Looking back, it will be easy to say that the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s 2020 Waco Annual Charity Open was one for the storybooks. Held in the midst of the global Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the three-round event began on Thursday, March 12.
As the first round went on, it looked like a pretty typical disc golf tournament. Before the second round began an announcement came that spectators would be prohibited from the event for the safety of everyone involved. It wasn’t long before another update stated the event would end after Friday’s final round. This left just 18 holes to determine a winner.
For Team Discmania’s Colten Montgomery, the second round saw him begin four shots behind Paul McBeth in a very crowded tie for fifth place. He got the news a few hours before his scheduled start time and says it was a pretty surreal feeling, but called it the right decision.
“It was crazy how it was happening and I saw how friends on Facebook were saying how it was hitting their normal jobs,” Montgomery says. “It’s unreal how it is hitting the disc golf community.”
Montgomery said he got a little emotional before the round, “I made a Facebook post and honestly teared up a little bit. All that hard work we were putting in on the off season and now it’s on hold. That’s tough.”
Even with the emotions running high and the tournament cut short, Montgomery says he stuck to his game plan. Yes… nine down on the final nine holes was part of the game plan. More on that in a moment.
“I told myself whatever happens, happens,” Montgomery says about the start to the final round. “Play the best disc golf you can. It will be the last round that matters in a while. I had great card mates who were super supportive and I knew I needed to play as good as I can and see how it comes out.”
The final round began with Montgomery hitting birdies on five of the first six holes. In fact, that hot start wasn’t even as good as the front nine in round one where he was -8 to start the tournament.
As he approached the final nine holes of the tournament, he says that things were feeling good, but it was a little hard to focus due to the unique circumstances.
While he wasn’t scoreboard watching, he knew he had a good round going, “After I got the eagle on Hole 14 I was thinking that things were turning around. I threw an awesome forehand and then a drop in birdie. Hole 15 I grabbed my Lone Howl PD on a little tailwind and was in Circle 1 for an eagle and drained that. I knew then I was playing really well.”
Montgomery had a long look at an eagle on Hole 16, but played it smart in the wind and laid up and took his birdie.
Later I had a 80 foot shot at eagle… if I eagled that, it might be the best five holes ever played. I knew if I ran it I might be left with a 50 foot comeback, so I pitched up and took my three before going to a hole that has become a nemesis for him.
“I had to keep my composure on Hole 17. I took a 7 or 8 last year,” Montgomery says. “I wanted to get out of there with any damage. I took a par and was stoked with that.”
In practice on Hole 18 Montgomery put two across the water into a headwind. After seeing that, he knew he could go for it every time. On the 468 foot hole he grabbed his C-Line PD2 and landed the drive within 30 feet of the basket before draining the putt for the birdie.
After closing out his round, he soon realized he had a one shot advantage on McBeth who was starting to charge after a string of birdies. McBeth’s bogey on the final hole was enough to clinch the two shot win for Montgomery — his first DGPT win.
His 1078 rated final round was the highest of his career. He says everything was working right, “I was doing the right thing mentally. I had the right mindset. I also stayed physically strong. To put it all together in a tournament round feels great. Amazing feeling.”
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Wow. I’m absolutely speechless and overcome with emotion! It’s hard to put my feeling into words. I am so happy to announce my first Disc Golf Pro Tour victory at the Waco Annual Charity Open. We all knew that yesterday was going to be the final round, I told myself to leave it all out there and I did exactly that! This offseason I spent a lot of time on the practice green and it is finally paying off. Yesterday I put together the best round of my life, so far! The turning point in my round was when I went -6 through 4 holes....I went eagle, birdie, eagle, birdie. I am so thankful for a lot of things today. Thankful to spend my last round on tour for a while with such a great group of guys. I’m thankful for my family back in Colorado and Florida. I’m thankful I got to spend yesterday surrounded by some of my best friends...this will be a day I remember for the rest of my life. Lastly, HUGE shoutout to @discmaniadiscs and @gripeq Thank you all 🤍 Also, huge thank you to @avdiscgolf for capturing these moments that I’ll remember forever📸 One more thing, @kona_disc and I will be releasing a new stamp tonight on some sick @discmaniadiscs so keep an eye out for those! Thank you all for the support🥏
Since the PDGA has announced that all tournaments will be shutdown for two weeks, Montgomery says he is headed back to Colorado and is going to think of this as a second off season.
“The plan is to go back home and practice as much as we can and stay motivated,” Montgomery says. “Go back to the offseason plan and practice and putt every day. When the tour gets back underway, I’ll be ready.”