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The Independence Day Clash and the Treasure of Brooksville

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Disc golf is alive and well at The Quarry Disc Golf Course in Brooksville

On a soggy post-Fourth of July weekend, Sun King Enterprises and owner Michael Barnett teed off their annual Independence Day Clash X on Saturday, July 8. Barnett and company run the most disc golfing tournaments in the state and have held one at the Quarry nearly every year since 2004, but this was the first time this particular event was hosted by the Quarry in Brooksville, Florida. The competition saw over 100 athletes play two rounds over two days across 12 divisions. These included men’s, women’s, amateur, and professional divisions, with some between distinguishing ages as well.

Below are the two disc golfers from each division with the lowest totals through the end of round two:

Mixed Pro Open (MPO):
1st – Trevor Murphy threw – 26
T-2nd – Clay Harvey threw -23
T-2nd – Seth Moon threw -23

Women’s Pro Open (FPO):
1st – Nid Ovathanasin threw -26
2nd – Priscilla Anzualda threw -21

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Mixed Pro 40+ (MP40):
1st – Matthew Henderson threw -20
2nd – Arthur Moody threw -19

Mixed Pro 50+ (MP50):
1st – James Jurden threw -8
2nd – Damon Clark threw -5

Mixed Amateur 1 (MA1):
1st – Matthew Vivirito threw -25
2nd – Brent Arsenault threw -22

Women’s Amateur 1 (FA1):
1st – Lisa Privitere threw -1
2nd – Samantha Hood threw +20

Mixed Amateur 50+ (MA50):
T-1st – Scott Rowbottom threw -9
T-1st – Jason Zahara threw -9

Mixed Amateur 60+ (MA60):
1st – Frank Pulley threw -17
2nd – Paul Boland threw -15

Mixed Amateur 70+ (MA70):
1st – Buz Ryalls-Clephane threw -25
2nd – John Miller threw -8

Mixed Amateur 2 (MA2):
1st – Kameron Wolf threw -19
T-2nd – Dustin McKee threw -16
T-2nd – Gary Johnson Jr. threw -16

Mixed Amateur 3 (MA3):
T-1st – Jake Abell threw -25
T-1st – Alex Lee threw -25

Mixed Amateur 4 (MA4):
1st – Jason Abell threw -19
2nd – Hector Caro threw -17

While Barnett was expecting a turnout of around 120 participants, inclement weather forced a few opt-outs. Despite this, Barnett estimates they had between 105 and 110 athletes show up for the holiday tournament. Even heavy rains could not put a damper on what the disc golf business owner feels is the true story that needs to be told. When the Quarry’s greens and fairways were first made available to the public in 1996, few might have guessed that it would still be open for business over 25 years later due to its disc golfing brethren.

“The biggest thing out here is that the disc golf has outlasted the golf course,” Barnett said. “I mean, the golf course went away probably ten years ago now. It’s been a long time, but we have been thriving ever since. We went from the little nine-hole course that was here, now we are 20 holes.”

While the prize purse for last weekend’s competition was a relatively modest $3000, many such events can dole out rewards between $50 and $100,000 or greater. According to Barnett, the turnout number of participants in nearby tournaments has also reached the 800 range, demonstrating just how truly popular the sport has become.

The tenth year that this competition is being held, it was unable to be played at its original location, so the tournament was relocated to the “Mini Canyon.” The nickname for the Hernando County-based course refers to the undulating topography that has made it such a popular destination among disc golfers. In the month of June alone, the course hosted 42 players that came from over 30 miles away, 16 players from over 150 miles away, and 12 players from over 300 miles away from the unique venue. This meant players from across nine different states made their way to the Quarry in just one month. For Matthew Vivirito, he has two reasons why he makes the trip up from Tampa to the small-town course.

“Out here, this place is just kind of special,” Vivirito said. “For me, I just like coming out here. It is different terrain. You get different kinds of shots. In terms of throw down the mountain, the property is different than what we get to see down south. Outside of disc golf, they got good food. So, it’s like an attraction for me as well.”

The course is also a labor of love for Barnett. He spends hours setting up ahead of time, demarcating tee boxes, among other preparations. The Sun King owner hopes with new leadership in the parks and recreation department, the course may finally be able to get the funding it needs for the Quarry to shine as what Barnett dubs “part of the treasure of Brooksville.”

Disc golf competitor, Saturday July 8, 2023 at the Quarry disc golf course in Brooksville. Photo by Austyn Szempruch.
The Quarry Disc Golf Course in Brooksville. Photo by Austyn Szempruch.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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