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Ferris State Bulldogs Nearly Sweep NCDGC, Lady Otters Threepeat

If you’ve been following the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships (NCDGC) over the last few days, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that we (tournament staff) were all elated to have finally made it to the Team Championship Finals on Saturday. Running the NCDGC is an exhausting process matched by no other event in the sport. With only one round of team doubles remaining for the Championship Flight, First Flight, and Second Flight, the morning and afternoon felt like a vacation compared to the days prior.

By the time the finals rolled around, the California State University-Monterey Bay (CSUMB) Lady Otters had already sealed up their third straight Team Championship after the only eligible competing team (Oregon) was forced to withdraw due to injury. That being said, all eyes were on the Championship Flight team finals, where the Ferris State University Bulldogs had been on a week-long quest to take home their second NCDGC Team Championship, with the first being just two years ago in 2015.

Led by team captain Sam Mrdeza, who also competed on their winning Championship Flight team in 2015, Ferris State played the role of one of the teams to watch right out of the gates. Sam was joined by Andrew Martin, Ryan Brophy, and Brenden Tetloff to form a lethal combination. As individual competitors, three of the four qualified for the individual finals, where only 29 made the cut out of 171.

This aspect of having a good team is particularly important, especially this year, as 2017 was the first time that both individual round scores for all four teammates were counted towards the overall team score. In years past, the lowest individual score from each of the two courses was dropped, meaning only six individual round scores were counted towards the overall team score instead of eight.

After eight individual and four team doubles rounds were summed into aggregate overall team scores on Friday night, the Bulldogs had emerged as the leaders, five ahead of their closest competition, North Carolina-Charlotte. With the 20-hole layout of Old Glory to be played from the most difficult tees (black) for the final round, a cushion of five strokes was nowhere near what would be considered a “comfortable lead”.


The red shows scores from all four rounds of team doubles. The blue boxes show the combined individual round scores for Player 1 and 2 (Rd5) & Player 3 and 4 (Rd6). Click to view larger version.

The Bulldogs began the round with a bang, carding an extremely impressive birdie on the 530’ hole 1 with a drive into a strong headwind that was left hole-high, followed by a fearless 40-foot putt that slammed the chains of the elevated basket. NC-Charlotte followed with an impressive putt of their own, but having not had the monstrous drive needed to match the Bulldogs off the tee, theirs was for three, not two.

Hole 1 from the final round. Ferris State gets a birdie two.

NC-Charlotte and Ferris State spent a majority of the round teeter-tottering. For every hole that Ferris State gained a stroke, there was another where NC-Charlotte would gain one right back. In fact, there were only six holes out of the 20 where both Ferris State and NC-Charlotte finished the hole with the same score.

What this meant as we headed into the last quarter of the course, holes 16-20, was that after ¾ of the course was complete, NC-Charlotte still trailed by as many strokes as when the round began, and they’d need to gain an average of one stroke on each of the next five holes to force a playoff.

In best shot doubles, that’s simply not going to happen. Even if half of the team was going for high-risk shots, the other one can always play safe. Ferris State wisely did exactly that, laying up for drop-in par putts when needed, and avoiding OB penalties, tapping in on hole 20 for the win surrounded by their First Flight and Second Flight teammates and coaches.

With their win this weekend, Ferris State has now won two out of the last three National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships. Congratulations to the Ferris State Bulldogs and to all the teams that made the trek to North Augusta, South Carolina for the 2017 NCDGC. We hope to see you all next year!

View all 2017 Results »

Holes 16-20 of the 2017 NCDGC Team Doubles Final Round.

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