Going into the final hole of the National Collegiate Disc Golf tournament, Brett Wishon didn’t know how close to victory he was. All he knew was that his opponent had just bogeyed the 18th hole, and a conservative approach would help him shoot one better.
The KSU disc golfer defeated Mike Sale of the University of California, Santa Barbara by one stroke and won the Individual National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship on April 7 at North Augusta, SC. Behind the kind of conservative play that defined his tournament, Wishon shot a 38 in the final round of play, finishing with a score of 150.
“I think I tied for the best score on the final round. I felt like I played good, but I didn’t feel like I played the best,” Wishon said. “I was happy I won though. It felt awesome.”
A pole stood in the middle of the fairway on the final hole that required the disc golfers to throw to the right side of it. Wishon watched as Sale failed to drive his disc to the mandatory side, forcing it left and eventually causing him to bogey the hole.
“He had to re-tee, and ended up getting a four on the hole,” Wishon said. “I just made sure I threw it inbounds.”
Wishon was able to shoot a three on the 18th, carefully coordinating his drive as to not miss the mandatory side of the fairway. The chain basket he was aiming for sat directly in front of a small pond. He made sure not to overthrow his second shot, and laid his disc up near the basket, allowing for an easy putt for par.
Wishon is not known for this conservative style of play, but it was that exact style that allowed him to outduel Sale on the final hole and stay in the hunt for first throughout the tournament.
“I normally don’t play as conservative as I did. This course is a lot tougher than most courses I’m used to,” Wishon said. “The baskets are elevated, so if you go for a putt you could end up throwing your disc 15 to 20 feet past the hole.”
Wishon had the opportunity to play the course earlier in the week during team play. Distance and terrain made for a challenging course. Wishon had to rely on his long drives, combined with precision throws to best the heavily wooded course.
“Most of the courses around here [Kennesaw] aren’t as wooded as the course we played,” Wishon said. “All the baskets were elevated so it made it hard to putt. If you miss-putt you go way past it.”
Wishon finished the first round of play tied for 4th with a score of 56, just 3 shots behind the leaders. Sale shot an excellent first round, finishing tied for 2nd with a score of 54. Wishon hung around in the second round, and then came alive in the third, besting Sale’s final round by 3 shots.
Wishon’s stellar play in the final round had him tied with Sale. As the two approached the 18th hole, one throw would prove to be the difference.
“We were tied up until that last hole. He bogeyed and I got a par. I ended up winning because of that,”Wishon said.