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Nighthawks dominate men's golf regional

The UNG men's golf team scored a decisive victory at the NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional to reach the NCAA championship for the third year in a row.

Nothing was stopping the University of North Georgia (UNG) men's golf team from winning the NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional and punching its ticket to a third straight NCAA championship. Not a regional competition that included 11 of the nation's top 15 teams. Not a weather delay that put the first 36 holes of competition on one day.

The Nighthawks, ranked No. 1 in the nation, obliterated all obstacles in their way en route to a decisive victory May 10-11 that left them 10 shots clear of all other teams at Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville, Georgia.

With the dominant regional showing and a 9-under-par 855 three-round score, the Nighthawks will compete in the 20-team NCAA championship set for May 21-25 at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Florida.

"We don't hide that winning a national championship is our ultimate goal. Why else would we work this hard? Our focus is, however, on the habits, preparation and processes that have gotten us to this stage," men's golf head coach Bryson Worley said. "We look forward to the opportunity to compete and see what we can do. I want these guys to enjoy the experience and not have any regrets, whatever the outcome. The reality is that only one team will be happy on the final day, but that's golf."

Senior Jack Vajda won the Southeast Regional individual championship with a three-round score of 8-under-par. Grad student Will Chambless tied for 11th at even-par with junior Ethan Day tying for 13th at 1-over-par. 

Junior Myles Jones was tied for 17th at 2-over-par, and junior Hughes Threlkeld tied for 40th at 6-over-par.

"What makes our team such a strong threat is our chemistry and our mindset throughout the season. We know what we have here at UNG, whether that's support, great people around us, and each player on the team," Vajda said. "We know we have what it takes. It's now about going out and playing our game like we have been all year."

Playing 54 holes in a two-day span created an immense challenge for all of the teams, but UNG rose to the occasion.

"NCAA golf regionals at both the Division I and Division II levels are known throughout the college golf world as the most grueling three rounds of the season. To have 11 of the top 15 in the country in one regional is absurd, but we knew going in we had to be at our best," Worley said. "As we saw with these results, every shot matters and you just can't have a bad day. We concentrated on our approach and process and tried not to worry about the final outcome until the tournament was over. It's humbling to come out of this extraordinary region as its champion, and it's a testament to the entire roster who pushes each other daily."