MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (March 14, 2023) – For the third time in tournament history, the ETSU men’s golf team has been crowned champions at the General Hackler Championship. In addition, Mats Ege (Kristiansand, Norway) became the third Buccaneer to win medalist honors at this tournament with a score of 13-under-par 203, marking his first collegiate victory.
The Buccaneers, who began the day two shots off the lead, battled and pulled away late en route to capturing the team title by six strokes over No. 16 Virginia on Tuesday from The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. When it was all finished, the Blue and Gold stood victorious with a score of 24-under-par 840, while ETSU also defeated six additional teams ranked in the top-50 – No. 6 Auburn (-15), No. 39 Louisville (-14), No. 41 Liberty (-8), No. 35 Duke (-1), No. 49 South Carolina (+5) and No. 34 North Florida (+22).
ETSU totaled the third-lowest team score in tournament history at 24-under, while the Bucs joined Wake Forest and North Florida as the only programs to win this tournament three times. For the tournament, the Blue and Gold generated 61 birdies and led the field in par-5 scoring (-34) and par-3 scoring (+7).
With the first win of the season, ETSU keeps its streak alive as the Bucs have now won at least one tournament title in each of the last 11 years – totaling 17 wins during this stretch. The Blue & Gold also won this tournament in 2006 and 2010, while Ege joins Rhys Davies (2005, 2007) and Seamus Power (2010) as the only Bucs to earn medalist honors in this event. This was the 19th year ETSU has played in this tournament. In addition, since Jake Amos took over the program in 2019-20, the Bucs have now won seven team tournaments and eight individual titles.
ETSU made its move on the back nine starting with a birdie by freshman Matty Dodd-Berry (Wirral, England) on the par-5, 640-yard No. 13, which moved the Bucs atop the leaderboard at 22-under. The Bucs never relinquished their lead thanks to playing those final six holes at six-under. The biggest shift came on the par-4, 540-yard No. 15 as ETSU played that hole at three-under, compared to Virginia playing it at one-over. In total, the Cavaliers played those final six holes at two-over, resulting in ETSU capturing eight strokes over the Atlantic Coast Conference power.
Meanwhile, as the Blue & Gold made their charge, Ege maneuvered his way to the top of the individual leaders. Ege chased Virginia’s Ben James – ranked No. 16 via Golfstat – the entire round and finally captured him following a birdie on No. 15. Both golfers parred the final three holes to share medalist honors at 13-under-par 203. Ege finished with a 3-under 69 on Tuesday, while James posted a 2-under 70.
Ege led the 84-player with 17 birdies over the two-day, 54-hole tournament, while he was one of two Bucs to register an eagle in Tuesday’s final round. For the week, Ege played the par-5s at 10-under, the par-4s at two-under and the par-3s at one-under.
Ege’s eagle came on the par-5, 538-yard No. 8, while teammate Algot Kleen (Fiskebackskil, Sweden) – who won his first collegiate title last month in Puerto Rico – recorded two eagles on the front nine Tuesday. Kleen’s first eagle came on the par-5, 529-yard No. 4, while he also carded a three on No. 8. On the back nine, Kleen helped ignite the final run as he tallied three straight birdies between No. 14-16 and finished the round with 2-under 70. Overall, Kleen finished seventh at 7-under-par 209.
Archie Davies (Carlisle, England) finished tied for 15th at 3-under-par 213, while Dodd-Berry gave the Bucs their other countable score on Tuesday. The Buccaneer freshman shot an even-par 72 in the final round, but played the back nine at two-under to help fuel the comeback win.
ETSU will now look to defend its title at The Hootie at Bulls Bay, which will be held March 26-28 in Charleston, S.C.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.