Oregon freshman beats out Jaguar for first title



NORTH AUGUSTA --- Strong winds combined with playing from the Hippodrome Disc Golf Course's difficult black tees led to a number of head-shaking and hat-slamming moments on Saturday.

Yet conditions that nearly claimed the sanity of some of the most experienced players did not fluster Oregon freshman Chris Becker.

The 19-year-old kept his cool and fired 5-under-par 54 in the final singles round to capture the individual title at the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship by two shots over Augusta State's Jason Lynn.

"The course was really difficult, especially from the black (tees)," Becker said. "The open-air holes were especially tough. I knew that I had to hit my spots."

Becker, a native of Eugene, Ore., entered the final round of singles play four shots back after shooting 49 from the par-54 blue tees in round three.

While other players around him were collapsing, Becker took a conservative approach to his shots. The result was a championship in his first major event.

"It feels great. To win a national title is kind of like a dream come true," said Becker, who wrapped up the tournament at 18-under (203).

Western Illinois' Scott Parik finished third, nine shots back.

While the individual champion hails from the other side of the country, the team championship might reside on the other side of the Savannah River.

Augusta State sits at 29-under and leads the team standings by 13 shots over Oregon and Western Illinois heading into today's final doubles round.

Powered by Lynn, Lee Jones, and Patrick May, all who received All-American honors for finishing in the top eight, the Jaguars find themselves in excellent position to win their first disc golf title.

May said Augusta State played it safe in singles play to avoid jeopardizing the team title, which means so much to the Jaguars because they're playing so close to home.

"It will be like Larry Mize winning the Masters if we pull it out," he said.