It’s been an exciting week in Charlotte, North Carolina, and there may be a number of surprises by the time all 24 World Champions are crowned on Saturday, July 21. Everyone is feeling the heat and the humidity, and it’s certainly taking a toll not only on the players, but spectators, crew and everyone involved. Perhaps it isn’t a surprise that Michael Johansen, who resides in the area in Denver, North Carolina, and has spent a lot of time out on the region’s courses, is currently in the lead.
Johansen was extremely impressive on Wednesday, and 2009 World Champion Avery Jenkins said he witnessed the “almost perfect round” by Johansen at Bradford Park. He shot a 41, and leads by three throws ahead of Paul McBeth and Will Schusterick who are currently tied at second place. The 2011 Rookie of the Year, Ricky Wysocki is just behind them at fourth with Cameron Colglazier, Devan Owens and Cale Leiviska tied for fifth place.
Although many feel Johansen has it in the bag, that’s certainly not the case, with players like Schusterick and Leiviska right on his heels, and known to make some quick comebacks.
Over in the Women’s Open division, Sarah Hokom moved to the area a few years ago and has also spent a lot of time on the Charlotte area courses. They were designed for a side arm throw, Hokom’s preference, and she’s currently ahead by eight throws. The three-time Women’s World Champion, Valarie Jenkins, has been known to quickly make up as many as ten throws and it’s certainly not out of the question for her to comeback and take it all, though many feel it is Hokom’s time.
The junior divisions are putting up a tough fight throughout this heat, with few complaints out on the course. They’ve got the right attitude and are setting a great example for the peers and players of all ages. I had a lot of fun talking to the young disc golfers on Wednesday and was surprised to see them not only having fun but also very dedicated to the sport. Forest Deason not only looked the part, he immediately named his favorite pro (Will Schusterick) and “go-to” disc when asked. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Deason become the next Dave Feldberg or Avery Jenkins.
Maximus Meyer and D.J. Baldwin are just two of many of the stand-out players I had the privilege of speaking with on Wednesday at Elon Park. While Meyer has just been playing for a year, he’s got several wins to his name, and Baldwin is currently on top of the Boys under 13 division and frequently talked about as having some rather exceptional skills out on the course.
The finals will take place at Hornet’s Nest on Saturday, when we’ll all find out who the 2012 World Champions will be. Go to DiscGolfPlanetTV for live action as well as archived events.