The Northwest Collegiate Invitational, held at beautiful Milo McIver State park, home of the Beaver State Fling, is the cornerstone event of the Oregon Collegiate Disc Golf League schedule and serves as the only National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships qualifying event in the Northwest. The event saw league regulars University of Oregon, Portland State University and Portland Community College along with a couple of teams from the West Coast Collegiate Open, the University of Nevada-Reno and Humboldt State University. Oregon and Humboldt already qualified for nationals meaning the the other three teams would automatically secure their spot in t
Milo McIver courtesy : Jessica Boone
he 2017 NCDGC. The format followed standard OCDGL procedure and the previous NCDGC format in which a four man team uses their top three scores for each of two singles rounds which is added to the teams score in the team doubles portion of the tournament. The singles rounds would be held on the East and West BSF layouts at Milo while the team doubles portion would be played on a 24 hole, par-91 safari layout.
The Ducks would come into the event as the favorite, having only dropped one match on the season to the Vikings at Champoeg earlier in the year, but the big arms of the Vikings were poised to make a run at taking the title for the first time in school history. While the Ducks were able to form a complete roster, they knew they would not be at full strength with a finger injury forcing Chase Pruitt to throw without his index finger. Portland State would also be without top five finisher from the 2016 NCI in Joe Wright.
While the forecast for the weekend was ominous, the players were blessed with clear skies and low winds for most of the event. The difficult Milo McIver property hosts two of the country’s most premier courses, each with their own unique challenges. The players started on the par 61 East course which presents a tough combination of precision and distance mixed with par 4’s, island greens, and out of bounds. League leader Nathan Ryan, UO, posted the hot round of the first round with a 57 (-4) which was closely followed by the 58 (-3) of Justin Anderson, PCC. Zane Masslich, HSU, shot the only other under-par round with a 60 (-1). Thanks to a solid 63 (+2) from the very ill and vomiting Mason Caldwell, the Ducks held the early advantage with a team score of 187.
Team Standings after Round 1:
Portland State- 193
Portland Community College- 202
The second and final round of the singles portion was played on the longer and windier par 62 West course. The three leaders of the first round were joined by Chris Nelson of PSU on the lead card, all looking to become the 2017 NCI individual champion. Anderson came out blazing going four down through the first six holes, including a drop in eagle on the 850 foot hole six (Philo albatross hole). The other competitors failed to find early success, especially Ryan who carded a bogey four on the 150 foot hole four and followed it with another bogey on the following hole throwing him in an early deficit. Ryan would rebound and birdie four of the next five drawing him back to within one of Anderson. This is when the fatigue of the competitors and the toughness of the course came into effect with players struggling to find success. The rest of the round was a rollercoaster of mental mistakes and great birdies for the competitors. Although Ryan was able to close with birdies on three of the final 5 holes, 6 bogeys were too much to overcome and Anderson was able to secure the championship with another impressive 58 (-4). Solid performances by Brody Cannon and Warren Hollinshead, and score drops from injured Pruitt and sick Caldwell propelled the Vikings to a lead going into Sunday and the team doubles portion of the tournament.
On the women’s side, Mandy Gunkel, PSU, used her impressive distance and solid short game to walk away with an easy victory and 5th career PDGA win.
Team Standings after Round 2:
Portland State- 383
Portland Community College- 403
Final Round Lead Card (pc: Brody Cannon)
The NCI was all set to see another epic finish to the tournament but, before the finals started, Caldwell deemed himself too sick to play the round. The Ducks were planning to bring the top finisher from their B team to the A roster but it was brought to attention of tournament staff by Cannon of PSU that, according to the tournament flyer, Oregon could not move a player up from the B team to the A team. After some heated debate it was ruled that Oregon would not be allowed to bring a player in from B team so the Ducks would turn to their top female player in Reily Warren to fill the spot.
The round on the incredibly challenging par-91 layout would decide the 2017 NCI champion. Both teams got off to decent starts trading birdies and bogeys through the first several holes. After the first ten holes, the Ducks had managed to cut the deficit to just to one stroke before a couple errant upshots and missed circle putts gave the stroke right back to the Vikings. The Ducks would close the gap back to one on multiple occasions with several clutch shots including a 80 foot putt from Pruitt and an incredible touch shot by Warren onto an island green, but were never able to catch the Vikings. Being down four
2017 NCI Champions Portland State University (pc: Brody Cannon)
strokes with six holes left to play the Ducks began to run upshots and take aggressive lines in order to make a furious comeback. These effort fell short and the Vikings beat the Ducks by five strokes on the round giving them the 2017 Northwest Collegiate Invitational championship.
While PCC was unable to field a team for the doubles portion of the tournament, Nevada and Humboldt battled it out on chase card and ending up tied for round securing Nevada’s third place finish.
Portland State- 471
Portland Community College- N/A
Congratulations to the Vikings for their victory and to all the teams for securing their births in the 2017 NCDGC.
The NCI also served as the final regular season match for the OCDGL. The victory for the Vikings marked their second win of the season to the Ducks five wins meaning the Ducks will have a three stroke advantage on the Vikings going into the State Championship match at Blue Lake on April 2nd. The top four finishers from the regular season on the men’s side were Nathan Ryan (500 points), Justin Anderson (491), Brody Cannon (491) and Chris Nelson (489) while Reily Warren (500) and Mandy Gunkel (498) were the top finishers on the womens side. These competitors will play a winner-take-all final nine at the State Championship to decide the respective individual champions.
Final Regular Season Standings:
NCI PDGA Results: