Show” style. I'll give you my top 3. Idol, Betts, Spring. The outsider pick is Jon Moorer. He's goes under par both rounds, I suspect.
*Look for some great Pro/Pro match-ups for the round one cards. Idol gets top slot on the 1st card, as the reigning champ. He plays on the same card as Spring, because I think that's a great head-to-head. Betts gets the top slot on the 2nd card, because of two straight 2nd place finishes. Pete Hess plays with him, to pair up some of the Vermont God Fathers of Disc Golf. Young gets the top slot on the 3rd card as the reigning points series champ. He's paired with the newly shorn Mike Davies, who could either shoot great or walk off the course mid-round. Either way, it'd be fun to see those two play.
*Dang, there are some amateurs playing this tournament too. With 23 Pros, its hard to remember that people are silly enough not to play for cash. So, the Am 1 field. Last year Josh Wedel won it. He was 51/55 for 106. But, he's playing Pro this year. Two other current Pros Moorer and James Sweat were 2nd and 3rd. Jim Conroy was 4th. He's the highest finisher still playing in the little boy's division.
*I have about a 10% chance of getting this prediction right. Anything could happen. Bedell and Powell could follow up their strong starts. Aaron Bunker and Justin Kaulius could improve on their 3rd place Pinnacle finishes. Matt Cohen could pull it together to play straight down the fairways all day. Maybe Oliver Redding will shoot another stellar round this year. An out-of-towner like Brad Harris, maybe? An unknown from Canada or Mass? Who knows? While I'm at it, I'll mention that Olatundji Akpo-Sani could be a player. He's Vermont's newest Colorado transplant and beat 21 other players on a round at Waterbury not too long ago.
*Am 1, win/place/show: Tundji, Harris, Powell. Why not? Let's go out on some limbs here. You know how the out-of-towners who sweep into Vermont tend to play. So, my predictions are trending towards the non-locals or new-locals. And Andy Powell, who plays more out of town than in town. Plus, I didn't want to pick myself.
*Rivalry Watch: I roll into the Sap Bucket with a nice 8-1 cushion. Something tells me this one's going to be tough. All the rivals are there. All can shoot amazing rounds at Center Chains. Weatherholt, Divoll, Powell, Carter, DeVico, McQuade. Those are some strong players to have to be taking on.
*I think we should come up with a nick name for the rival group. Since the website's called Circle Three, I'm going to suggest the Square Six. What do you think? It might help me remember how many players I have to check on each time. Any other suggestions?