2nd Mars Springs tournament

On Saturday 12th March 2016, Mars Springs tournament was held for the second time in the town of Varaždinske Toplice, organized with the arrival of spring. The weather was not ideal for play, with occasional showers or a bit stronger wind, but this did not stop the players to achieve some excellent results.

In the men's category 31 players took part, and the result was about the kind to be expected according to the rating of players, but with a few surprises. In the first round both of the best-ranked duo - Mike Gordon and Robert Furka have slightly failed and played "only" 51 (-4), and the same score was enrolled by Nino Đurak. This was followed by Tomislav Gorički with 53, and then five players with the score of 54. As the course is technically demanding and punishes mistakes, but still consists of short holes, as many as 17 players after the first round were placed within 7 throws, with a score between 53 and 59.
In the second round, the best duo performed very well so we’ve got a new course record, and a new second best result. Mike Gordon played the 45 (-10), which is so far the best result in this course and received an unofficial PDGA rating of 1021, while Robert Furka played 48. Surprisingly, the third best result of the second round was made by Grega Triplat (51), and was followed by Nino Đurak (52).
Excellent second round brought Triplat to the last fifth place in the finals where he joined the leading four from the first round. The final was played for the audience, on five holes, of which three were new and specifically designed to set up additional challenges against the best players. However, the order in the finals has not changed, and the players again played about as well as the rating provided. American with Croatian address Mike Gordon defended the title of best in the tournament with a total of 110 throws (-15). Hungarian Robert Furka took the second place with 4 throws behind Gordon, and as much advantage over third-placed player from Varazdin Nino Đurak.

 This year the tournament was attended by 33 players of Croatia (17), Hungary (7), Slovenia (5), Serbia (3) and Austria (1), which is a significant increase from the 18 players from the Croatia and Hungary who took part in the 1st edition of the tournament.

Especially interesting was the arrival of the four-man TV crew that came with players from Serbia, and which is making a documentary movie following their story from the first disc golf steps in Serbia, until, they hope, setting up the first permanent course in Belgrade. Director Milica Stojanovic and her team recorded a lot of material before, during and after the tournament, so we can with interest expect the completion of this project, which should happen only at the beginning of 2017.

In the Open Women category only two players competed, and a victory went to Danica Pajtak who played two excellent rounds of 56 (+1) and 59 (+4) that, if she would have played in men's competition, would rank her on 13th place. Kristina Lisica, still novice in disc golf, took the 2nd place. As there were only two players the finals for women were not played.

In the men's category 31 players took part, and the result was about the kind to be expected according to the rating of players, but with a few surprises. In the first round both of the best-ranked duo - Mike Gordon and Robert Furka have slightly failed and played "only" 51 (-4), and the same score was enrolled by Nino Đurak. This was followed by Tomislav Gorički with 53, and then five players with the score of 54. As the course is technically demanding and punishes mistakes, but still consists of short holes, as many as 17 players after the first round were placed within 7 throws, with a score between 53 and 59. In the second round, the best duo performed very well so we’ve got a new course record, and a new second best result. Mike Gordon played the 45 (-10), which is so far the best result in this course and received an unofficial PDGA rating of 1021, while Robert Furka played 48. Surprisingly, the third best result of the second round was made by Grega Triplat (51), and was followed by Nino Đurak (52).
Excellent second round brought Triplat to the last fifth place in the finals where he joined the leading four from the first round. The final was played for the audience, on five holes, of which three were new and specifically designed to set up additional challenges against the best players. However, the order in the finals has not changed, and the players again played about as well as the rating provided. American with Croatian address Mike Gordon defended the title of best in the tournament with a total of 110 throws (-15). Hungarian Robert Furka took the second place with 4 throws behind Gordon, and as much advantage over third-placed player from Varazdin Nino Đurak.

As side event a Lagoda a putting contest and Closest to the pin on holes 7 and 18 were held. CTP on hole 18 was won by Raško Mikic, while Franjo Kirić won it on hole 7. The prizes for this competition were the disc and mini marker with a custom made Cro-disc golf logo, which was sponsored by Mike Gordon. Qualifiers of Lagoda putting contest were held before the first round and in between two rounds in the area of conference hall of hotel Minerva. All players were able to join, and it was played with Vibram Sole (169g, firm) discs. After the tournament winner ceremony the finals of the putting contest were held, but because of the travels back home some players who qualified had to leave before the finals, so it featured three of the best-performing present qualifiers - Mike Gordon, Marko Marčec and Aleksandar Sudžuković . Mike Gordon won this contest.

After the tournament, 20 players headed to the nearby vineyard house owned by Hrvoje Potrebica, player from Varaždinske Toplice, where they continued this event along the stew and lots of laughter.

Danica Pajtak (DGK Varazdin), winner in the women's competition:
- The second edition of Mars Springs attracted a large number of players from abroad and showed just how much potential this sport has. All praise to the organizer Dinko Šimenc who constantly does a good job related to the promotion of disc golf in Croatia. I'm happy to have participated and that I defended last year's title while playing my best tournament so far. I hope that with time more women will start to play disc golf, because although most players are now men, this is the ideal sport for both genders. I therefore urge all women to join us and start playing. For all the questions interested persons can feel free to contact us on Facebook to page of Disc Golf Club Varazdin.

Third place Nino Đurak (DGK Varazdin):
- The course is excellent, technically challenging and interesting to play. All praise to the organizers, but for next year I hope to get a victory.

Fifth-placed Grega Triplat (Mežica, Slovenia):
- This was my first participation in the Mars Springs, and to end up playing the finals is really satisfying. In the first round I could play better (57, 11th place), but I did not know the holes. I have tried playing with more power but it did not borne fruit, instead it brought a lot of mistakes. In the second round I had nothing to lose, so I started playing tactically smarter, made several big putts what grew my confidence and in the end the outcome was excellent (51). Finals for me were the "cherry on the cake", but I did not have luck and hit the wood several times. Also, playing along Mike Gordon, a world-class player, made me a bit nervous. All in all, I must say that I am satisfied with my performance, but also the entire tournament and I will be happy to come back next year if my other obligations allow me to.

Veselin Neskovic (Belgrade, Serbia):
- For three of us from Belgrade this was the first appearance at a disc golf tournament. We actually come to learn, and I would use this opportunity to thank the organizers and all the participants for the reception and hospitality. I hope we will have a chance to return it the same way. We are returning back to Serbia full of impressions, richer for the important experience that will help us to organize a similar tournament in our country in the near future. We are very pleased with the organization of the tournament and with the will of other players to share their knowledge. For me, everyone is the winner, especially the goulash stew at the end of the tournament. We will come back next time and we hope to be more competitive.

The complete results of the tournament can be found on the PDGA website.