Fear and Loathing winners

Left to right: Jason Williams (Men’s Amateur over 40 winner), Zach Melton (Men’s Open winner), Ryan Messenger (Men’s Advanced winner), Zach Dunn (Men’s Intermediate winner), Alyssa Ro (Women’s Recreational winner), and Jacob Heitcamp (Men’s Recreational winner).

MURRAY—Fear and Loathing, the name itself gave local disc golf players a fair warning of how they would feel after a tournament at Central Park Saturday.  

Tournament director Dan Thompson said, “The name of the course tells you it’s tougher. You fear it, and then you loath what happened to you afterwards.”  

The Fear and Loathing course consisted of nine of the hardest holes, long and short, that Central Park possesses. Thirty-four participants played the nine red, short baskets and nine yellow, long baskets two times on Saturday for a total of 36 holes. 

“It’s challenging.  You have to throw good shots to get a good score,” said advanced competitor Ryan Messenger of Murray.  “It’s the hardest layout in the area.”

The difficulty of this course was so unique that it attracted the attention of Tennessee pro disc golfer Zach Melton.  

“I was planning on taking the weekend off, but I just happened to be scrolling on PDG.com, looking at tournaments,” Melton said.  “It caught my eye because it was something different. Then, I found out it was a wooded course, so that really got me wanting to come.”

Melton added that the cash bounty also had a factor in enticing him to play in Fear and Loathing and he cashed in with a 58, setting the new course record. Prior to Saturday, the course record was 60. Cash prizes were offered to players who could break that record, starting at $50, and doubling for every stroke that was knocked off of the previous record and capping out at $1,600 for a 54.  

As if the pressure of playing the Fear and Loathing course and the potential cash weren’t enough to keep competitors on edge, Mother Nature decided she wanted to add a factor to the tournament as well.

“When we first got there, it was thunder storming and pretty nasty,” Messenger said.  

The start time was delayed an hour.

“It ended up clearing up and being pretty nice, sunny and blue skies,” Messenger said.  “It was like that for the whole first round. It was just hot.”

Each round took a little over three hours.  

Thompson said the Fear and Loathing course took a significantly larger amount of time to complete because of its extreme difficulty. While potential rainfall added a different level of stress to the players’ day, Thompson said the conditions actually worked in their favor.  

“We had a total of two hours of weather delays, but it didn’t interrupt either of our rounds,” Thompson said.  “That worked out very well.”

At the end of the day, Melton placed first in the pro division and Messenger placed first in the advanced division.  Melton also snagged $100 in cash for breaking the course record by two strokes. 

“He was capable (of a lower score), but just had a tough time on the second half of the course in second round,” Thompson said of Melton. 

“I enjoyed the guys I played with all day, and I’m looking forward to coming back,” Melton said. “It’s tough, but it’s fun. I feel like I played good for the most part.  I’m happy with it.”

Messenger said, “These holes make me better, but they are really difficult. I’m glad I played. I had a good time. It felt pretty good to get a win on my home course. I live here and play this course 5 or 6 times a week.”

Thompson said the course was designed to be extremely difficult, and designer H.B. Clark did just that.  

“As everyone can attest in the field, the holes are very difficult, so the name kind of pokes fun at how hard it is and what’s going to happen to you when you come out here and play,” Thompson said.  “It’s a sort of up-front recognition of ‘Hey, come over here and play this course and let’s see how tough you are.’”

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