Championship-caliber disc golf returns to North Augusta today as the best teams in collegiate disc golf compete at the Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex for the eighth consecutive year.
The National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships, which have been hosted in North Augusta since its inception in 2007, will field 95 teams in its largest event yet.
With the desire to grow the tournament, NCDGC General Manager Alan Kane said organizers began to look at how they could increase the size of the field. After maxing out the tournament bracket in 2012 and 2013, he said it was time to reorganize.
“We tweaked the format this year to include 100 teams and we immediately grew another 50 percent,” he said.
In the early years of the tournament, any team capable of making the trip to North Augusta automatically earned a spot in the championship, Kane said.
However, with the growth of the sport over the last eight years, and with an explosion of teams vying for the opportunity to claim the collegiate disc golf title as theirs, teams now earn their way to the event by competing in any one of 17 qualifying events around the country.
This year, 60 schools will be competing for the men’s team championship, which was won by Tennessee Technological University against Colorado State University last year.
The Mississippi State University women’s team is one of eight teams competing for the women’s crown. The Bulldogs won the event in 2012 and 2013. Roughly 15 percent of the teams competing in this year’s tournament will be representing schools west of Colorado.
Georgia Regents University will return most of its team that finished sixth in the 2013 tournament, including four-time All-American Jason Lynn, who is competing for the sixth and final time.
“I expect to win,” said Lynn, who won an individual national championship in 2011. “I think we have a good enough team to win and it definitely helps that it’s our home course. I don’t think that gives us a huge edge because at the end of the day you’ve got to make the putts.”
After making their collegiate disc golf debut at last year’s tournament, University of South Carolina Aiken looks to make the most of its second opportunity. Walton Satcher, team captain and 2013 second team All-American, said the tournament is one he looks forward to all year.
“It makes it more fun when you’re playing for other people,” he said. “We got in and we’re hoping to take full advantage of it.”