PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman University hopes to repeat its men’s and women’s team championships from a year ago, while Alabama State’s Robert Grant is looking to script an encore to his exciting men’s individual championship finish when they return to PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., May 9-11, for the 28th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship.
Five of the six teams and individual champions from 2013 are expected to return this year and the Championship promises to provide another dramatic chapter in the competition that began in 1987 at Highland Park Golf Course in Cleveland, Ohio.
2014 PGA MINORITY COLLEGIATE GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
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The PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship has produced its share of fabulous finishes over the years, but 2013 was perhaps the most memorable.
In the Men’s Independent Division, Grant produced a shot for the ages when he holed out from 133 yards for eagle on the 18th hole to punch his ticket for a three-way playoff with Daniel Inocencio of UNLV and Central Oklahoma’s Justin Watkins. Then on 18, the first playoff hole, Grant hit his approach on the par 4 to two feet for a tap-in birdie and a victory.
“I absolutely pured that shot from 133 yards on the 18th hole and saw it hit the flag. Then I saw my teammates go crazy and I knew it was in,” says Grant, who qualified for the three-way playoff with rounds of 71, 77 and 73 for a 221 aggregate. “And then to hit another great shot in the playoff was just incredible. This event is our national championship!”
The finish was almost as exciting in the Women’s Team Division, where Bethune-Cookman defeated Texas-Pan American on the first playoff hole to secure the Wildcats’ 10th overall team title. Both teams finished with a 909 total, before heading back to the 18th hole on the Ryder Course for the playoff.
Bethune-Cookman finished with a total score of 1-under-par, while Texas-Pan American was 1-over. Andrea Orozco led the Bethune-Cookman women’s team to victory and was also the women’s team medalist with a 54-hole total of 4-over-par 220.
The Bethune-Cookman men’s team also won in exciting fashion, making up a four-stroke deficit in the final round to tiptoe to a one-stroke victory over 36-hole leader Texas-Pan American. Alabama State finished third, 12 strokes behind Bethune-Cookman.
The Wildcat men, who finished with an 883 total, were led by freshman Ryan Fricker, who shot a final-round 71 on the Wanamaker Course to finish third in the Men’s Division I medalist race. PGA Professional Scooter Clark, who coaches the Bethune-Cookman men’s and women’s teams, is looking forward to defending the “double” team titles in 2014.
“It was a long and very stressful day out there,” said Clark, in his third year as head coach. “But both teams really grinded and I am just thrilled to take home both titles in this incredible tournament. It is really satisfying.”
The Business of Golf Career Expo, conducted May 8, in the PGA Education Center, enables student-athletes to learn about additional employment opportunities in the industry. The Career Expo features a wide-ranging list of golf industry associations and companies.