As the PDGA volunteer heading the Tiffin operation, making sure the necessary information gets to tournament headquarters in Marion, Mike Barnett said the rounds of this week's world amateur disc golf championships conducted at Hedges-Boyer Park have gone rather smoothly.
Many of the issues have dealt with out-of-bounds shots, he said.
"We have had a couple hiccups," Barnett said Thursday during the third of four days of singles competition at six courses. "When you're dealing with amateurs, they're not always the best with knowing all the rules. Although they travel a big distance a lot of times, they end up learning some lessons, if you will, by learning the hard way.
"It's very common with the ams. Outside of that, we've had gorgeous weather, it's been well-received by the communities in which it's taken place. It's hard to beat 500 people coming to town for a big event."
Tournaments like the world amateur championships also help Barnett to drum up a little business for Sun King Disc Sports, the Sarasota, Fla., company he established in 2001 after moving from Chicago.
A year earlier Barnett, now 38 years old, had been working for a sporting goods and collectibles distribution center in the Windy City when a friend asked about supplying his business.
"He was having problems getting a supply of golf discs for his store," Barnett said. "I had heard of it, but I'd never played it or anything. Started looking into it, and after a couple months I started playing, and next thing you know ...
"I realized it was something I enjoyed. I didn't think I could make a living at it, to be honest. It was a hobby. As time went on, I realized there was a bigger and bigger demand."
Essentially, Barnett said, he fell in love with the game. When the time came for him and his wife to move to Florida - he was tired of shoveling snow, he said - he decided to start Sun King.
"It just kind of was a natural thing," he said. "We already had a distribution system in place, and took it from there.
"I started with a box of 50 discs, and now we inventory over 5,000 discs and are one of the more recognized names in the industry. We carry just about everything there is to have. Some of the local shops can get away with a smaller selection. We do a lot of online sales, a lot of traveling and tournaments, so people have a little bit higher expectation of selection."
Some of his travel sales come from locals who happen upon the tournament while it's in town. There's also the tournament players who might be looking to re-fill their bag.
"If there's a strong recreational base - a lot of casual players that don't really play organized events, they just play to have fun - we'll get a lot of those that filter in," Barnett said. "A lot of them have never seen that type of selection.
"Even if there's no water on a course, you can still lose some - in a tree or bush and you can't see it. They're not super-expensive, but you do have to replace them from time to time. It's like a golf ball, that you hit into the water; eventually you have to replace it."
FUN TRIP TO THE STATES: At times in his earlier rounds this week, Daichi Inoue apparently let some jitters get to him. The 13-year-old from Japan came in with the third-highest rating of any player in the tournament (982 - the two higher ratings top 1,000), but was making his first trip to the United States to play.
"He was too nervous, because he does not know English and he did not communicate with other players," said his father, Yasuhito, who translated questions to Daichi. "Now, his play is getting better."
Thursday he threw a 6-under-par 52 from the back tees at Hedges-Boyer Park. The round included an impressive 2 on the downhill, into-the-woods No. 6, when he threaded his drive through and around trees before hitting a 15-foot putt. With one round to play this morning at Hedges-Boyer before Saturday's semifinals he is at -12, six strokes behind Triston Covington (Ariz.) for the top spot in the age 13-under junior division.
Inoue's desire to travel to United States was fueled in part by his ability to unleash straight tee shots with some distance.
"In Japan a course is narrow and short," his father said. "He wanted to play long-distance courses.
When he throws long-distance, he feels more comfortable."
LEADERBOARD: North Carolina's David Wiggins padded his lead in the advanced division Thursday, carding a 9-under 51 at Marion's Sawyer-Ludwig Park and a 10-under 57 at Upper Sandusky's Reservoir Park. The 15-year-old, last year's advanced runner-up and a multi-time world champion in other divisions, is at -44 through five runs. David Nelson (Ill.) remained in second place at -31 after playing three strokes behind Wiggins in both rounds. Trey Williams (N.C.) and Columbus' Aaron Trimmer are tied for third at -25.
Bill Cary (Minneapolis) is at -23 to top the advanced masters division, one better than Larry Cooper (Texas). The advanced grandmasters division has Ray Missey (Va.) at -31, two strokes better than a second-place trio, and Ron Engebretson (Texas) is at -4 to lead the advanced senior grandmasters by a couple strokes.
In women's play, Indiana's Rebecca Frazier (+6) continues to lead her mother, Sandra, by eight strokes with two rounds to play. Besides Covington, other junior leaders include Medina's Richard Wysocki by 10 strokes (-30) in the 19-under division and Finland's Seppo Paju (-25) by a stroke over North Carolina's Andrew Coggin in the 16-under division.