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The National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships, a PDGA Major, is truly an event like no other. Not only is it a team event, which we don’t see too many of throughout the year, but it is an astounding display of emotion and pride. Watching College Disc Golf is best compared to watching the NCAA basketball tournament; you might enjoy seeing the pros, but nowhere else will you see a better demonstration of teamwork, camaraderie, passion, talent and intelligence. These kids have worked hard to put themselves in the position to win a National Championship, but you would never know something that prestigious was on the line the way they cheer each other on and enjoy every minute of it. Today started a highlight of not only their disc golf career, but for some, their entire college experience.

Opening Ceremonies started this morning under cloudy skies. One by one, each team strode out of the tunnel to the sounds of their school fight song, waving their flags and proudly presenting their school colors. This is what makes the event interesting; as a spectator, it is easy to root for your alma mater or hometown favorite, building an instant association to your team. The last two teams to enter the field of play this morning were last year’s returning Women’s National Champions, Humboldt State University and the 2014 Men’s National Champions, hometown favorites Georgia Regents- Augusta. They stared into a sea of nearly 100 other teams and over 400 players. Go time.

In the Championship Flight, 35 teams were placed onto two courses for their first round of team doubles. This format was created at the NCDGC, and is a simultaneous version of best and alternating shot doubles (for a further explanation, see our previous article from the event). At the end of the day, all teams had completed both of the demanding tracks at the east side of the Hippodrome, giving us a clearer picture of the top teams in the event.

Liberty came out of the gates hot, shooting a 45 for a fifteen under par on the Hogback course. They followed it up with a less-than-desirable 62 on the Old Glory Black course, the most difficult of the six courses on the entire complex. The Black Course is the “widow maker”, so to speak. With so much out of bounds and tricky greens providing mind-numbing putting situations, it can often crack even the best of teams. Nevada-Reno seemed to have no trouble with it, however, as they cruised through with a 52, leaving them on top of the pack by a cool three throws at the end of day one.

In the Women’s division, the NCDGC does things a little differently. College Disc Golf allows women to participate in the individual portion of the National Championships without the school fielding a full women's team. We do this to try to encourage growth and participation in the women's field. During the Team Doubles format of the event, the individual women are given the opportunity to play the Team Doubles formats with other individual participants. That way there is more golf to play than just on the singles day. Today, three full teams and three mixed teams hit the links. The hunt for the National Championship couldn’t get much closer, as one stroke now separates all three teams in contention. This promises to be one heck of a battle.

The First Flight began their singles competition today, with the best three scores from the team contributing to the overall score in the competition. Hobie Hein #74385 from Indian Hills Community College stands above the rest after two rounds, posting a total of 110, just one throw ahead of two other competitors. Tomorrow they will begin the doubles portion of the competition on the two newest additions to the Hippodrome, the Shotmaker course and Headrick Hills. In the Second Flight, Ferris State holds a three throw margin over California State Monterey Bay, who brought a total of 16 teammates (a male team for each flight and a full women’s team).

With 112 holes and over 400 players in the competition, there is bound to be an ace or two, and today did not disappoint. In the first round, Georgia Regents captain John Baker #54600 aced hole 6 on the Old Glory Black course. A triple mando off the tee, the fairway narrows through the woods to a basket that is literally buried in the ground. Baker slid it right in! In the second round on the Hogback course, Sean Gorman #59079 of Clemson made a bold prediction before stepping up to the first tee. His plan to throw a “smooth midrange just in the basket” turned out just as he designed, ringing the bell on the left-to-right 280 foot hole. Stay tuned as there is bound to be much more excitement ahead.

With so many different formats utilized throughout the week, and so many teams in the event, it is impossible to predict who will come out on top this early in the competition. We can hardly wait to see the scores as they come rolling in over the next three days. Check back in each night to see who will rise above the rest to become the 2015 National Collegiate Champions!

Make sure to follow the #NCDGC action on Twitter and Facebook. High-resolution photos from each day can be found on the PDGA Flickr page

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