PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman University raised the bar it has set in women’s golf by earning a record 12th title, while Alabama State University’s men’s quintet captured its first team crown Sunday in the 29th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship at PGA Golf Club.
BCU, behind senior Jennifer Hide’s closing 2-under-par 70, recorded an unprecedented fourth consecutive championship by a 33-stroke margin over the University of Houston-Victoria. The Wildcats finished their three days’ work on the Ryder Course with a total of 880.
|Alabama State University wins 1st place in the Men's |
Division One competition
(Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
|Bethune-Cookman University wins 1st place in the |
Women's Team Division
(Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
“It never gets old to win the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship,” said Bethune-Cookman Head Coach and PGA Professional Loritz "Scooter” Clark. “I was glad that we had a little bit of a comfortable lead for once. We’ll celebrate today and look to hopefully repeat next year.”
Hide, a 21-year-old senior from Norfolk, England, had a 70, and 3-over-par 219 total, to lead the Wildcats.
“We work for this tournament throughout the year, and when we get here, we know that we have made the right preparations,” said Hide. “I really liked this course; it’s my favorite course to play.”
Alabama State entered the Division I men’s final round with a 14-stroke cushion over Florida A&M University, and finished at 893, seven strokes better than University of Incarnate Word of San Antonio, Texas. Tennessee State was third at 910, followed by Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M, which tied for fourth at 912.
The Hornets were led by Canadians Branson Ferrier, the Division I medalist, and Francis Bethiaume. Ferrier posted a 2-under-par 70 that included six birdies and two double bogeys, for a 54-hole total of 10-under-par 206. Berthiaume, a junior from Montreal, closed with a 71 for insurance, while teammates Andrei Collins of Trinidad-Tobago (80) and Jose Rodriguez of Puerto Rico (80) struggled coming in.
“It feels great after being here several years and being so close before, with some seconds and thirds, to finally win,” said Alabama State Assistant Head Coach Robert Clark. “As a PGA Professional, this means a lot for our program, for our kids and for our school.
“Branson is a very good player. He has aspirations of playing on the PGA Tour one day, and if he continues to work at his golf maturity, I think he will get there.”
University of Houston-Victoria sophomore Heather Shake of Pearland, Texas, fired a 67 to finish at 4-under-par 212 to claim her second-consecutive Division I medalist honor. The 20-year-old earned a berth in next week’s Symetra Tour’s Mission Health Wellness Classic at the Country Club of Asheville in North Carolina.
“It’s really cool to win here again,” said Shake. “Before I came here, I was struggling with striking the ball but something just clicked, and I finally got to throwing darts. I had problems putting yesterday, but thankfully, I got it back. I love this golf course; it sets up perfect for my game.”
Alabama State’s national champions traveled 10½ hours by bus from the campus in Montgomery, Alabama, to PGA Golf Club. “I had a birthday on the way down,” joked Clark. “Well, it felt like a birthday, because it was a long ride. Our expectations were high this week after having basically the same group last year.”
Cal State Dominguez Hills (Division II) and University of Texas at Brownsville (NAIA), the respective 36-hole division leaders, were declared champions when inclement weather forced a suspension of play at 2:51 p.m. Championship officials determined that both divisions would not have been able to complete their final rounds.
Cal State Dominguez Hills of Carson, California, had a 610 total, two strokes better than Texas A&M International.
The University of Texas at Brownsville had cruised to a 31-stroke lead over University of Houston-Victoria after two rounds, with a 4-under-par 580 total.
Tiana Jones, now a freshman in the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s PGA Professional Golf Management University Program, turned in a 72 and 223 total for a second straight Women’s Individual Invitational title. Last year, she was victorious while playing for South Carolina State University.
“I want to play on the LPGA Tour, and also want to own my own academy and build my own golf course, and give back to the community,” said Jones. “I want to see more African-Americans in golf.”
Cathleen Wong of Florida Gulf Coast University and Grace Chua of the University of Delaware shared runner-up at 225.
LeMoyne-Owen College senior Dominique Worthen of Flint, Michigan, captured the Men’s Individual Invitational after a long journey. He lost a 2013 playoff while attending Texas Southern University, then was third last year. He held on Sunday for a 74 and 217 total, defeating Siyan Liu, a Palm Beach Atlantic University freshman from Beijing, China, by two strokes.
“It was tough for me today, but I knew if I could hit good drives, I could win,” said Worthen, who had a two-putt par on No. 18. “I borrowed my dad’s driver after the first round, and it feels good to win.”
The Championship featured 220 players representing 50 colleges and universities, 12 countries and two U.S. territories.