NORTH AUGUSTA — Even the trees were on Brett Wishon’s side.
When the disc golfer from Kennesaw State skipped a drive into a tree on No. 12, the sixth hole in the final round of singles play, the disc rolled down and settled for a clear approach and putt for par.
Wishon’s conservative game plan earned him the title of men’s singles national champion. On the Old Glory course at the Hippodrome Disc Golf Club, players just can’t take chances, he said.
“Especially on this course it’s hard to just go at (the basket),” Wishon said. “If you go for it you’ll end up pretty far past it. Today I decided to play conservative and it worked out.”
Wishon trailed Tennessee Tech’s Michael Hoffman by two shots entering the final round, but found himself locked in a battle late into the round with Mike Sale, of UC Santa Barbara.
Sale was tied with Wishon as they stepped up to the No. 18 tee box, which was the 13th and final hole in the men’s singles championship. But when Sale released his drive, the disc sailed on the wrong side of a mandatory obstacle, forcing him to lose a stroke and rethrow.
“I don’t even know how that happened,” said Sale on his costly throw. “I’m shocked that I did that. It’s going to stick with me for a long time.”
Illinois State’s Colleen Thompson took the women’s crown Saturday in her National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships debut.
“It’s freaking incredible,” Thompson said. “Just coming down here and conquering my mental game is what I wanted to do, and I’m so glad to walk away with the title.”
Thompson attributed the win to her knowledge of the game.
“I did have a lot of confidence coming into this tournament because I have a lot of prior experience,” she said. “I came out with the confidence that I wanted to win it and did.”
With the singles competition in the books, teams are beginning to shift their focus on today’s final round of doubles play.
Tennessee Tech now leads the field at 52-under 500, one shot ahead of 2012 national champion Colorado State.
After holding the lead through most of the tournament, Alabama-Huntsville has slipped to third place overall at 49-under 503.
After finishing Day 2 in sixth place, Georgia Regents University has dropped one spot to seventh. Despite a solid performance from team captain Walton Satcher, USC Aiken dropped a spot to 33rd overall entering the final day.