Shreve, Kopij earn one-stroke victory in doubles finale

5 teams finish within 4 strokes
Spring League begins March 17 at 5 p.m.

* Photo gallery – Nearly 300 images
* Shreve named season MVP 
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* Previous coverage:
Feb. 20Feb. 13Feb. 6Jan. 30Jan. 23Jan.16Jan. 9 … Jan. 2Dec. 26
Dec. 19 .. Dec. 12 .. Dec. 5 .. Nov. 28 .. Nov. 27 .. Nov. 21 .. Nov. 14 .. Nov. 7 .. Oct. 31 … Oct. 24

Story and photos by AlleganyPlayground.com

CUMBERLAND — Almost every week of the 18 weeks that have comprised Western Maryland Disc Golf Fall/Winter Doubles League competition, players arrive and, shortly before the posted tee time, players are seeded according to a mix of Summer 2021 individual results tournament play.

Every once in a while, though, someone like Devon Spiker comes along to mess things up.

Devon Spiker had himself a day.

You see, the thing is that Spiker was ranked fifth among the 10 players registered to play in the doubles league season finale on Sunday at Central Assembly of God in Cumberland. On this day, though, Spiker played on another level.

“I’ve been practicing,” grinned the 19-year-old Frostburg resident time and again, after he made admired forehand drives off the tee or a putt well outside the 33-foot perimeter of Circle 1. Spiker said he has been practicing putting and, specifically, from at least 25 feet from the basket. Even in the wind, the practice paid off.

He couldn’t help but smile, knowing that the start of Spring League on March 17 shifts the focus from doubles to individual play. And while the extraordinary play of Spiker and teammate Ethan Von Hagel, 19, of Cumberland, pushed the competition to the limits, it wasn’t quite enough to secure the win.

Bill Shreve drives off No. 5.

On a blustery 50-degree, sunny afternoon with wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour throughout the two hours of competition, Bill Shreve and newcomer Michal Kopij earned a two-stroke lead on the sixth basket of the day and never relinquished their lead.

But boy oh boy, was it close. Only four strokes separated the five teams in the field.

The format of play has varied over the four months. This time, the “best throw” format was followed. In that style of play, teammates drive from each tee and choose the best lie. Then both teammates throw from that position, and again, the best lie, or spot, is taken. The process is followed until a team’s disc finds its way into the bottom of each basket. A player is limited to using two consecutive drives, and on the next drive, the team’s other player must use their drive.

Florida resident Michal Kopij, who found the Cumberland course on uDisc.com, drives from No. 13.

Shreve, 45, of Cumberland, and Kopij, 32, of St. Petersburg, Fla., finished day a day-best round of 45. Spiker and Von Hagel were second with a 46, while the duo of Scott Mallery, 53, of Mount Savage, and Keith Raynor, 45, of Vale Summit, finished third with a 48. Two teams tied for fourth place with a 49: Dan Beachy, 38, of Frostburg, teamed up with Tyler Gilks, 23, of Wiley Ford, W.Va., and Nick Russ, 43, of Cumberland, was paired with Kevin Spradlin, 43, of Frostburg.

Seedings went like this: 1. Russ; 2. Beachy; 3. Shreve; 4. Mallery; 5. Spiker; 6. Von Hagel; 7. Raynor; 8. Kopij; 9. Gilks; 10. Spradlin. So the pairings were 1-10, 2-9, 3-8, 4-7 and 5-6.

It was close from the very beginning. Four out of five teams threw for birdie on No. 1, and after two baskets, Spiker and Von Hagel were in front with a one-stroke lead over everyone else. There wasn’t a separation of more than a single stroke until No. 5, when Mallery and Raynor threw for par, which put them at 14. Beachy and Gilks were tied with Shreve and Kopij with 12 apiece, while Russ/Spradlin and Spiker/Von Hagel each had 13.

Ethan Von Hagel at the tee.

The day began to be settled on No. 6, the only wooded hole on the course — three additional baskets in the woods are currently being developed. Number 6. Beachy and Gilks, tied for the lead after No. 5, threw for a bogey. Mallery and Raynor made par but were still one behind Beachy and Gilks. Shreve and Kopij, meanwhile, took a two-stroke lead over Russ/Spradlin and Spiker/Von Hagel — and they earned it, too, with a birdie.

Shreve and Kopij finished in front on the front nine with a 21, followed by Spiker/Von Hagel (22), Beachy/Gilks (23), Russ/Spradlin (23) and Mallery/Raynor (24).

Scott Mallery driving from No. 3.

On the back nine, two teams began the battle for last place — a weaker drive here, a missed putt there.

While Mallery and Raynor— both solid drivers and putters — worked their way up the standings ahead of Beachy/Gilks and Russ/Spradlin, Spiker and Von Hagel just couldn’t quite catch up to Shreve and Kopij.

The top two teams both threw for birdie on No. 10 and No. 11, and Shreve and Kopij made it three in a row on No. 12 for a two-stroke lead.

Keith Raynor drives from No. 3.

Spiker and Von Hagel pulled within one stroke on two occasions — first on No. 13 and again on No. 17, when Spiker landed the putt of the afternoon.

Both top contenders threw for par on the final two baskets, sealing the one-stroke win for Shreve and Kopij.

That’s a wrap!

Twenty-three players completed 134 full rounds of disc golf over the 18 weeks from Oct. 24 through Feb. 27 in the inaugural Fall/Winter Doubles League by Western Maryland Disc Golf.

The league collected $675 in registration fees and, from that paid out $270 in weekly winnings and another $253 in ace fund payouts to David Warder (Nov. 7, $100), Bill Shreve (Dec. 4, $66) and Seth Wilson (Feb. 20, $87).

Nick Russ for the putt.

Players hailed from four states — Maryland and West Virginia rather predictably, but also Georgia and Florida. Over the four and one-half months, athletes from ages 8 to 60 played through temperatures ranging from a frigid 6 degrees to a balmy 65 degrees. They also played in, through and/or on rain, snow, ice and mud, and somehow tolerated wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour.

Each week, an average of 7.5 players toed the first tee, with a low of four players on Dec. 5 and a high of 11 players on Jan. 2. That compares favorably, considering the inclement weather, to the Summer 2021 season. Last summer, 32 players competed over 31 weeks from mid-March through mid-October, with a weekly average of 8.6 players and a season-best 14 players on Aug. 26.

Competition also spurred 18 articles on AlleganyPlayground.com, along with nearly 2,300 photos.

Tyler Gilks drives from No. 3.

Spring League, which focuses on individual play, begins with a 5 p.m. tee time on Thursday, March 17 at Central Assembly of God in Cumberland.

Dan Beachy drives from No. 3 to start his afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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