North Augusta, SC – The third annual Collegiate Disc Golf Championships proved that the sport is alive and growing in the college ranks. While the first Championships hosted six teams, and the second twelve, this year's events showed seventeen teams committing to battle for the title of National Collegiate Champion.
The home course for the Championships was the Hippodrome, one of four courses used in the 2006 Professional World Championships. Perched on a hilltop overlooking downtown Augusta Georgia, the course is constantly evolving thanks to a dedicated full time grounds crew. The well manicured fairways and interesting land obstacles are a testament to their commitment. In its current version, the course features three tees and and lots of USDGC style yellow rope.
For the first time this year, the tournament began on Thursday with a qualifying round. This was due to a high interest from many schools. Seven schools were expected for the qualifying round, three of which played in the qualifier for four available spots. This tradition of a qualifier will continue as a way for colleges who have not earned a invitation to play in the Championships.
Hole #15 at the Hippodrome - Treasure Island
Friday was the true start of the tournament and featured an ominous wind that can often affect elevated courses. While playing the easiest of the three tees with no OBs, Zac Simpson of Alabama had a 9 under 51. Four other players earned an 8 down 52: Erik Bailey (Arkansas), Drew Davis (Miss State), Ryan Black (Arkansas), and William Scott (Arkansas).
The second round on Saturday featured the medium length Blue Tees with the OB in play. Tyler Harbin from the University of Alabama-Huntsville shot a 5 under 55 to take the field. Following closely on his heels was Logan Grasseth from the University of Oregon with a 4 under 56. Three players managed a three down 57: William Scott (Arkansas), Taylor Kahn (Georgia College), and Robert Stroup (Miss State.)
The singles competition continued on Saturday with the team captains voting to include the OB ropes on the red course. With less wind, the scores were surprisingly lower. William Scott from the University of Arkansas shot a smoking 12 down 48. Scott was followed by Ryan Freibert from the University of Kentucky with an 11 down 49 and Erik Bailey of the University of Arkansas with a 10 down 50.
Saturday afternoon featured the longest, toughest layout of the Hippodrome. One round of singles from the black tees truly separated the players. When the dust cleared, it was Drew Davis from Mississippi State University at the top of the leader board. With the singles competition completed, Drew was named the Collegiate Medal Champion. The top six earned a place on the 1st All-American Team, the next six earned 2nd All-American Honors. Full individual singles results can be found here.
2009 Collegiate Medal (Singles) Champion Drew Davis of Mississippi State University
On Sunday, the final day of competition, two full four man teams played each other in a round of alternate shot doubles. The top score from the team pair for each hole was counted towards their total. Augusta State shot the best team score with an eight down 60. The top pair was from the University of Alabama. Alex Butler and Drew Patton shot a solid 5 down 63 to earn the title of Doubles Champions.
A putting competition followed the doubles competition. Developed as an event to be crowd friendly, the vision of the competition is for it to take place in a stadium. Seven stations were placed in front of a basket and each team had ten putters to traverse the course. They were rewarded with a plus/minus score based on how far away they were able to putt. The University of Arkansas shot a great 5 down to win the stage. Combined with their total team score, they were able to secure second place overall.
Combining the total scores of the tournament, the team from Mississippi State University captured the title of 2009 Collegiate Team Championships. Elevated by outstanding play of singles Champion Drew Davis, the team represented the ideals of teamwork, dedication and concentration to win the championship.
Congratulations to all the teams who made the journey. We look forward to a bigger and better 2010 championship. Stay tuned to ncdgu.com for more on qualifying standards and how to get your team involved!
Final team standings can be found here.
The National Collegiate Disc Golf Union was founded in 2004 to foster and encourage the sport of disc golf amongst college players. Since it's inception, the NCDGU has committed to hosting a National Championship of the highest caliber. Through the involvement of area schools and a national board of directors, the NCDGU has sought to organize qualification standards for the tournament and other information regarding disc golf at the college level. 2009 looks to be a year of deep growth, so check out ncdgu.com for more information on how to get involved.