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2023 WLF Recap - Part 1: New Swarm Tour and Annual WLF Points Champions

January 10, 2024 8 min read 2 Comments

2023 WLF Recap - Part 1:  New Swarm Tour and Annual WLF Points Champions

2023 WLF Points Champion Sam "Scantron" Scannell celebrates his dramatic win at the San Diego Open

Amesbury, MA. January 10, 2024

[NOTEThis week, we are running a series of blogs to recap 2023.  Part 1 will recap the 2023 New Swarm Tour and honor the Annual Points Champions.  Part 2 will announce the 2023 Player of the Year that honors efforts throughout the year that grow the game of FlingGolf.]

As we turn the calendars to 2024, it is time to look back at the 2023 New Swarm Tour and honor our WLF Points Champions from 2023.   

Within the Women's Division, Krysta "Birdie of Prey" Smith was the 2023 WLF Points Champion with 3,000 points.  Within the Men's Division, Sam "Scantron" Scannell and Austin "Showtime" Ebersole were co-champions with 2,600 points each.  For the 2023 New Swarm Tour, the annual WLF Points Championship counted only the WLF Point totals from a player's top 3 events.

This is the second WLF Points Championship for Ebersole, who just edged out Ken "Kenzo" Pytluk for the championship last year.  In the Women's Division, Britt "Reggie Queen" Hammond finished second, after winning the season championship last year.  The 2023 WLF Points Champions collectively won 8 of the 10 events held across both divisions during the 2023 New Swarm Tour. 

A brief recap of each of the 2023 New Swarm Tour events:

2023 WLF Points Champion "Birdie of Prey" Krysta Smith at the San Diego Open

San Diego Open

The 2023 New Swarm Tour traveled to the west coast where the competitors unexpectedly had to brave the elements amid a rain-soaked weekend that was featured on ESPN.  Ultimately, Krysta Smith pulled away on the back nine and won her first WLF event within the Women's Division with a two stroke victory over Brooke "Show's Over" Ebersole, with Rosie "Mamacita" Flores finishing third, another two strokes back.  On the Men's side, after the 4-hole finals playoff and an extra "playoff" hole, Sam Scannell won by sinking a dramatic birdie putt to beat Jake "Island Hopper" Anderson by a stroke.  "Kenzo" Ken Pytluk finished two strokes back in third.  In the Teams Competition, Apex FC, featuring both Scannell and Ebersole, won their first "Team Bling" with a two stroke victory over Spartan FC (Mike "Maine Event" DeRusha and "SVL" Shawn Van Lancker).  Savage Fling Squad (Ryan "Soldier Boy" Stainbrook and "Public Enemy" Daniel Dillinger) finished three strokes back in third.  

Champions:

Men's Division: Sam Scannell

Women's Division: Krysta Smith

Teams: Apex FC (Scannell/Ebersole)

Watch the ESPN coverage of the San Diego Open

 

Mike "Maine Event" DeRusha and Britt "Reggie Queen" Hammond holding their trophies at the 2023 New Swarm Classic

New Swarm Classic

For the second year in a row the New Swarm Classic was held at the American Classic Golf Club in Lewes, DE, the site of the first national WLF tournament.  Filmed for TV by the DelMarVa Sports Network (DSN), the tournament continued a streak of exciting finishes.  In the Men's Division, Mike "Maine Event" DeRusha pulled off a dramatic come from behind win in the 9-hole finals by birdieing the 8th hole and beating Scannell by one stroke on the final hole.  Austin Ebersole came in third, four strokes back.    In the Women's Division, the "Reggie Queen" Britt Hammond won her 2nd WLF Tournament Championship on her home turf, beating out her sister, Brooke Ebersole, with a dramatic win on the 27th hole.  "SommerFling" Christina Sommerfield came in third, four strokes back.  In the Teams Competition, Apex FC won their second Team Event, pulling away from Vipers FC (Ken "Kenzo" Pytluk and Jake "Island Hopper Anderson) and Flyin' Birdies (Jamie "Flyin' Rhino" Braley and Krysta "Birdie of Prey" Smith) during the 9-hole finals, ultimately beating them by six and ten strokes, respectively.  

