Johnson takes cup on final Disc Golf hole |

Johnson takes cup on final Disc Golf hole

After 54 holes of disc golf, spread out across two courses and two days, the Norcal Series Championship tournament came down to a pair of Grass Valley residents battling it out for first.

Ray Johnson, a Grass Valley painter, had built a two-stroke lead over defending champ Jere Eshelman going into Sunday’s final round, but a rough start by both put the championship up for grabs.

“Jere and I battled the whole last round,” Johnson said. “We both started a little rocky, and then he got some birdies, and I wasn’t really doing anything. We were tied for the final 3/4 of the round, and it came down to the last hole and the last putt.”

It was a putt that Johnson sank.

Johnson, a pro since 1996, claimed the tournament with a nine-under-par 153, edging Eshelman by one stroke.

“Ray and I battle a lot, and there will definitely be more,” Eshelman said. “The whole group was having trouble today. It could have been anybody’s game.”

With the win, Johnson claims $1,235 in prize money, and Eshelmen takes home $825 for second place.

Johnson credited a strong start to the tourney and his ability to handle pressure for how he was able to capture the title.

“In the first round, I didn’t miss a putt and got a big lead early, and that’s really what did it,” Johnson said.

As for the pressure?

“I think I handle it,” he said. “If you’re not feeling the pressure, then you don’t really care.”

With the first-place finish Johnson also claimed second place in the Norcal Series Championship points race. Eshelman took third in the points race.

Gregg Barsby of Grass Valley took third in the tournament, finishing two strokes back of Johnson, and Jim Oates was fourth with a six-under-par 156.

This was the first time the Norcal Series Champinoship played its end-of-the-season tournament in Nevada County, playing rounds at Western Gateway Park and at Condon Park. The tournament featured about 190 participants.

To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford, call (530) 477-4232 or email

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