HomeSportsUnion men’s golf makes history in reaching nationals

Union men’s golf makes history in reaching nationals

The golf season at Union University looked uncertain last summer when former coach Ryan Chandler opted to leave last July.

Union’s administration looked to a familiar face to lead the program through at least one year – Andy Rushing.

Rushing has coached different sports for Union over the last couple decades, baseball and golf being the main ones.

He was the golf coach in 2013 when Union was in its first year competing in the Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II, and the Bulldogs finished third in the conference championship but were ineligible for the postseason after that because they were still competing on a probationary status.

Eleven years later, Rushing led the Bulldogs to another third-place finish in the GSC, and this time they get to move on.

Union qualified for the 2024 NCAA D2 National Championships Regional Play, May 9-11, in Gainsville, Georgia.

In program history, Union men’s golf has advanced to 11 NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships and 2 NCCAA National Championships.

“Coach Chandler did a great job recruiting in the years leading up to this season,” Rushing said. “It was like he was building for this year, and it’s paid off.

“This is a great group of young men representing Union, and it’s a great group of golfers.”

Junior JJ Zimmerqualified for the 2022 and 2023 NCAA D2 National Championships Regional Play as an individual.

Union played in eight events this regular season, finishing in the top-three five times, including two first-place finishes. Union won the Blue Moon BBQ Invitational and the Matt Dyes Invitational. Union enters the regional tournament as the No. 7 team in the South Region Rankings, No. 30 in the D2 National Stats Rankings, and receiving votes in the latest Collegiate Golf Coaches’ Poll.

Rushing led his program to the NAIA National Championships three times, 2010, 2011, and 2012, the last three years as members of the NAIA. His teams also advanced to two NCCAA National Championships, finishing runner-up in the fall of 2012 and eighth place in the fall of 2013.

Union and the other nine members of the South region will join 10 schools from the Southeast region in the 20-team South/Southeast Regional Tournament. The event will be played at the Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainsville, Georgia. The 3-round event will take place May 9-11 (Thursday-Saturday) and will feature one round each day. The top five teams from each of the four regional tournaments will advance to the NCAA D2 Men’s Golf Championships Final Site, May 21-25 in Winter Garden, Florida.

Brandon Shields,

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