Champions:

Men's Division: Mike DeRusha

Women's Division: Britt Hammond

Teams: Apex FC (Scannell/Ebersole)

Watch the coverage of the New Swarm Classic on DSN

 

2023 Points Champion Austin "Showtime" Ebersole at the Colorado Open 

Colorado Open

The 2023 New Swarm Tour traveled back out west for the third stop, playing at the beautiful Boomerang Links in Greeley, CO.  In the Women's Division, Krysta Smith completely dominated during both the preliminary and final rounds, racking up 18 Reggies en route to an 18-stroke victory over Britt Hammond, while Rosie Flores finished in 3rd.  In the Men's Division there was an equally dominating performance where Austin Ebersole won his second title with a wire-to-wire win that saw him get Reggies on a record 26 out of 27 holes and win the competition by 14 strokes over Ken Pytluk.  Jake Anderson came in third, based on the Reggie tiebreaker.   In the Teams Competition, Apex FC continued to dominate, gliding to a 14 stroke victory over Vipers FC, with Spartan FC coming in third, another eight strokes back.  Scannell, completed the weekend by taking the LFC belt from Brooks "Big Country" Medford, besting him by three yards in LFC-3.

Champions:

Men's Division: Austin Ebersole

Women's Division: Krysta Smith

Teams: Apex FC (Scannell/Ebersole)

LFC-3: Sam Scannell

 

Teams Competition at the New England Open (L to R): Island Cat (Mike "Big Cat" Edwards & Jake "Island Hopper" Anderson), Fury Fling Squad (Adam "Podfather" Copeland and "Lucky Jack" Bovich) and Apex FC (Sam "Scantron" Scannell and Austin "Showtime" Ebersole)

New England Open

The WLF came home for the fourth stop on the 2023 New Swarm Tour, playing its first tournament near its headquarters in Amesbury, MA.  In the Men's Division, Sam Scannell built up a solid lead in the preliminary round, and never looked back, cruising to a five stroke win over Austin Ebersole.  Jake Anderson came in third for another Top-5 finish.  Scannell's win, along with a second place finish at the New Swarm Classic, ensured that he would at least have a share of the Men's Point Championship.  Meanwhile, Krysta Smith was also able to utilize her league-leading distance throws en route to a 5-stroke victory over Britt Hammond, with Brooke Ebersole finishing in third.  Smith's third tournament championship in 2023 locked up the Women's 2023 Season Points Championship with one tournament to go.  For the first time, FlingGolfers competed in a separate Senior's Division at the New England Open.   After a tight front nine, Jonathan "Octajon" Bellingham ran away with things on the back nine and defeated Lee "Elderlee" Waples by eleven strokes.  In the Teams Competition, the teams had to deal with Hurricane Lee which created challenging conditions for the players.   Apex FC continued their dominance and won their fourth Team Event in a row, with a nine stroke victory over "Island Cat" (Mike "Big Cat" Edwards & Jake "Island Hopper" Anderson), with Flyin' Birdies another four strokes back.    

Champions:

Men's Division: Sam Scannell

Women's Division: Krysta Smith

Seniors Division: Jonathan Bellingham

Teams: Apex FC (Scannell/Ebersole)

 

 

Award winners from the Individual Tournament at the Virginia FlingGolf Open

Virginia FlingGolf Open

The 2023 tour finished up in Virginia for the second year in a row, utilizing both courses at the Massanutten Resort.  Although the Women's 2023 WLF Points Championship was already decided, Krysta Smith capped an unbelievable season with her fourth tournament championship in 2023.  Although it was tied heading into the 6th hole of the 9 hole finals, Smith pulled away with consecutive Reggies on the last four holes to beat Rosie "Mamacita" Flores by seven strokes, with "SommerFling" Christina Sommerfield another stroke back in third.  In the Men's Division, only "Showtime" Austin Ebersole had a chance to tie Scantron for the Season Title but he would need a victory in the final event, regardless of how Scannell finished.  There were several lead changes between the two of them throughout the day, but after 26 holes, the two were dead even heading into the last hole.  After an unbelievably long throw landed Scantron in a fairway bunker, Showtime was able to secure the Reggie and the tournament with a timely Reggie-Par.   Brooks "Big Country" Medford finished in third.  With both Showtime and Scantron each having two victories and a second place finish in 2023, they were tied at the top of the standings and are both crowned 2023 WLF Points Champions.  In the Senior's Division, Octajon made it two in a row with a seven stroke victory over Tab "Holeshot" Thompson, with Jeff "Waterman" Sommerfield three strokes further back in third.  In the Teams Competition, Apex FC fell just short of a 2023 Teams Sweep, falling to Brian "Doc" Sanders and Tab Thompson.  Playing for the first time as "Big Air", Sanders and Thompson got out to a hot start and never looked back, beating Apex by three strokes, with Big Country and "Lucky Jack" Bovich of Fury Fling Squad coming in third, another three strokes back.  

