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Wanted: A traveling partner for the 2012 USDGC. That’s all Californians Micah Dorius and Shasta Criss need after qualifying for the Pro Flight at the Steady Ed Memorial Masters Cup in Santa Cruz, CA (May 18th-20th).
Also qualifying at the National Tour event were Jeremy Koling of Charlotte (-12), Jere Eshelman of Penn Valley, CA (-10), and Carlo Pelg of San Diego (-8).
Last appearing at Winthrop in 2007 with a uncharacteristic 60th place finish, Dorius is ready to get back to Rock Hill, S.C. for an event he cherishes.
“It’s the closest thing we have to a PGA tour event,” said the San Diego resident, who finished 8th in 2003.
He just needs his potential traveling partner Max Nichols to find a way in to make the trip feasible. Santa Cruz local, Shasta Criss, 35, is in the same boat. He’s hoping friend, mentor Jonathan Baldwin (2011 pro masters champ) qualifies so Criss can make his first trip back since 2008, when he was awestruck by the Championship scene.
“I didn’t know what to expect and it was a pretty amazing experience,” said Criss, who finished 102nd.
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, Criss, definitely had home field advantage during three rounds of qualifying at Santa Cruz’s Delaveaga course. Still, he said the course was playing tough and so was the all-star field he was competing against. After breaking the top ten late in the tournament, he finished 15th with (-9), which he credited to non-stop solid play.
Tournament director T.J. Goodwin said it was a treat to watch Criss play well in a big event.
“We were all really happy for him to show what he could do because we see him all the time,” said Goodwin, who felt the tourney ran smooth and included several dramatic moments.
Initially fearing he’d missed the cut, Criss later found out otherwise to his delight.
At 39, Dorius, (-12) was stoked about his tie for 8th place and qualifying considering he was one of the oldest players in the open division and the low amount he’s able to play nowadays.
In the early 2000′s, Dorius rose to elite player status with many impressive finishes including winning the 2003 Masters Cup followed by a 7th place at the Worlds. The amount of events he entered, though, slowed down by 2008, and later he played only three PDGA events in 2010.
He said he’s never lost the love for the game but family and job commitments combined with financial constraints limit how far he can travel.
Dorius said he’s tried each year to play as much of the tour’s west coast swing, and he still remains competitive despite having little time to practice.
Unlike Dorius, who’s largely done with big tournaments for the year, Criss has more flexibility to travel and plans to hit as many NT’s as he can, plus the Worlds in Charlotte.
Criss said he’s curious about the atmosphere of this year’s USDGC, which will have two separate flights for the first time. Overall, though, he thinks it’s cool and is looking forward to it.
At one point in his disc golf career, Dorius had hopes of being atop the disc golf world, but it never really happened. He still has that dream, though – and so does Criss, who realizes that his window of opportunity may be closing soon.
The 2012 USDGC might be their ticket. And, if their current traveling partner plans fall through, they may have to travel together.