Day two of the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship, a PDGA Major, is when the tension really begins to mount. As the dream of becoming a national champion begins to become a reality, an overwhelming combination of pressure and passion daunts even the fiercest competitors. As the players began to trickle onto the course on Thursday morning, they were surprised by the unseasonably cool temperatures and fierce winds. The six courses at the Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex are known for having a tendency to be breezy, and with such a demand for deadly accuracy, a deft touch is required to manage your way through the course.
In the Men’s National Championship division, today marked the start of the singles competition. This is a huge portion of the tournament, as six of the 10 preliminary rounds scores are fed from the individual scores. Each of the four members of the team plays two singles rounds, keeping the best three scores from each round. Not only is the team relying on solid singles play, the top 10 competitors in the entire field will be named All-American disc golfers.
With 243 players in the field, separate pools are required to split the players up between the two courses, Old Glory Blue and Hogback, over two rounds. They will finalize the individual portion of the competition tomorrow after the second round is complete for all the players. There will be a final 13 holes for the top 28 competitors and we will see our first national champion crowned.
After the first day, a few names stood out above the rest. Last year’s champion Bryan Murphy #57183 of Ferris State jumped out of the gates hot, shooting a six under par 55 on the Old Glory Blue Course. Six different players managed to shoot four under par on the Hogback course in the morning, putting themselves in contention as well.
In the afternoon rounds, Bryson James #56345 of North Georgia came in with the hot round of the day on the Old Glory course, throwing a 54 on the difficult 20-hole track for a score of seven under. This was also the highest rated round thus far coming in at 1023, unofficially. Meanwhile, on the Hogback course, Trey Arnett #73376 posted a four under, just off the pace. With a gang of talented golfers nipping at their heels, tomorrow should be quite an exciting day.
The Women’s National Championships division completed the preliminary rounds of the doubles portion of the competition today and after four rounds, it’s still anyone’s game. The Lady Ducks of Oregon creeped ahead after a smoking hot round on the Moody Woods course this afternoon. Not a surprise considering the cool, rainy conditions of the second round that are so common in their neck of the woods. It must have made them feel a bit more comfortable and they posted the scores to prove it.
The women from California State Monterey Bay are one shot back, built on three solid rounds to start the event. Ferris State isn’t too far behind either, and with the entire singles portion of the event waiting in the wings tomorrow, it’s still way too close to predict who’ll come out on top.
In the First Flight division, the players began their doubles rounds on the newest addition to the Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex, the Shotmaker Course. This intriguing course was designed and created by none other than Augusta local and NCDGC creator Pete May #12700, a designer of dozens of courses and holder of multiple World Championship disc golf titles.
The course was developed to encourage players to learn certain types of shots that would ultimately improve their overall game. For instance, there are mandatories that force a roller or low shot. Some require an “S” turn to navigate towards the green, and others focus on the weight and speed of the shot, making it a true test of the total package.
After all the teams in the First Flight division had completed both the Shotmaker and Headrick Hills courses, Ferris State sits alone at the top in the lead by nearly 20 strokes. The Men’s Second Flight division has been playing in the same pool as the women this week, and after their final doubles rounds of the early stages of the event, guess what happened? That’s right! The Bulldogs of Ferris State are at the top, sitting 10 shots clear of their closest competitors in this division as well. These Michiganders can really play, and they came to make some noise at the 2015 NCDGC in all divisions.
Be sure to check back in tomorrow as the men and women in the National Championship division complete the singles competition. Each group will vie for a title, culminating with the pressure-packed final 13 holes. When the dust settles, we will have a new batch of All-Americans and two new individual champions.
Big thanks to all the competitors for making this so fun for all of the staff and volunteers. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
High-resolution photos from today’s action can be found on the PDGA Flickr page.
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