Champions:

Men's Division: Austin Ebersole

Women's Division: Krysta Smith

Seniors Division: Jonathan Bellingham

Teams: Big Air (Sanders/Thompson)

 

By any measurement, the 2023 New Swarm Tour was a unparalleled success for such a young sports league.  WLF Commissioner John Pruellage commented on the season: "We were ambitious to grow the New Swarm Tour from two stops to five and we were rewarded with an unprecedented level of play, a legion of new competitors and a core player base that went to extraordinary efforts to travel to these events."  Continued Pruellage, "Almost half of our individual tournaments came down to the final hole and we had five different champions.  We've developed a compelling tournament format and laid the foundation for future FlingGolf Team competitions.  Our future is very bright and I can't wait for the 2024 Tour."

Final Standings for the Top 10 Men and Top 5 Women are listed below.  For full standings click here:  Men's   Women's

 

MEN'S DIVISION - 2023 TOP 10
PLAYER POINTS
Sam Scannell "Scantron" 2600
Austin Ebersole "Showtime" 2600
Jake Anderson "Island Hopper" 1500
Mike DeRusha "Maine Event" 1450
Ken Pytluk "Kenzo" 1300
Brooks Meford "Big Country" 600
Zac Mulvey "The Mountaineer" 550
Jack Bovich "Lucky Jack" 393
James Braley "Flyin' Rhino" 375
Titus Harter "Par-T" 340
Neil Little "Tinman" 340

 

 

 WOMEN'S DIVISION - 2023 TOP 5
PLAYER POINTS
Krysta Smith "Birdie of Prey" 3000
Britt Hammond "Reggie Queen" 2200
Brooke Ebersole "Show's Over" 1650
Rosie Flores "Mamacita" 1500
Christina Sommerfield "SommerFling" 1050

 

Sam, Austin and Krysta will each be added to the list of past champions.  In 2022, Austin Ebersole narrowly edged out Ken Pytluk in the standings while Britt Morrison, with her win at the 2022 Virginia FlingGolf Open, was the Women's WLF Points Champion.  Their names, as indicated below, will be engraved on a perpetual trophy that will be formally presented to the 2022 and 2023 WLF Points Champions at a future tournament in 2024.

 

WLF POINTS CHAMPIONS

MEN'S DIVISION WOMEN'S DIVISION
2022 - Austin Ebersole 2022 - Britt Morrison
2023 - Austin Ebersole, Sam Scannell 2023 - Krysta Smith

 

Please stay tuned for Part 2: 2023 Player of the Year, where we will honor an individual for their contributions to the sport of FlingGolf in 2023.

For more information, visit World League FlingGolf's home page.

For information on the 2024 WLF Tour, click here.

To be notified of all World League FlingGolf updates, including registration openings for each event, please join our mailing list

About World League FlingGolf

World League FlingGolf is the official governing body of FlingGolf®, establishing rules, certifying professionals and courses, and promoting events and leagues of all skill levels. Our mission is to make FlingGolf the most widely played sport on golf courses across the globe.

About New Swarm 

New Swarm created and promotes the alt-golf sport FlingGolf and designed and sells the patented FlingStick. FlingGolf is an action sport for golf courses that combines athleticism, strength and touch, using just one stick to hurl a golf ball and shape every shot from tee to hole. It appeals to a younger, athletic and active player and since its inception, thousands of players are energizing over 2,000 golf courses in more than 35 countries across the globe. New Swarm promotes FlingGolf to players looking for a fun and athletic way to enjoy a golf course, and for golf courses to gain significant incremental revenue by filling empty tee times with new players.

 

2 Responses

Sonny Walton
Sonny Walton

January 11, 2024

Wow! Loved reading the year-end wrap up. Exciting stuff. Hoping to be able to join in the fun this year.

Bob Blackman
Bob Blackman

January 10, 2024

Excellent review and congratulations to all the players.

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