Chandler credits hard work for recent success

Ty Chandler makes a putt during a golf tournament earlier this year. Chandler’s game has helped raise UNA golf to a national power.

The UNA golf team has made huge strides this season, thanks to the breakout of senior Ty Chandler, who recently won a first place individual medal at the Southeastern Collegiate in Valdosta, Ga.

The UNA golf team has gained a lot of momentum from the breakout performance of Chandler. The Lions have finished first place in four of the last five tournaments, and with Chandler finally breaking out with his first victory, the Lions have momentum going into the bulk of the spring schedule.

“It all comes down to hard work, and I’ve been close for a couple of years, but I never put in the work to end up on top,” Chandler said. “I decided to change the way I was thinking and practicing and focus more on my physical fitness. I knew I had to work harder to get myself to the level that I expect, which is winning tournaments.”

Chandler, a native of Stafford, Va., was recruited heavily by Division I schools from across the country, but the chance to be a main contributor for a championship at a Division II team lured him away and to UNA.

“UNA gave me the better opportunity to win championships,” Chandler said. “I feel like the top five guys we have right now could hang with any of the best (D-I) schools.”

Chandler grew up playing other sports like soccer, baseball and basketball. Golf has always been his main focus and has been put in his blood since a very early age, with his parents and uncle teaching him the fundamentals of golf, he said. Chandler shares his story of learning the game at a very early age with many golfers, such as PGA superstar Tiger Woods.

“According to my parents, I started around the time I could walk, between 12 and 18 months old,” Chandler said. “I started playing competitively when I was four years old. Both my parents taught me the mental and physical aspects of being a hard worker and to never give up. My uncle has always been the common sense guy and both coach (Billy) Gamble and coach (Stuart) Clark have shown me how to work the right way to get to my potential.”

When not on the links chipping in birdies, Chandler enjoys fishing during the summer and also working out. He also follows golf closely. When golf is over at UNA, he said he plans to go professional and wants to try to make it on the PGA tour

“I watch a ton of golf, and Tiger is the all-time favorite,” Chandler said. “You want to be as dominant as he was, and you want to be as fierce as he was, along with the physical shape. I also like (Rory) McIlroy, (Nick) Watney, and (Luke) Donald, or the guys who work hard at it and have amazing short games.”

With the recent victory, Chandler said he is never satisfied and is always improving aspects of his game. Whatever it takes to get the program to new heights this season is the goal for Chandler and the Lions.

“I’ve done a lot of work with putting and wedge shots under 100 yards, and I’ve seen that improve greatly,” he said. “My driving has always been my strong suit, but recently my short game has been better than ever. Individually, the goal is to finish as the best golfer in the country, but, more importantly than that, I want a national championship for this program more than anything.”