Bulldogs win tournament by seven strokes

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NORTH AUGUSTA — The trend of Bulldogs winning the Collegiate Disc Golf Championship continued Sunday at the Hippodrome. This time it was Mississippi State, not Georgia who had won the previous two national titles, who took home the top prize.

The Bulldogs shot 6-under-par, 62 to win the team national championship by seven strokes over Arkansas.

With the win, Mississippi State secured the first athletic national crown of any kind in school history.

“All we talked about in the hotel Saturday was being the first athletic team to win a championship at Mississippi State,” said Kenneth Gustine. “The only other thing we’ve won is some sort of meat-judging competition.”

The day after Bulldogs junior Drew Davis won the individual title, his team did not drop a single hole during the alternate shot doubles format paired with Alabama-Huntsville, who finished third. Coming into the round, the teams were separated by only one stroke. The Chargers would end the tournament eight back.

Mississippi State cruised nearly error-free through the back-half of the 20-hole course, making the putting competition at the end of the tournament – where as much as a 10-shot swing is possible – merely a formality.

“We jumped ahead early, got up by a couple of strokes and just kept riding the wave,” Davis said.

This marks the third consecutive year that the individual champion has gone on to lead his team to the team title. Georgia’s Spencer Smith and Nick Evans accomplished that in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Georgia finished eighth this year.

Mississippi State credited the added length of the Black Course, which was used for the final individual round as well, for helping them climb atop the leaderboard. Despite being rookies in the championship, the Bulldogs’ foursome of Davis, Gustine, Daniel Philley and Robert Stroup have roughly 22 combined years of disc golf experience. That experience helped them to 19-under-par over the final two rounds to put the tournament away.

“You’ve got to be a lot more consistent from the longer tees,” said Philley. “It’s not just about being able to throw it up and get a birdie. You’ve got to play smart.”

Augusta State, in its first championship as well, finished at 9-under to end the tournament at even par and in fourth. Clemson ended up in fifth at four-over and South Carolina struggled throughout the weekend, finishing 79-over and in 14th.

Reach Joey Jones at (706) 724-0851

or joey.jones@augustachronicle.com.


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