The sixth annual National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships will be played today through Sunday at the Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex in North Augusta. The field is at its largest ever, and the nation’s top-ranked teams are competing for the title.
Coinciding with the event, the Savannah River Spring Fling will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Hippodrome.
The Spring Fling will feature local food vendors, live performances by Rhythm and Class Dance Studio and games and activities for children and adults.
Cost is $10 per person, $20 for vehicles with up to six people, or $50 for vehicles with seven people or more. Spring Fling admission includes admission to both events.
Among returning teams in the disc golf championship are Oregon, the defending champions, and Purdue, the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
Georgia is making the short drive in an attempt for a third title, and Mississippi State is back for its second title. South Carolina and Georgia Tech are also competing.
Augusta State, the 2010 national champions, is looking to defend its home turf. The Jaguars are returning three members from their title-winning team.
However, despite having the heavyweights of disc golf in the field for the tournament, Alan Kane, the general manager of the Professional Disc Golf Association and events manager for the tournament, said the field is perhaps more balanced than it has been.
“What we don’t know is who the favorite is,” Kane said. “Disc golf has grown so much, and there’s so much parity. The last five years, we knew who the favorites were, but this year that’s not the case.”
Kane said Purdue and South Alabama are entering the championship with momentum, having won its qualifiers by more than 20 strokes. But he said any of the top 12 teams has a good chance to take home the title, and any of the top 20 teams if they play their best.
Play opens at noon today in rivalry day, as teams are pitted against their rivals in team doubles format at the Headrick Hills course. Friday is individual medal day played between Headrick Hills and Moody Woods courses. Saturday is also singles medal day, but the courses change to Pine Valley Hogback and Old Glory courses. One round will be played on each course each day between Friday and Saturday.
The top 20 teams make the cut for Sunday’s final round, a team doubles format played on the Old Glory course.
“The pressure on them is tough,” Kane said. “They know they’re playing on some of the top courses in the country, and the course conditions always make for a challenging environment.”
Kane said the course’s location on top of the Schultz Hill in North Augusta makes for blustery conditions for much of the tournament.
Volunteers are needed to assist as tournament spotters today, Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (706) 722-8326.