After shooting a smoking -10 during the final round of USDGC Doubles at the Canaan Riverbend Gold Course on Sunday, James Hopkins and Aaron Shindledecker are back to back USDGC Doubles champs.
Hopkins / Shindledecker (Greensboro, East Bend, N.C.) finished at -27 for the event. Coming in at second were Zach Arlinghaus and Bobby Bryant III (Edgewood, KY / New Carlisle, OH) at -22.
Shindledecker said they were unsure they’d make it back this year since they hadn’t been playing a lot of disc golf, but they decided to make the return trip because of the event’s high quality.
Turned out they didn’t need to be playing a lot of golf beforehand because they immediately put themselves right back in the thick of it after Friday’s Round 1 at the Winthrop Gold Course. They shot -10, one stroke off the lead.
Hopkins said several of his highlights came during that round including a thumber roller approach on Hole 4 that landed near the 10-meter circle and led to a birdie, as well as leading the team to birdies on holes 16 and 18.
After Round 2 at the woodsy Camp Canaan Riverbend Gold Course, Hopkins / Shindledecker found themselves in a familiar position, the lead, shooting -7 and up by three strokes.
For the final round, the duo started off strong and never relinquished the lead. Hopkins said they were -7 through the front nine holes. Highlights included an ace by Shindledecker on the 4th hole (Hole 5), in which he swung a forehand through the far-left gap, and a big drive from Shindledecker that led to eagle on Hole 13. The big play on hole 13 and a big putt from Hopkins on Hole 15 effectively closed the door on the competition.
When comparing this year’s victory to last year, Hopkins said the game plan really hadn’t changed. Basically, their strategy came down to: whoever is feeling it at the moment takes the lead in the group. Their team is pretty in-tune, Shindledecker agreed.
“We know when one of us should be playing aggressive and when the other should be playing safe when needed,” said Shindledecker.
The big question now is if they’ll come back next year for a possible three-peat.