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Nationals are special opportunity for South Africans

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — The eyes of the National Junior College Athletic Association golf world will be on Chautauqua County next week when the Division III national championships take over Chautauqua Golf Club with practice rounds on Sunday and Monday before the 72-hole tournament takes place Tuesday through Friday.

There will be 99 male and female golfers taking part in the event, and while the golfing will take place in the backyard of Jamestown Community College with the Jayhawks hosting, it will be extra special for a pair of Jayhawks who traveled over 8,000 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa, to call Jamestown their home for two years of college.

“It is a great experience to come out here in the summer, in the beautiful weather,” said sophomore Maxim Johnson. “It is my first time really playing competitive golf. It is a new experience for me. It is nerve-wracking, but it has been an enjoyable season with the boys, and I couldn’t ask for it to be any better.”

Athanasios Bakas will be playing in the national tournament for the second time, but that hasn’t taken any of the luster off the opportunity.

“It means a lot to represent JCC,” Bakas said. “It is good to do it again and represent JCC as we are, so hopefully we can do pretty good. In all honesty, I want to do well, but I just want to represent the family and JCC and fully send it.”

The Jayhawks finished fourth in the tournament, with Lakewood native Brady Fye missing All-American status by one stroke.

Johnson, Bakas, Fye, Spencer Bell and Jackson Sandhoff will be JCC’s five players in the event.

This is the 25th consecutive year Jamestown will play host to the best NJCAA Division III has to offer. The championships are a great event for the Chautauqua community as the teams bring coaches, athletic directors, friends and family to Jamestown and the surrounding area.

For more information on the tournament, visit the event’s homepage at www.jccjayhawks.com.

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