Mini MODS 2022 kicked off at Gilly’s Disc Golf course near Stratford Upon Avon on Sunday 6th March.
After a stormy and soaking February the course required a redesign to avoid the new water features that had been topped up by the early March downpours in the week before the event.
With changes being enforced this was a great opportunity to create the Gold level tee on hole 6 and to introduce what will be the 12th hole of the Blue course. A Few other changes were added increasing difficulty on the White tees layout. This brought par on the 13 hole Mini MODS course to a tough 950 rating.
A full field of 52 players from as far away as Manchester and Leeds were greeted by what felt like the start of spring. A crisp morning with hints of blue sky breaking through, promising and end to the long wet winter months.
FPO and FJ1
There were 7 divisions on offer with two single entry divisions. In the FJ18 category Norean Woodhead shot two rounds averaging 60 points above her rating for the win and in the FPO category veteran and Gilly’s member Sue underwood showed her course knowledge to shoot 40 points above her own rating.
In the MPO division this correspondent found himself in an unfamiliar position as the second highest rated player behind Disc Golf UK teammate and 2020 National Matchplay champion Jon Tweed of Wolvey. It was Ryan Ford of Brackley however who took control in the first round with just one bogey on the card and three birdies. Hatton was 1 stroke back at 1 under after a disappointing double on hole 6 marred an otherwise solid round. Tweed looked good for 12 holes but a rush of blood to the head after a poor drive on the tricky second led to a triple bogey and a frustrating level par round.
After a shocking start to the second round by all three players – Ford and Hatton struggled to get off the tee and Tweed converted a birdie chance to the dreaded BirdOgey – all three players settled down for a fun round joined on the card by Gustavo Avalos of Seattle, US.
Hatton pulled level after back to back 2’s on holes 4 and 5, immediately following up with back to back bogeys through 6 and 7 to fall off the pace. Hole 9 was a disaster for all players on the card as they collectively fell apart on the putting green, one excuse may be that none of them wanted to tee first on the notorious hole 10, or more likely, they were all just bad.
Having won the tee a shocking shank from Tweed seemingly put him out of contention. Ford and Hatton managed to navigate the trees without disaster carding a 6 and 5 respectively and squaring things up at the top…. or so they thought. Amazingly Tweed somehow managed to find a line through thick woods towards the basket and after a superb 12 meter putt carded an unexpected birdie 3 and a one shot lead at the top.
Ford jumped level on the short but tricky hole 11 with a parked birdie. Teeing last on hole 12, an 85 meter tough tunnel shot, Hatton used the Course Designers line (a 30 meter long 30 cms gap through the trees on the right, it was definitely intentional, absolutely, whatever his cardmates tell you otherwise) to park the hole after watching Tweed hit the first tree and take himself out of contention.
Hatton and Ford walked to the 13th all square and found a gallery waiting for them at the tee. Hatton narrowly squeezed a low Teebird down the left hand side of the fairway to within 15 meters. Ford, with the pressure on, threw the drive of the day to park the hole with an absolute beauty. As more players arrived to watch the final shots, Hatton hit his 4th long putt of the day using his trusty Landers (available here!) to force things to a playoff with both players 1 under par.
The less said about the playoff the better with neither player covering themselves in glory! Ford carded the 3 to take his first MPO win at the first Mini MODS of the year!
The MA2 division on paper looked likely to be a battle between three players, Shane Cooper of Chipping Norton, Manchester’s Harry Messenger and Rich Hooper up from Worcester for the day.
It was Messenger who set the early pace with one of just 3 birdies recorded on hole 8 on the day, and respectable bogey’s on 10 and 13, the 1st and 3rd hardest holes on the course. One shot back on 2 over par was Cooper who had a more colourful card with three birdies offset by 3 bogeys and a double on the notorious 10th. Tom Sweeting of Bedford, fresh back from Snow Boarding and a heavy week of stag do’s, found himself in third on three over par.
Cooper quickly took advantage in the afternoon after some mid round mistakes from Messenger and held off a late fight back to card a superb 950 rated level par round, taking the win by two strokes. Hooper took advantage of Sweetings heavy week as he flagged in the second round to leapfrog him into third place four shots back from Messenger.
MA3 looked to be a very even affair with a number of similar rated players in Carl Heaton, Ryan Gardner, Tom Messenger and Matt Lee. Out of these 4 it was Gilly’s member Heaton that led the way through round one with 4 birdies including the only one carded on the tough hole 2 from any division on the day. He was joined on a very impressive 2 over par by Keir Watson of Leicester playing 100 points above his current rating in a controlled round of 4 bogeys and two birdies. Kenilworth’s Adam Clifford and Tom Messenger of Leeds were both one shot back on 3 over par. Dom Henry whilst off the pace overall must be mentioned for his fantastic parked 2 on the new layout hole 6, one of only 4 carded on that hole on the day.
In the second round Messenger had shaken off his long drive from Leeds in the morning and came out roaring carding two back to back twos on hole 12 and 13 a 95 meter tunnel which is no easy birdie, incredibly he birdied it round 1 as well. Despite stiff resistance from Heaton and Watson his 937 rated 1 over par was too much for the division and he took the win by one stroke from Watson with Heaton 2 strokes back.
MA40 had, on paper, one standout player in American Dennis Jones, currently of Brackley. To prove this he shot a storming level par 950 in his first round, a full 90 points above his current rating. Back to back birdies on holes 4 and 5 were only slightly marred by bogeys on the tough hole 7 and 10.
He couldn’t quite keep up the hot pace in the second round with Adam Barlow clawing back two shots with two strong rounds of 4 over par clinching second. Ray Donnelly of Coventry took third again after his third place at the 2021 Gilly’s Mini MODs, this time though with two great rounds a full 60 points each above his current rating.
In the MA4 division there was a mix of new and familiar faces. Shooting hot out of the blocks was Gilly’s member and Coventry resident Paulos Ellistino at his first Mini MODS competition. He took his opportunities on the two shorter holes 5 and the revised 9 to card two birdies on the round, took a solid three on the very hard hole 6 and kept the bleeding to a minimum on everyone’s nemesis hole 10 finishing up with a solid 5 over par 45. Hot on his heels two shots back on 7 over par was Redditch’s Jake Guy and Stuart Phillips in his first ever competition.
In the second round Ellistino cemented his lead with a controlled round of a 7 over par 47 to take his first win. Phillips held on superbly to take second with a very respectable tournament 18 over in his first outing but a charge from Kenilworth’s Si Groves saw him overtake Guy into the 3rd spot.
Full Results can be found here and a great day of Disc Golf was had by all.
What are Mini MODS?
Mini MODS is a new competition format trialled late last year. The MODS (Midlands One Day Series) was a series started in 2016 by Disc Golf UK that focused on one day events and making competitions more accessible to new players and those with time commitments stopping them getting involved in 2 day events. The mini MODS gives you the experience of the MODS but in a half day format so even more accessible and the format is proving popular from everyone from the beginner to the experienced pro.
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