PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Virginia State University men’s golf coach Jeff Hamilton waited almost six years for a national championship in his team’s favorite event. In 2011, his vision became a reality when his team rallied to capture the Division II men’s title in the 25th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship presented by Brown Capital Management in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
“From the first time I set foot on the grounds of PGA Golf Club, it was my dream to win this tournament,” says Hamilton. “And the dream came true last year. It was truly a Cinderella story.”
Hamilton, who led the Trojans to a third-place finish in both 2008 and 2009, and a second-place finish in 2010, broke through in 2011 with a seven-stroke victory over Lincoln (Mo.) University.
Senior Stephen Genchi of Jupiter, Fla., and junior Rashad Hunt of Chesapeake, Va., are the only returning starters from 2011, and Hamilton will rely heavily on three newcomers to compliment Genchi and Hunt, May 11-13, at the 26th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship.
“Stephen and Rashad have been here before and know what it takes,” explains Hamilton. “There are so many good teams in our division, it’s going to take a group effort to win this for a second time.”
The 2012 edition of the Championship will feature more than 180 participants from 40-plus colleges and universities. It will be contested on the Tom Fazio-designed Ryder and Wanamaker Courses.
The 54-hole, stroke-play event will consist of three team divisions -- NCAA Men’s Division I and II, and a Women’s Division.
“We always look forward to this National Championship, where we get to watch some of golf ’s bright young stars compete at our own PGA Golf Club,” says PGA President Allen Wronowski. “The playing opportunity, as well as the Business of Golf Career Expo earlier in the week, will provide each participant with the chance to express their talents both on and off the golf course.”
Other defending team champions returning to the field include the University of Texas-Pan American (Women’s division) and Bethune-Cookman University (Division I men’s). Each team claimed a fifth overall title in 2011.
In addition to the team competition, the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship features a men’s and women’s Individual Invitational that is open to collegiate golfers who are African-American, Hispanic-American, Native or Alaskan American, Asian or Pacific Island American. A new champion will be crowned in both divisions as 2011 champions Airielle Dawson of Towson University and the University of Central Florida’s Amit Odaiyar will not participate.
Brown Capital Management will mark its second consecutive year as a presenting sponsor. The investment management firm is also the presenting sponsor of the one-hour Golf Channel highlight show scheduled to air this summer.
For the 18th consecutive year, the Championship will also include a Business of Golf Career Expo, featuring golf industry associations and companies that enable student-athletes to learn about additional employment opportunities in manufacturing, media, trade, golf course management and the game’s premier governing bodies.